With Sails Whitening Every Sea

By Brian Rouleau,

Book cover of With Sails Whitening Every Sea: Mariners and the Making of an American Maritime Empire

Book description

Many Americans in the Early Republic era saw the seas as another field for national aggrandizement. With a merchant marine that competed against Britain for commercial supremacy and a whaling fleet that circled the globe, the United States sought a maritime empire to complement its territorial ambitions in North America.…


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Why read it?

1 author picked With Sails Whitening Every Sea as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

It’s not possible to understand the United States without understanding its maritime past. Rouleau takes us onto the forecastle to show just how important US mariners were (how could they not be when 100,00 departed the republic each year?) in a vivid account with lots of surprising details drawn from scrimshaw and logbooks. These working-class diplomats shaped the foreign perception of the United States in port cities around the world through their (often violent) encounters with foreign peoples, their onshore carousing, and their spread of black face minstrelsy around the globe.

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