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by Buckner Melton Jr.

Download A Hanging Offense: The Strange Affair of the Warship Somers fb2, epub

ISBN: 0743256034
Author: Buckner Melton Jr.
Language: English
Publisher: Free Press (July 27, 2007)
Pages: 320
Category: Transportation
Subcategory: Engineering
Rating: 4.9
Votes: 654
Size Fb2: 1953 kb
Size ePub: 1140 kb
Size Djvu: 1978 kb
Other formats: mobi lrf lrf txt


A Hanging Offense book.

A Hanging Offense book. The results shook the nation. Mackenzie's controversial decision may have inspired Herman Melville's great work Billy Budd.

Melton, Buckner . author. Traces the 1842 mutiny aboard the . brig-of-war Somers, discussing Philip Spencer's plot to incite fellow crew members to kill the vessel's officers, the arrest and execution of Spencer and his fellow ringleaders, and the captain's court-martial. Includes bibliographical references (pages -291) and index. Somers - Spencer - Mackenzie - Cruise - Crisis - Inquiry - Court-martial - Rough waters.

Somers was crammed with teenagers. Among them was Acting Midshipman Philip Spencer, a disturbed youth and a son of the . In the isolated world of a warship, a single man can threaten the crew's discipline and the captain's authority.

The background Melton provides thus sets the stage for the short, yet disturbing passage of the USS Somers.

At that point, the story lost its energy. The background Melton provides thus sets the stage for the short, yet disturbing passage of the USS Somers. It does not take long for Spencer's behavior to raise red flags for the officers. He quickly starts an alliance with two men who knew how to navigate while not hiding his fascination with piracy (he admits it was a "mania" for him).

0 0 5 Author: Buckner Melton. Mutiny on the Bounty is one of history's greatest naval stories - yet few know the similar tale from America's own fledgling navy in the dying days of the Age of Sail, a tale of mutiny and death at sea on an American warship

0 0 5 Author: Buckner Melton. Mutiny on the Bounty is one of history's greatest naval stories - yet few know the similar tale from America's own fledgling navy in the dying days of the Age of Sail, a tale of mutiny and death at sea on an American warship. In 1842, the brig-of-war Somers set out on a training cruise for apprentice seamen, commanded by rising star Alexander Mackenzie. Somers was crammed with teenagers.

A Hanging Offense: The Strange Affair of the Warship Somers.

Buckner F. Melton J. s "A Hanging Offense" is a fascinating work of narrative history that resurrects an important but little-remembered incident from the early days of the .

A Hanging Offense by Buckner Melton Jr. - Mutiny on the Bounty is one of history's greatest naval stories - yet few know the similar tale from America's ow. .The Strange Affair of the Warship Somers. By Buckner Melton Jr. eBook. Price may vary by retailer. Trade Paperback.

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Mutiny on the Bounty is one of history's greatest naval stories -- yet few know the similar tale from America's own fledgling navy in the dying days of the Age of Sail, a tale of mutiny and death at sea on an American warship. In 1842, the brig-of-war Somers set out on a training cruise for apprentice seamen, commanded by rising star Alexander Mackenzie. Somers was crammed with teenagers. Among them was Acting Midshipman Philip Spencer, a disturbed youth and a son of the U.S. Secretary of War. Buying other crew members' loyalty with pilfered tobacco and alcohol, Spencer dreamed up a scheme to kill the officers and turn Somers into a pirate ship. In the isolated world of a warship, a single man can threaten the crew's discipline and the captain's authority. But one of Spencer's followers warned Mackenzie, who arrested the midshipman and chained him and other ringleaders to the quarterdeck. Fearing efforts to rescue the prisoners, officers had to stay awake in round-the-clock watches. Steering desperately for land, sleep-deprived and armed to the teeth, battling efforts to liberate Spencer, Somers's captain and officers finally faced a fateful choice: somehow keep control of the vessel until reaching port -- still hundreds of miles away -- or hang the midshipman and his two leading henchmen before the boys could take over the ship. The results shook the nation. A naval investigation of the affair turned into a court-martial and a state trial and led to the founding of the Naval Academy to provide better officers for the still-young republic. Mackenzie's controversial decision may have inspired Herman Melville's great work Billy Budd. The story of Somers raises timeless questions still disturbing in twenty-first-century America: the relationship between civil and military law, the hazy line between peace and war, the battle between individual rights and national security, and the ultimate challenge of command at sea.

Comments:

Jeronashe
A very interesting book about the mutiny aboard this ship. Now we know when the naval academy was started and why. Also Mr. Spencer is in my family tree, so found it even more interesting.
Deorro
Disappointing. The main problem is that there's not nearly enough material, even for a book this short. This is more like a long journal article, stretched way too thin with a lot of padding. Ninety pages of set-up for the "mutiny," and those 90 pages could have been done in 10. Plus way too many "cliffhanger" type sentences to end sections/chapters..."and the danger was just about to begin..." Melodramatic to a fault. Like I said, interesting primary event, but not enough for a book.
Gorisar
Book was ok. The first chapters of the book were engrossing, but then it got bigger down in pedantic trial testimony. At that point, the story lost its energy.
Lahorns Gods
Excellent story! While trying to prevent a mutiny in 1842, Commander Alexander Mackenzie, of the US war ship "Sommers" hung a few of the mutinous sailors. The decision was abnormally intensified and complicated since Commander Mackenzie was a rising star in the officer ranks and one of the sailors hung was Midshipman Philip Spencer, son of the Secretary of War!! Not going to look good on the Commander's resume! Awesome story in itself, to choose what to do and the search for who were the main mutineers. It even gets better! Upon returning to the US, an expected uproar in the national press occurred. A major trial ensued to find if Commander Mackinzie had followed proper procedures and hung the correct sailors. The O.J. trial to the third power! Was it Mackenzie's turn to get the noose, be exonerated, or have his career virtually ended!
Qag
It's hard to judge what truly happened aboard the Sommers. You would really have to be there. It made me understand why the captain of the ship should be the final authority.
Haralem
A little known yet compelling story of our young republic's navy. The author in a comfortable reading style, conveys this with demonstrable academics. He yet admits that due to the insular world of ships at sea and the naive understanding of those with out knowledge of it, this episode of "mutiny" and death will never be known in its entirety.

The author takes the reader into the 19th century world of wooden ships and a seemingly unavoidable human collision . At one point I fleetingly thought of Golding's "Lord of the Flies". The action moved to what seemed like an inevitable conclusion before the reader enters the second world of military inquiry and court martial. This was educating in and of itself.

Through out this story one will find names which will be familiar to many including Melville, Fenimore Cooper and Perry. Lastly the "mutiny" was the impetus for The establishment of the United States Naval Academy.

A tragedy for officer, midshipmen and novice trainee as well as ship, that keeps one awake while below in berth.

I recommend Bill McVey
Ventelone
I saw this book in a used book store when I made a special trip to get another book entirely. "A Hanging Offense" with its intriguing title and cover caught my eye, and I decided to buy it instead. While I understand one reviewer's comment that the story would make for a fantastic article but is a bit drawn out in book form, it kept me engrossed for all 259 pages of the text and I looked forward to diving into the story every lunch break until the end. Melton's style, at first, was rather mechanical with sentences having the same structure, but the writing improved as the book progressed, although he used "had had" more than I have ever seen in a book before. I think an editor would clean that up.

Before getting to the meat of the story, Melton briefly describes the history of seafaring and naval training in the United States. Some might consider this background material as padding the story to get it to book length, but it does establish that the brig-of-war Somers, in 1842 when the story takes place, was a traditional sailing vessel in an era of steam and that naval apprenticeship took place on the waters with no land training or screening process. The old-school nature of the Somers brings us to Captain Mackenzie who was also of the old school who was given charge of the Somers as a demotion of sorts after running the ship Missouri aground. The lack of screening for the navy brings us to Midshipman Philip Spencer, whose father was the Secretary of War. Spencer had behavioral difficulties on past ships before he was placed on Somers for her voyage to the Atlantic coast of Africa to get him out of the way.

The background Melton provides thus sets the stage for the short, yet disturbing passage of the USS Somers. It does not take long for Spencer's behavior to raise red flags for the officers. He quickly starts an alliance with two men who knew how to navigate while not hiding his fascination with piracy (he admits it was a "mania" for him). Danger of mutiny continued even after Spencer and his two main allies were arrested. The exhausted officers were afraid to fall asleep. MacKenzie and his officers had to make an agonizing decision to save themselves and the ship. This decision lead to an inquiry and court-martial once they returned to New York.

As a professor of law, Melton is in his element when he describes the inquiry and court-martial of Captain MacKenzie; however, he does not bog down the book with legalese. MacKenzie had an advantage in the inquiry but, he found that the defense of his life was more difficult during the court-martial against the skilled cross examinations of Judge Advocate William H. Norris not to mention the anger of the uncompromising and relentless Secretary of War and father of Philip, John Canfield Spencer. Considering the information provided on the case was from those trying to save their lives, what really happened on the Somers was probably lost forever at sea, but Melton does an admirable and thorough job covering the "strange affair of the warship Somers" with the material available. I highly recommend this book to readers interested in seafaring history, mutiny (there does not seem to be many books on this intriguing subject), naval discipline, and even naval law. It is a unique chapter in the history of the U.S. navy. Maps and illustrations are, unfortunately, not included in this book but would have been a welcomed addition.

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