Marc L. Songini 

Marc L. SonginiMarc L. Songini is a Boston-area journalist whose work has appeared in the Boston Book Review, the Boston Herald, and the Boston Globe. The Lost Fleet is his fourth book, and third book on New England history. He has lived in the greater Boston area for most of his life. To learn more about Marc and to learn more about maritime whaling, check out Marc's website at

 The Lost Fleet   "The Lost Fleet" 

It's the mid-19th century and the American whaling fleet, the wonder and envy of the maritime nations of the world, is struck by one hammer blow after another. Yankee whalers are contending with icebergs, storms, rogue whales, sharks, hostile natives, and disease. Now conditions are getting even worse, and the chances become ever slimmer a whaling master and his crew will return from a voyage safe and profitable. The scarcity of whales, the increasing dangers of going further into the Arctic, and the roving Confederate privateers are making this already difficult profession ever riskier. Many whalers give up the life–but some carry on the vocation.

One such man is a tall captain from Wethersfield, Connecticut, Thomas William Williams. Not only does he go out on voyage after voyage, but he even takes on board with him his tiny wife, Eliza, and his infant son and daughter. They risked everything in storms, in whale hunting, mutinies, and in ice packs. Interestingly, Thomas acted as midwife three times on the high seas during the cruises. Eliza had to abandon ship twice in the Arctic with her family. But she kept going back to sea because she loved her husband. She once wrote of him, "You are the most sincere friend I have in the world." She is a model of a wife, mother, and crew mate who bravely shares the fortunes of those onboard with her.

"The Lost Fleet" recounts Williams' remarkable career, including a daring escape from the Confederate cruiser Alabama and a daring rescue and salvage of lost ships off Alaska's coast. The book is a family saga, a narrative of adventure and death on the high seas, as well as a detailed look at the demise of Yankee whaling.

(Synopsis by author Marc L. Songini)




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