Two Captains from Carolina: Moses Grandy, John Newland Maffitt, and the Coming of the Civil War
Grandy, born a slave, captained freight boats on the Dismal Swamp Canal and bought his freedom three times before he finally gained it. He became involved in Boston abolitionism and ultimately appeared before the General Anti-Slavery Convention in London in 1843. As a child, Maffitt was sent from his North Carolina home to a northern boarding school, and at thirteen he was appointed midshipman in the U.S. Navy, where he had a distinguished career. After North Carolina seceded from the Union, he enlisted in the Confederate navy and became a legendary blockade runner and raider. Both Grandy and Maffitt made names for themselves as they navigated very different routes through the turbulent waters of antebellum America.
[A] beautifully crafted narrative.--The HistorianPlump with facts and anecdotes.--Chatham County LineIt is hard to see how anyone could bring these points of view [of Grandy and Maffitt] together in the same book, but Simpson has done it in Two Captains from Carolina.--D. G. Martin, The MountaineerSimpson makes you believe you are there, with Grandy and Maffitt, experiencing these significant moments of their lives. . . . Using historical fact [Simpson] becomes the storyteller. And he tells one helluva story.--Daily Advance.comTwo Captains from Carolina is. . . an 'improving book' that offers real history in specific and captivating anecdotes.--Metro MagazineBeautifully written, nicely illustrated, highly recommended.--Gerry Prokopowicz, Host, Civil War Radio, World Talk Radio Network, May 24th, 2013 According to Anna Quindlen, creative nonfiction requires 'the eye of a reporter and the heart of a novelist.' Bland Simpson has both. He has looked intelligently at dry historical documents and recreated the heart and soul of two disparate watermen of the 1800s, one man a slave, the other a slave owner and a US naval officer. In his own abiding love and intimate knowledge of our coastal waters, Simpson has given us what is surely a true portrait of the heartbreak and triumph to be had when one man thirsts for freedom and the other tries to be true to his conscience in the troubled days that led up to the Civil War. Highly recommended.--Margaret Maron, author of Three-Day Town and winner of the 2012 Agatha Award for Best Mystery Novel of the YearSimpson's compelling portraits enrich our understanding of what life was like two centuries ago even as they address themes that are very much still with us today--race, poverty, hardship, and political and class conflict, to name a few.--Jack Betts, retired associate editor of the Charlotte Observer
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