22 Mar '12, 1pm
Book review: A Civil War Gunboat in Pacific Waters: Life on Board USS Saginaw via
saw extensive service along the West Coast, and also operated as far south as Central America, across the Pacific and in the China Seas, showing the flag, pursuing pirates and poachers, filibusters and Confederate raiders, until she was wrecked in1870 on the reef at Midway Island. In telling the story of the Saginaw , van Tilburg also gives us a very good look at life aboard an American warship in the mid-nineteenth century, culminating in a very fine account of shipwreck and survival. But he does more, using the story of the ship to tell us something about the early history of California, the beginnings of America’s relations with China and Japan, and the Civil War on the West Coast and in the Pacific.