A nicely rendered portrait of John Paul Jones, whose exploits on behalf of American independence are largely forgotten today. Thomas paints a balanced portrait of the corsair—Jones was thin-skinned, quick to take offense and inept at handling his subordinates. He was also a courageous man, driven by a steady determination to succeed and a visionary, who saw the need for a strong
A few factoids about Jones that Thomas reveals:
- He was a Scot, whose real name was John Paul.
- While captain of a British merchant ship, Jones killed a sailor who was stirring up the crew. Jones called the incident “that great misfortune of my life.”
- To avoid arrest by civil authorities in Tobago, where the crime took place, Jones fled to
. Fredericksburg, Virginia
- Jones served briefly and unhappily as an admiral in the Russian Navy during the reign of Catherine the Great.
- Jones probably never said, “I have not yet begun to fight.” He may have said, “I may sink, but I’ll be damned if I strike” or something similar.
- Jones died in
. His remains were brought to France by Theodore Roosevelt in 1906. He was laid to rest at the America Naval Academyin . Anapolis