Jack Tar's Story: The Autobiographies and Memoirs of Sailors in Antebellum America

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Jack Tar's Story examines the autobiographies and memoirs of antebellum American sailors to explore contested meanings of manhood and nationalism in the early republic. It is the first study to use various kinds of institutional sources, including crew lists, ships' logs, impressment records, to document the stories sailors told. It focuses on how mariner authors remembered/interpreted various events and experiences, including the War of 1812, the Haitian Revolution, South America's wars of independence, British impressment, flogging on the high seas, roistering, and religious conversion. This book straddles different fields of scholarship and suggests how their concerns intersect or resonate with each other: the history of print culture, the study of autobiographical writing, and the historiography of seafaring life and of masculinity in antebellum America.