Cut­throat Clip­pers

Soundings - - Books -

Click a but­ton on your com­puter screen to­day and in a cou­ple of days, a smart­phone ar­rives from China. But back in the 19th cen­tury, global trade wasn’t so easy. A hand­ful of rob­ber barons con­trolled much of the high-seas trade en­ter­ing the United States. Barons of the Sea de­scribes the cut­throat busi­ness­men who built the fastest, finest, most prof­itable clip­per ships. The cast of char­ac­ters in­cludes vi­sion­ar­ies, ec­cen­tric ship­builders, debonair cap­tains and so­cially am­bi­tious mer­chants with names like Forbes and De­lano. It’s a story of in­no­va­tion and in­ven­tion that re­veals the mak­ing of some of Amer­ica’s rich­est for­tunes. ($30, Si­mon & Schus­ter)

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