- Simon & Schuster
Barons of the Sea: And Their Race to Build the World's Fastest Clipper Ship
- Steven Ujifusa
- Simon & Schuster
- 8.3 X 5.5 X 1.2 inches
- 0.85 pounds
- History > United States - 19th Century
There was a time, back when the United States was young and the robber barons were just starting to come into their own, when fortunes were made and lost importing luxury goods from China. It was a secretive, glamorous, often brutal business--one where teas and silks and porcelain were purchased with profits from the opium trade. But the journey by sea to New York from Canton could take six agonizing months, and so the most pressing technological challenge of the day became ensuring one's goods arrived first to market, so they might fetch the highest price.
With the verse of a natural dramatist (The Christian Science Monitor), Steven Ujifusa tells the story of a handful of cutthroat competitors who raced to build the fastest, finest, most profitable clipper ships to carry their precious cargo to American shores. They were visionary, eccentric shipbuilders, debonair captains, and socially ambitious merchants with names like Forbes and Delano--men whose business interests took them from the cloistered confines of China's expatriate communities to the sin city decadence of Gold Rush-era San Francisco, and from the teeming hubbub of East Boston's shipyards and to the lavish sitting rooms of New York's Hudson Valley estates.
Elegantly written and meticulously researched, Barons of the Sea is a riveting tale of innovation and ingenuity that takes the reader on a rare and intoxicating journey back in time (Candice Millard, bestselling author of Hero of the Empire), drawing back the curtain on the making of some of the nation's greatest fortunes, and the rise and fall of an all-American industry as sordid as it was genteel.
Steven Ujifusa is a historian and a resident of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His second book, Barons of the Sea: And Their Race to Build the World's Fastest Clipper Ship, tells the saga of the great 19th century American clipper ships and the Yankee merchant dynasties they created.
Warren Delano II, maternal grandfather of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, takes center stage in the narrative. For this project, he was the recipient of a 7-week writing fellowship from the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire. Barons of the Sea was published by Simon & Schuster in July 2018.
In 2012, The Wall Street Journal named his first book, A Man and His Ship: America's Greatest Naval Architect and His Quest to Build the SS United States (Simon & Schuster), as one of the 10 best nonfiction books of the year.
Steven is the recipient of the Washington Irving Medal for Literary Excellence from the Saint Nicholas Society of the City of New York and the Athenaeum of Philadelphia's Literary Award for Non-Fiction. He has appeared on National Public Radio, CBS Sunday Morning, and numerous other media outlets. He is a frequent contributor to the urban history website PhillyHistory.org.
He is also the author of the corporate history of Airgas, Inc., and is currently working on the official history of J.M. Forbes & Company, one of the oldest independent financial services firms in the United States.
His third book, about large-scale immigration to America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, will be published by HarperCollins. Principal characters will include the fin de siècle triumvirate of J.P. Morgan, Jacob Schiff, and Albert Ballin.
A native of New York City and raised in Chappaqua, New York, Steven received his undergraduate degree in history from Harvard University and a joint masters in historic preservation and real estate development from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a rowing member of the University Barge Club and a singing member of the Orpheus Club.
Steven resides in Philadelphia with his wife Alexandra (an emergency room pediatrician) and two sons.
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