A few months after the outbreak of the War of 1812, Captain David Porter set out in the USS Essex on an epic, seventeen-month cruise to the South Seas. Porter was pursuing fame and riches, and by most accounts his odyssey was a stunning success: it brought glory to the fledgling American navy, cemented Porter's reputation as a daring and talented commander, and has long been celebrated as one of the greatest maritime adventures in U.S. history. Less well known, however, is the terrible price that the crew of the Essex paid for their captain's outsized ambitions. In The Shining Sea: David Porter and the Epic Voyage of the U.S.S. Essex During the War of 1812 ($29.99), award-winning historian George C. Daughan tells the full story of Porter's thrilling, action-packed voyage, revealing the heights of Porter's hubris and the true depths of his failure on this fateful cruise.
A swashbuckling tale of risk and ruin on the high seas, this new work brings to life the monomaniacal quest of one of the most misunderstood commanders of the War of 1812. Porter's singular voyage, Daughan shows, stands as a cautionary tale for any leader who would put personal glory and ambition ahead of cause and countrymen.
After receiving a PhD in American History and Government from Harvard University, George Daughan spent three years in the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War. He taught at the Air Force Academy, where he was director of the MA program in International Affairs. Upon returning to civilian life, he taught at the University of Colorado, the University of NH, Wesleyan University, Connecticut College, and Harvard University. His other works include, If By Sea: The Forging of the American Navy from the Revolution to the War of 1812, winner of the 2008 Samuel Eliot Morison Award; and 1812: The Navy's War, recipient of the 2012 gold medal in history from the Independent Publisher's Association, and the 2012 George Pendleton Prize.
A few months after the outbreak of the War of 1812, Captain David Porter set out in the USS Essex on an epic, seventeen-month cruise to the South Seas.