The Ghost Ship of Brooklyn: An Untold Story of the American Revolution

Da Capo. Aug. 2017. 312p. maps. notes. bibliog. index. ISBN 9780306825521. $28; ebk. ISBN 9780306825538. HIST
In his latest work, Watson (history, Lynn Univ.; The Nazi Titanic) investigates the use of prison ships for POWs by the British during the American Revolution. His focus is on one particular ship—the HMS Jersey. The prisoner-of-war topic has not been extensively covered by authors or scholars, and Watson here tries to fill that gap and does so to an extent. What works well is the overall larger picture of British POW policies. When Watson tries to focus solely on the Jersey, however, there is simply not enough information to create a strong narrative, probably owing to a lack of sources, and the disjointed narrative features some repetitive phrasing, which can be distracting. Edwin G. Burrows's Forgotten Patriots: The Untold Story of American Prisoners During the Revolutionary War is a better monograph on this topic.
VERDICT A disappointment given the nature of the subject. This work would serve only libraries with a large collection on the American Revolution.
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