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John Paul Jones: Sailor, Hero, Father of the…

John Paul Jones: Sailor, Hero, Father of the American Navy (2003)

by Evan Thomas

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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381743,029 (3.69)8



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A perfectly serviceable popular biography of John Paul Jones, very useful as an introduction. Not outstanding, but completely acceptable, and Thomas does well to bust a few Jones myths that have sprung up over the years. ( )
  JBD1 | Jan 13, 2015 |
The summary is correct: the description of Jones' engagement on USS Bonhomme Richard with HMS Serapis was indeed engaging. However, the minutiae of Jones' incessant, prigish, whining about his career must have gotten on the nerves of Franklin, Jefferson, Washington, etc. A self described naval strategist, he had many opinions which he freely shared with members of Congress or anyone who would listen. I had a hard time with this book because it droned on about relationships with count-this and duke-that. It took me months to finish listening. ( )
1 vote buffalogr | Jan 19, 2014 |
Straightforward, revealing biography of JPG, a deeply flawed character who, nevertheless made his mark on the history of the USA during the fight for independence. No Nelson or even a Nimitz, JPG never commanded a fleet or achieved flag rank but in ship to ship combat he excelled, despite often craven fellow officers and less than willing crews."After having been under-appreciated, Jones has been over-mythologised", according to author Evan Thomas but, when all is said and done, he served the US navy well, taking the fight to the Royal Navy when few others did. ( )
1 vote DramMan | Jul 25, 2013 |
A super book on Jones and naval warfare.

I’ve always enjoyed reading books about the revolutionary period. I find this era of history to be fascinating and very interesting. So, this book was made to order for me. The book was certainly more instructive in many ways, is the personal history of John Paul Jones than some other books I have read. The author reveals that Jones was a courageous, brilliant, but flawed individual. The author is a gifted biographer and historian. This book was a great book to read, and it is well written and researched. If you want an insight into naval warfare during the revolutionary war then I think this book would be a benefit. Highly recommend. ( )
2 vote loveseabooks | Dec 22, 2010 |
A well researched, surprisingly easy to read biography of the man credited with being the "Father of the American Navy". Now acknowledged to be rather a legend in his own mind, Thomas carefully debunks some of the sayings and myths that have attached themselves to this colorful and talented sailor, while still showing the genius of his strategic thinking.

His attitudes, accomplishments, judgments and temper tantrums are spelled out to put this flamboyant hero in the proper niche of history. We are treated to his thoughts on everything from planting crops to sailing, from proper uniforms to correct food, and along the way get to glimpse the American Revolution from an often overlooked perspective. It's interesting enough for those with a compelling fascination with the Navy and its beginnings. For others, it is well written enough to be worth at least a look see.

I read and listened to this on audio. For this one I'd recommend the written word. I found the narrator's Scottish accent (used whenever he was quoting Jones) very off-putting. ( )
1 vote tututhefirst | Dec 6, 2010 |
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Evan Thomasprimary authorall editionscalculated
Beaux, CeciliaCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cain, DavidIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sasahara, Ellen R.Designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Seow, JackieCover designersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"Every officer in our navy should know by heart the deeds of John Paul Jones."
--President Theodore Roosevelt,
April 24, 1906
To my mother Anne D.R. Thomas
Thomas, Anne D.R.
First words
John Paul Jones, the captain of the Continental Navy ship Bonhomme Richard, first sighted his Brittanic majesty's Ship Serapis at 3 p.m. on September 23, 1779.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0743258045, Paperback)

Evan Thomas’s John Paul Jones: Sailor, Hero, Father of the American Navy grounds itself on the facts of Jones’s life and accomplishments to bolster his place among the pantheon of Revolutionary heroes while also working to deflate the myths that have circulated about his name. Jones, we learn, was confronted throughout his life with controversy and was crippled by ambition. But Thomas lauds Jones for early innovations as an American self-made man who rose from Scottish servitude.

Jones, despite his too brisk manner, was a true success, if not genius, as a naval captain. Early in the Revolutionary War, he captured a shipload of winter uniforms destined for General Burgoyne’s army in Canada, which instead warmed General Washington’s troops as they swept across the Delaware to defeat British at Princeton and Trenton. Later, Jones helped formulate the Navy’s plan of psychological warfare on British citizens. And Jones’s strategy to cut off the British fleet via the French Navy was arguably the most decisive strategic decision of the War.

In the end, Thomas makes a good case for a renewed appreciated for Jones’s role in the broader revolution, citing his many connections to the Founding Fathers and his contributions to the broader war effort. While it may be that the John Paul Jones who proclaimed "I have not yet begun to fight" never existed, the real man behind the textbook legend is every bit as compelling a figure in Thomas’s hands. This temperate biography situates Jones in what will likely prove durable fashion among portraits of Adams, Franklin, Washington, and Jefferson. --Patrick O'Kelley

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:25 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"John Paul Jones, at sea and in the heat of battle, was the great American hero of the Age of Sail. Evan Thomas draws on Jones' wide-ranging correspondence with some of the most significant figures of the American Revolution - John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson - to paint a compelling portrait of a tortured warrior who was that most interesting and essential of American figures, the entirely self-made man.""John Paul Jones is more than a great sea story. Jones is a character for the ages. John Adams called him the "most ambitious and intriguing officer in the American Navy." The renewed interest in the Founding Fathers reminds us of the great men who made this country, but John Paul Jones teaches us that it took fighters as well as thinkers, men driven by dreams of personal glory as well as high-minded principle to break free of the past and start a new world. Jones's spirit was classically American."--BOOK JACKET."The son of a Scottish gardener (or possibly the bastard son of the lord of the manor), Jones fought his way up from second mate on a slave ship to become a mythic figure, hailed as the father of the navy, buried in a crypt (modeled after Napoleon's Tomb) beneath the chapel of the U.S. Naval Academy. Along the way he was an accused murderer (forced to flee to America under an assumed name); a notorious rake in Parisian society; and an admiral in the navy of Catherine the Great, fighting against the Turks in the Black Sea. He was a singularly successful naval officer during the American Revolution because he was both bold and visionary."… (more)

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