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John Paul Jones, Fighting Sailor dustjacket

John Paul Jones,
Fighting Sailor

by Armstrong Sperry
Illustrations by Armstrong Sperry

Random House, New York, 1953
Landmark Books #39

John Paul Jones: The Pirate PatriotJohn Paul Jones, Fighting Sailor has been rereleased in 2006 by Sterling Point Books, under the new title John Paul Jones, The Pirate Patriot.

Special feature for this book: In 1954, the author appeared on an NBC radio broadcast show, Carnival of Books with Ruth Harshaw, and was interviewed by four young people from Public School 104 in Brooklyn. Listen to the radio program.


From the dustjacket of the 1953 edition:

"I have just begun to fight."

With those ringing words John Paul Jones replied to the British demand for surrender in 1779. And for that defiant stand the "Father of the American Navy" is remembered.

For four years young Captain Jones had fought in the naval battles of the American Revolution. He had raided the sea coast of England, captured a British sloop, and taken several merchant chips as prizes.

As captain of the frigate Ranger, he was the first to hoist the Stars and Stripes to the masthead of an American man-of-war. It was the proudest moment of his life, for this was a new flag of the country -- the United States of America. Captain Jones ordered a thirteen-gun salute and glowed with pride when he heard the answering salute from the French flagship. The youngest nation was recognized by the powerful country of France.

The captain's exploits off the coast of Scotland followed, when he scaled a ten-foot wall, spiked the guns of the fort in Solway Firth, and nearly kidnapped the Earl of Selkirk. Then, given command of the Bon Homme Richard, he and his men fought the English like tigers.

The life story of this great naval hero -- a story of American daring and independence, of heroic sacrifices for friends and country -- is magnificently told by Armstrong Sperry, a Newbery Medal winner who is especially noted for his stories of the sea.

A note about the author-illustrator:

ARMSTRONG SPERRY was born and brought up in the rocky hills of New England, but within sight and sound of the sea. Possibly it is this early association which from time to time has led him into exploring some of the remotest corners of the world. In 1925 he joined the Kaimiloa expedition as an assistant ethnologist for the Bishop Museum of Honolulu. Sailing among the least known islands of the South Pacific, he laid the foundation for the firsthand knowledge of Polynesia which has formed the background of many of his books, including Call It Courage, awarded the Newbery Medal in 1941.

Mr. Sperry began his early professional career as an artist, having studied painting with George Bellows. Perhaps for this reason, when he turned to writing as an additional medium, he brought to his use of words the painter's gift for seeing color, form and design.

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This page last updated Friday, 04/03/09, by Margo Burns, margo@ogram.org
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