Author Marc Songini will return to the Island to speak about his book, The Lost Fleet: A Yankee Whaler’s Struggle Against the Confederate Navy and Arctic Disaster, at the Chilmark Public Library on Wednesday, Sept. 10 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. The event is free and open to all.
Mr. Songini’s fourth book (and third about New England history) chronicles Thomas William Williams’ four-decades-long career — from 1840 to 1880 — as the captain of the whaling vessel Florida. The book also tells the story of Chilmarker George Fred Tilton, who made the amazing overland trip from Point Barrow, Alaska to Portland, Ore., on foot and by dogsled seeking help for eight trapped whalers in 1898.
On its first voyage, the ship was due to sail east through the sperm whale grounds that lay toward the coast of Africa. From there it was bound for the Indian Ocean via the Cape of Good Hope. On board were Williams’ wife and their infant son and daughter. The story includes his escape from the Confederate ship Alabama and accounts of a number of ship disasters off the coast of Alaska.
Mr. Songini spent six years researching the book. He has examined a vast subject, not only the history of Captain Williams but also of the whaling trade itself, in great depth. The book, with eight pages of black-and-white photographs, is a thoroughly absorbing look at life and death at sea.
He is a Boston-area journalist whose work has appeared in the Boston Book Review, the Boston Herald and the Boston Globe. His talk is sponsored by the Friends of the Chilmark Public Library.
For details, call 508-645-3360.