Captains Contentious: The Dysfunctional Sons of the Brine

Front Cover
Univ of South Carolina Press, 2009 - Biography & Autobiography - 185 pages
0 Reviews
In Captains Contentious accomplished maritime historian Louis Arthur Norton observes that many of the captains of the Continental Navy were quite obstinate as compared to their British counterparts. In doing so Norton surveys the lives and military accomplishments of five captains in the nascent Continental Navy, investigating how their personality flaws both hindered their careers and enhanced their heroics in Revolutionary War combat. This psychohistorical approach brings to life the idiosyncratic personalities of John Manley, Silas Talbot, Dudley Saltonstall, Joshua Barney, and that most quarrelsome of characters, John Paul Jones. Nortons fast-paced account of intertwining naval actions also serves as a maritime history of the war as experienced by these men.

Norton draws from a wealth of primary and secondary sources to present biographical sketches that illustrate the five captains reckless bravado and frequent antagonism toward their fellow officers. Representing different colonies and originating from diverse social and economic backgrounds, this dysfunctional band of fractious mariners shared a common lust for glory and penchant for infighting as they pursued favor and rank at the expense of civility and cooperation. They were often at odds with the Continental Congress and Marine Committee that commanded them and openly feuded among themselves. Yet they still managed to achieve notable victories against superior British naval forces.

To understand better how these naval heroes turned dysfunction into derring-do, Norton reads their distinctive personalities against the contrasting demeanor of their adversaries in the British ranks. He concludes with psychological inferencesabout the leadership qualities displayed by these ca

  

What people are saying - Write a review

CAPTAINS CONTENTIOUS

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

Many captains of the Continental Navy were argumentative and clashed with the Continental Congress, their peers, their subordinates, and their enemies quite indiscriminately. Despite their ... Read full review

Review: Captains Contentious: The Dysfunctional Sons of the Brine (Studies in Maritime History)

User Review  - Urey Patrick - Goodreads

An interesting introduction to major naval figures of the American navy during the Revolutionary War. The author tries too hard to establish the point of the title - these men were contentious... but ... Read full review

Contents

Gun crew below decks
3
Maritime Naval Service during the Revolutionary War
7
John Manley
29
John Manley
30
Silas Talbot
46
Commodore Silas Talbot
47
Dudley Saltonstall
64
Hull of the USS Warren
71
John Paul Jones
108
Bust of John Paul Jones
109
Bon Homme Richard and HMS Serapis
125
Issues of Leadership Personality and Psychology
133
Below decks with crews hammocks
137
Notes
147
Bibliography
161
Index
171

Joshua Barney
87
Joshua Barney
88
The HyderAlly and HMS General Monk
100
About the Author
187
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2009)

Louis Arthur Norton, emeritus professor at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington, has written numerous articles on maritime history.

Bibliographic information