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Disasters Etc

Disasters etc

No, this is not about Hurricane Katrina or the Bush administration. New England has its share of disasters too. "Disasters Etc." is a new book about codfishing, shipbuilding, sea captains, and maritime law in Marblehead, Massachusetts. Today it is a yachting capital, but there was a time when Marblehead was considered "backward, dirty and immoral". Click to more..




From the Publisher
Today, most people know Marblehead as a vibrant and affluent yachting center, but during the 19th century, visitors often criticized the codfishing capital for being "backward, dirty and immoral." A new non-fiction book, Disasters etc. by John R.H. Kimball explores the unique history of the area, focusing on Marblehead’s maritime history between 1815 and 1865.

Disasters Etc book cover byJohn R H KimballThe book’s title refers to the maritime column in period newspapers, headlined "Disasters &c.," and listing the accidents that had befallen fishing vessels, including many mentioned in Kimball’s book. Disasters, etc. provides an in-depth explanation of the history of the Marblehead seaport, the codfishery and shipping industry. Kimball, himself a direct descendent of "Marbleheaders," used ancestral documents and worked closely with local historical societies and libraries to research and write the book.

Kimball uses 19th century sources and the careers of specific individuals to describe the "peculiar character" of the original Marbleheaders. He delivers an engaging narrative along with historical quotes, pictures, charts and other period documents. While others have written about the early history of the seaside community, Kimball focuses on the little known details of the town’s fishing industry between the War of 1812 and the Civil War, and the explosive rise and fall of the shipping business during the "clipper ship era."

Character profiles, anecdotes and stories add color to the book, such as the account of the Marblehead captain of the clipper ship Flying Cloud and his navigator wife, who set records for speed under sail that only recently were exceeded. Also discussed is Joseph Story, a Supreme Court Justice who established maritime law in the United States, based on his experience growing up in Marblehead.

The hardbound, 191 page book is published Peter E. Randall Publisher, LLC, and distributed by Enfield Publishing & Distribution, in Enfield, NH. Copies of the new title are $25.00 each. Disasters, etc. is available via selected local book stores, The Marblehead Museum and Historical Society or direct from the distributor

John R.H. Kimball is a descendant of Marbleheaders and a lifelong pleasure sailor. He had a long career as a financial lawyer, and lives in Lincoln when not aboard a boat.


By John R.H. Kimball
Peter E. Randall, Publisher
$25 hardcover
191 pages
Go the author's web site

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