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About Tim McGrath
November, 2016: The Naval Order of the United States awarded Give Me a Fast Ship the Samuel Eliot Morison Award for Naval Literature.
May, 2016: Give Me a Fast Ship has won the Commodore Barry Book Award for Maritime Literature, presented by the Navy League of the United States, New York Council. McGrath is the first author to win this honor twice.
In 2015, Give Me a Fast Ship won the Marion Brewington Award for Naval Literature (sponsored by the Maryland Historical Society), the Military Order of St. Louis, and the American Revolution Round Table of New York Book of the Year Award.
The Navy League of the United States, New York Council, named John Barry: an American Hero in the Age of Sail, as the first recipient of the Commodore Barry Book Award for Maritime Literature. The book was also awarded the American Revolutionary War Roundtable Book of the Year for 2010, and named a finalist for the 2011 RADMR Samuel Eliot Morison for Naval Literature.
Tim McGrath (BA History, Temple University '74) is a business executive who lives outside of Philadelphia. He has served on the board of directors of Independence Seaport Museum, Fort Mifflin on the Delaware, New Courtland Elder Services, the Kearsley Retirement Community (founded by Benjamin Franklin's physician), Philadelphia Senior Centers, and Christ Church Hospital. His many interests, including tennis, horseback riding, and sailing, are limited only by creaking knees and a fickle rotator cuff.
Over the years he has written articles on management, U.S. history, and healthcare issues for various newspapers and magazines. With his son, Ted (an award-winning artist, illustrator, and art director), he wrote Travels with the Commodore, a children's book published for the Philadelphia Port Authority's community reading program. Despite his terrible typing, he's at work on a new book about Lincoln, Lee, and Meade and how their decisions in June and July 1863 affected the battle of Gettysburg and changed American history.
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“A first-rate account of a remarkable life.” —Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Soul of America
Monroe lived a life defined by revolutions. From the battlefields of the War for Independence, to his ambassadorship in Paris in the days of the guillotine, to his own role in the creation of Congress's partisan divide, he was a man who embodied the restless spirit of the age. He was never one to back down from a fight, whether it be with Alexander Hamilton, with whom he nearly engaged in a duel (prevented, ironically, by Aaron Burr), or George Washington, his hero turned political opponent.
This magnificent new biography vividly recreates the epic sweep of Monroe’s life: his near-death wounding at Trenton and a brutal winter at Valley Forge; his pivotal negotiations with France over the Louisiana Purchase; his deep, complex friendships with Thomas Jefferson and James Madison; his valiant leadership when the British ransacked the nation’s capital and burned down the Executive Mansion; and Monroe’s lifelong struggle to reckon with his own complicity in slavery. Elected the fifth president of the United States in 1816, this fiercest of partisans sought to bridge divisions and sow unity, calming turbulent political seas and inheriting Washington's mantle of placing country above party. Over his two terms, Monroe transformed the nation, strengthening American power both at home and abroad.
Critically acclaimed author Tim McGrath has consulted an extensive array of primary sources, many rarely seen since Monroe's own time, to conjure up this fascinating portrait of an essential American statesman and president.
“A meticulous, adrenaline-filled account of the earliest days of the Continental Navy.”—New York Times Bestselling Author Laurence Bergreen
America in 1775 was on the verge of revolution—or, more likely, disastrous defeat. After the bloodshed at Lexington and Concord, England’s King George sent hundreds of ships westward to bottle up American harbors and prey on American shipping. Colonists had no force to defend their coastline and waterways until John Adams of Massachusetts proposed a bold solution: The Continental Congress should raise a navy.
The idea was mad. The Royal Navy was the mightiest floating arsenal in history, with a seemingly endless supply of vessels. More than a hundred of these were massive “ships of the line,” bristling with up to a hundred high-powered cannon that could level a city. The British were confident that His Majesty’s warships would quickly bring the rebellious colonials to their knees.
They were wrong. Beginning with five converted merchantmen, America’s sailors became formidable warriors, matching their wits, skills, and courage against the best of the British fleet. Victories off American shores gave the patriots hope—victories led by captains such as John Barry, the fiery Irish-born giant; fearless Nicholas Biddle, who stared down an armed mutineer; and James Nicholson, the underachiever who finally redeemed himself with an inspiring display of coolness and bravery. Meanwhile, along the British coastline, daring raids by handsome, cocksure John Paul Jones and the “Dunkirk Pirate,” Gustavus Conyngham—who was captured and sentenced to hang but tunneled under his cell and escaped to fight again—sent fear throughout England. The adventures of these men and others on both sides of the struggle rival anything from Horatio Hornblower or Lucky Jack Aubrey. In the end, these rebel sailors, from the quarterdeck to the forecastle, contributed greatly to American independence.
Meticulously researched and masterfully told, Give Me a Fast Ship is a rousing, epic tale of war on the high seas—and the definitive history of the American Navy during the Revolutionary War.
The Life of the First Captain of the United States Navy
Finalist for the Rear Admiral Samuel Eliot Morison Award for Excellence in Naval Literature
“Ashore as well as at sea, Tim McGrath paints an informative, engaging and highly entertaining portrait of this worthy but neglected hero of American independence. The author shows us a man who was a magnificent embodiment of common sense—and uncommon courage and dedication. That such a work is long overdue makes its achievement all the more pleasurable.”—Wall Street Journal
“Combining sophisticated use of sources with a pleasing writing style, McGrath masterfully rescues a father of the U.S. Navy from unmerited eclipse.”—Publishers Weekly
“A nearly indispensable addition to U.S. Navy collections.”—Booklist
“McGrath employs exemplary narrative style in this work. . . . In John Barry, the author adroitly juxtaposes maritime history, narratives of naval combat, and early U.S. social history.”—New England Quarterly
“McGrath is a compelling and lucid writer. He brings Barry to life, makes battles understandable, and provides the clearest description of Barry's 1778 capture of the British transport ships Mermaid and Kitty that this reviewer has seen.”—Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography
“A great read and an absorbing account of a drama-filled life.”—Naval History
“Well researched, well written, and a pleasure to read, this book restores John Barry to the important place he once held as one of our nation’s great heroes. It is a tale of high adventure and personal courage and you will not want to put it down.” —JAMES L. NELSON, author of George Washington’s Secret Navy
“Readers of this vivid biography will imagine they smell the ocean’s salt air and the sulfurous fumes of gunpowder as they navigate these action-packed pages. Fans of Horatio Hornblower and Lucky Jack Aubrey will rejoice in discovering their real-life American counterpart.”—GREGORY J. URWIN, author of Facing Fearful Odds: The Siege of Wake Island
The man regarded as “the Father of the American Navy” returns to the quarterdeck in John Barry: An American Hero in the Age of Sail, the first comprehensive biography of this legendary officer in generations. Son of a hardscrabble Irish farmer from County Wexford, Barry was sent to sea as a child, arriving in Philadelphia during the restless decade before the American Revolution. Brave and ambitious, he ascended the ratlines to become a successful merchant captain at a young age, commanding the most prestigious ship in the colonies and recording the fastest known day of sail in the century.
Volunteering to fight for the Continental cause, Barry saw his star rise during the War for Independence. As captain of the Lexington, Raleigh, and Alliance, Barry faced down broadsides, mutinies, and even a fleet of icebergs. He captured the first enemy warship taken by a Continental vessel and fought the last battle of the American Revolution.