In 1775 General George Washington secretly armed a handful of small ships and sent them to sea against the world's mightiest navy. From the author of the critically acclaimed Benedict Arnold's Navy here is the story of how America's first commander-in-chief--whose previous military experience had been entirely on land--nursed the fledgling American Revolution through a season of stalemate by sending troops to sea. Mining previously overlooked sources James L. Nelson's swiftly moving narrative shows that George Washington deliberately withheld knowledge of his tiny navy from the Continental Congress for more than two critical months and that he did so precisely because he knew Congress would not approve. Mr. Nelson has taken an episode that occupies no more than a few paragraphs in other histories of the Revolution and with convincing research and vivid narrative style turned it into an important marvelously readable book." -- Thomas Fleming author of The Perils of Peace: America's Struggle to Survive after Yorktown "A gripping and fascinating book about the daring and heroic mariners who helped George Washington change the course of history and create a nation. Nelson wonderfully brings to life a largely forgotten but critically important piece of America's past." -- Eric Jay Dolin author of Leviathan: The History of Whaling in America "The political machinations are as exciting as the blood-stirring ship actions in this meticulously researched story of the shadowy beginnings of American might on the seas." -- John Druett author of Island of the Lost: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World
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