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Children of the Light: The Rise and Fall of…

Children of the Light: The Rise and Fall of New Bedford Whaling and the…

by Everett S. Allen

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This book was given to my grandfather by my aunt back in 1977. I'm very sure that Grandpa read it, but think I am the only person in the family who has also read it; it is not the kind of thing that appealed to the other adults in the family back then and it has been hanging out in my library - unread since then - since about 1995. It does indeed concern the Artic whaling fleet, but it is also about so much more, covering New Bedford in its early days, whales and whaling, the Inuit, the Arctic, Quakers, whaleships, the Sandwich Islands, the business side of whaling, the Howland brothers (who lost 9 of their total 13 ship fleet to Arctic disasters) and the fatal bowhead whaling expedition of 1871. This book was tremendously informative and so well written by a man who was well acquainted with many of the old Whaling Masters of New Bedford. I particularly liked this bit that he wrote about them -

"Yet there was this in common about them - their humor, subtle or brash, concerned itself most often with man's smallness and temporariness in the universe. They understood, without actually saying so, that death waited in the wings every day, yet understanding it, did not concern themselves with it. "Not one damn," as one of them said to me. Understanding what man could not do, they nevertheless had great faith in what he could; they possessed extraordinary self-confidence, unshatterable nerves (I do not remember with facial or other mannerisms; they sat and stood with the calm of eternity), and they could, at a moment's notice, tell you at least one reasonable way of doing almost everything on earth with which they had ever had contact."

Wish I'd read it a long time ago, but perhaps I would not have appreciated it then as much as I do now. ( )
  Fourpawz2 | Jan 30, 2017 |
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