When Frank J. Merli died in December 2000, he left many manuscripts related to Great Britain and the American Civil War. At the request of Merli's widow, David M. Fahey has edited this volume for publication. It offers a spirited critique of the way historians have presented the international dimension of the American Civil War. The book offers a fresh account of the escape of the CSS Alabama from British territorial waters in 1862, the decision of its captain, Raphael Semmes, to fight a Union gunboat off the coast of France in 1864, and the curious story of a British-built Chinese flotilla that could have become a small Confederate fleet had negotiations with the Chinese not broken down. The book will appeal to naval and diplomatic historians and to all Civil War buffs.
Merli's ability to engage his reader in the tale and history of the CSS Alabama is amazing; it truly is a page-turner and I would wager would be such a page-turner for those not already predisposed to reading about such history. 1/11/2010 * blogbook-reviews.blogspot.com *