Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group
The Lost Fleet

The Lost Fleet

A Yankee Whaler's Struggle Against the Confederate Navy and Arctic Disaster

Marc Songini

St. Martin's Press




Arctic disasters, rogue whales, ambush by Confederate ships--the true saga of one captain's struggle to survive the demise of the Yankee whaling fleet

It's the mid-ninteenth century and the American whaling fleet is struck by one hammer blow after the other. Yankee whalers are contending with icebergs, storms, rogue whales, sharks, hostile natives, and disease. Many whalers give up the life—but some carry on the vocation. One such man is a captain from Connecticut, Thomas William Williams. Not only does he go out on voyage after voyage, he even takes on board with him his tiny wife, Eliza, and his infant son and daughter.

The Lost Fleet's thrilling narrative recounts Williams' remarkable career, including a daring escape from the Confederate cruiser Alabama and a daring rescue and salvage of lost ships off Alaska's coast. Songini has crafted a historical masterpiece in recording a family saga, a true narrative of adventure and death on the high seas, and a detailed and well-researched look at the demise of Yankee whaling.


Chapter One

Lonely but Not Alone

The ship's agent whispered to the master, already on board, "Captain Jones, you've forgotten to kiss your wife good-bye!" Without so much as a look down, the captain replied: "What's ailin' her? I'm only...


Praise for The Lost Fleet

“A lively, suspenseful, mesmerizing book.” —The Providence Journal

“A Nantucket sleigh ride of a read, guaranteed to thrill and amaze.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

The Lost Fleet tells a fascinating, in-depth story of how over-confidence and over-harvesting of a species set an entire fleet of whaling vessels on a voyage of destruction. Through meticulous research, author Mark Songini not only chronicles this 1871 disaster, but also illustrates how this event crushed both the whaling city of New Bedford and its prize industry. Readers will come away with an appreciation of the dangers that await those who challenge and ignore nature's warnings.” —Michael Tougias, bestselling author of TEN HOURS UNTIL DAWN: The True Story of Heroism and Tragedy Aboard the Can Do and FATAL FORECAST: The True Story of Survival and Tragedy at Georges Bank.

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Marc Songini

MARC SONGINI is a Boston-area journalist whose work has appeared in the Boston Book Review, the Boston Herald, and the Boston Globe. The Lost Fleet is his fourth book, and third book on New England history. He has lived in the greater Boston area for most of his life.

Marc Songini

From the Publisher

St. Martin's Press

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