A new generation of naval writers has come on the scene-and a good thing,
too! Heirs of the disciplines developed earlier in this century by Robert Greenhalgh Albion and Samuel Eliot Morison,
they are trained in statistics and are wont to go straight to sources and weigh conflicting evidence with carerather than repeat old myths, a weakness somehow particul arly prevalent among histori ans of the military arts.
They are also heirs of the cheerful , we ll-informed iconoclasm of Theodore Ropp , the insightful ,
quietly assured judgments of Bernard Brodie and the enormous thirst fo r factual verac ity of Arthur J. Marder. To many who read this,
perhaps, these are just names; but these are people who brought order and clarity to an all too murky fi eld .
If the new generation has a common quality, it is an attention to character as the determining factor in success or fai lure in naval operations.
That is a fruitful approach, for example, to learning
the story of the USS Constitution which more than any other ship bred up distinguished leaders,
was served by excellent captains in war (see pages 14- 16) and continues, today, to inspire and instruct the officers and sailors of the US Navy.
A rewarding way to begin to i:;xplore the Navy of the Warof 18 12 is a brilli ant new biography of the Constitution’s bestloved captain who was also,
most people recogni ze , her ablest skipper and most dazzlingly effecti ve combat commander.
Linda M. Maloney ‘s The Captainfrom Connecticut:
The Life and Naval Times of Isaac Hull (Northeastern Uni versity Press, Boston, 1986) shows us a great man in the round ,
with his hurts and disappointments as well as his triumphs
and the deep affection and loyalty he elicited from his crews and, fo r the most part, from his offi cers.
Toward the end of his career, when he was the old halfdeaf hero of a war more than half passed into legend ,
some officers who served under him did not share this admiration.
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