Wolf of the Deep
by: Stephen Fox
Published by: Knopf
Buy From Amazon.com
Reviewed by Nicole M. Boals
Subtitled: Raphael Semmes and the Notorious Confederate Raider CSS Alabama
The American Civil War is a subject that has tomes devoted to the events, people, and places that were involved. One subject that is often overlooked is the role that the Navies played in the war. This book fills an important gap by discussing one of the most feared and celebrated Confederate Naval Officers, Raphael Semmes and the ship he commanded, the CSS Alabama.
Wolf of the Deep tells the tale of the confederate captain, his ship, his crew, and their adventures during the Civil War. Starting with a short discussion of Semmes’ early life and start of his naval career, it quickly focuses on his arrival on the CSS Alabama and the day to day operations of the ship. It covers the range of emotions brought by the excitement of raids and captures to the monotony and aggravation of the times when nothing happens. Traveling around the world, visiting a wide array of land and people, the Alabama made a large mark during the Civil War.
The story of the ship and her captain is nicely woven together with descriptions of world wide events of the time, putting the significance of the Alabama’s actions into context.
Going beyond just the ship, the author spends a significant amount of time discussing Semmes’ personal life, covering his family and the effect the war had on their lives. This helps the reader understand the long range impact of the war and gives Semmes a personal side that can get lost in the day-to-day grind of naval life during war.
The book is also peppered with photos and illustrations that add a fabulous touch to the story, giving a physical glimpse into the stature of the individuals involved.
Tackling a subject that is unique and detailed, the author weaves an interesting and well-told tale.
Armchair Interviews says: American history buffs, take note. Wolf of the Deep is a book for you.
From our armchair to yours...