“Bluejackets in the Blubber Room: A Biography of the William Badger, 1828-1865″
I recently completed my first nonfiction book. It’s about a 19-century sailing ship that had several interesting careers. I wrote it due to my endless fascination with history and the sea. Here’s a very basic description (courtesy University of Alabama Press):
“Bluejackets in the Blubber Room” explores key events in U.S. maritime history from the 1820s to the end of the Civil War through the biography of the sailing ship WILLIAM BADGER.
The author begins by exploring early American shipbuilding and shipbuilders in the Piscataqua region of Maine and New Hampshire and the kinds of raw materials harvested and used in making the wooden sailing ships of the time. After its construction, the BADGER became part of the key economic trade between New England, the southern U.S., and Europe. She carried raw materials such as timber from New England to New Orleans and subsequently cotton from New Orleans to Spain and Liverpool, England.
Following service as a merchant ship, the BADGER became a whaling ship, carrying its New England-based crew as far as the South Pacific. Using logbooks and sailor journals, the author presents a colorful story of life aboard a whaling ship and in the whaling towns ranging from Lynn, Massachusetts, to Cape Leeuwin, Australia. The third career in the BADGER’s life was service as a supply ship in the Union Navy’s blockade effort. Although not the most dramatic duty a sailor could have, blockade supply nevertheless was critical to the United States’ prosecution of the Civil War and eventual victory. This book delves into the decision-making involved in procuring such ships and their crew, notably escaped slaves known as “contrabands.”
“An interesting, well-researched and well-written book. It is surprising how much original material about the vessel the author was able to uncover…highly recommended.” – Joseph A. Derie, “Civil War News: The Monthly Current Events Newspaper”
“Fascinating story” – David Madden, “Civil War Talk (Forum)”
“Excellent use of primary source materials…Bluejackets in the Blubber Room is a fascinating look at the life of a small ship which reinvented herself as the United States did the same.” – Ryan P. Semmes, H-War on H-Net, “Humanities and Social Sciences Online”
“The book is a dual and diverse history that will be of interest to Civil War historians and those interested in whaling.” – Robert M. Browning, Jr., Chief Historian of the United States Coast Guard and author of From Cape Charles to Cape Fear: The North Atlantic Blockading Squadron during the Civil War
“Kurtz has skillfully placed the story of this vessel in a much broader context, both as a whaler and later as a store ship during the Civil War.” – William N. Still, author of Confederate Shipbuilding
If you’d like to order a copy, here are some good links:
And a link to an article describing why I wrote the book, the research/writing, and the publication process: http://goo.gl/CTh1Jy