The Charles W. Morgan, by John Leavitt, paperback (good condition, spotting on top)
"The Charles W. Morgan" is the revealing story of the whaler by the same name which is now the showpiece of the Mystic Seaport Museum. The ship, Charles W. Morgan, was a 19th century whaler which was unique, primarily, because it is the only survivor of its genre and era. As a typical whaler of its era, the story of the Charles W. Morgan gives the reader an insight into the whaling industry as well as a glimpse into life aboard a whaler.
Author John Leavitt begins the book with an description of the construction of the ship at New Bedford, Massachusetts. He then describes the nautical equipment on the Morgan as well as the equipment's employment on the its voyages. The usage of the equipment to sail the ship, capture the whales, the processing of the whales and the storage of the whale materials is described in interesting detail.
Leavitt continues his narrative with highlights from the voyages of the Morgan. He relates the economics of the whaling industry as well the routine of the sailors who manned her. The interesting characters who served aboard her add a human interest dimension to this book. The and the life of the occasional captain's wife who accompanied her husband on voyages is a surprising element of life aboard the Morgan. I found it interesting that the Morgan avoided the Civil War by being at sea for most of its duration.
The end of the American whaling industry and, with it, the commercial career of the Morgan are well described in this book. When the Morgan appeared to be condemned to follow the route of all other whalers which had outlived their usefulness, a group of preservationists came forward to preserve this unique representative of such a major portion of America's Maritime Heritage. The steps which led to the saving of the Morgan and its transformation into the most prominent exhibit at Mystic are reported in the book's final chapter.
The appendices provide lists of the voyages of the Morgan and the rosters of the crews which served her.
For this fan of Mystic Seaport, this short book provides an interesting and educational view into the world of whaling in general and the Morgan in particular. For anyone with an interest in this aspect of American history, "The Charles W. Morgan" is an interesting and worthwhile read.