by Donald Grady Shomette
Subtitled War on the New Jersey Coast 1775-1783.
From the introduction: "The story of Jersey and the many thousands of prison ship martyrs who expired within her dark, pestilential bowels, was once an iconic piece of American history: it is little remembered today. So, too, was the often swashbuckling trade that the majority of her unfortunate inmates had practiced, namely privateering - that is, governmentally sanctioned commerce raiding for profit by private ships of war - during the many long years of the American revolution."
This is a historical book about legalized piracy. It's a part of history that isn't usually taught in schools, how supply lines to the American coast were interfered with by government sanctioned privateering and the horrendous conditions of prison ships that held those privateers who were captured, most notably the Jersey.
The book tells the history of how the fledgling American government debated and eventually deployed privateers because their need for naval protection along the Atlantic coast was essential, but they did not have the finances to build sufficient warships. Concern over the possibility of privateering turning to piracy did arise in discussions, but in the end necessity demanded and the inevitable infractions led to a culture of piracy that has formed famous legends over the years.
This book reads like a history book in school with a lot of facts and relation of detailed events, so is recommended for the serious history buff rather than casual reading. A lot of research obviously went into it and I found it interesting to say the least. Anyone interested in American history will find a lot of revelations in this book.