Cover image for USS Constellation : pride of the American navy
Title:
USS Constellation : pride of the American navy
Author:
Myers, Walter Dean, 1937-2014.
Publication Information:
New York : Holiday House, [2004]

©2004
Physical Description:
86 pages : illustrations ; 27 cm
Language:
English
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 8.3 2.0 78856.
ISBN:
9780823418169
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

Myers relates the illustrious history of our nation's last all-sail warship. He describes her original construction and launch in 1797 and early victories against the French frigate Insurgente and Barbary Coast pirates. He then details the mid-18th-century "repair" that transformed the ship into the "second" Constellation, a vessel that roamed the Atlantic to interdict the slave trade, saw Civil War action, and was finally used for training officers. The author also explains how the Constellation was operated and how its sailors were trained, and sums up the various rebuilding efforts that culminated in restoring her to her 1854 condition and her 1999 return to Baltimore Harbor. He includes many lengthy primary-source quotes, such as an account of the Constellation's 1860 encounter with a slave vessel and the specific instructions for sailors who handled gunpowder. There are numerous period illustrations and photos of the vessel and those who served on her as well as an extensive bibliography with primary and secondary sources and Web sites.


Author Notes

Walter Dean Myers was born on August 12, 1937 in Martinsberg, West Virginia. When he was three years old, his mother died and his father sent him to live with Herbert and Florence Dean in Harlem, New York. He began writing stories while in his teens. He dropped out of high school and enlisted in the Army at the age of 17. After completing his army service, he took a construction job and continued to write.

He entered and won a 1969 contest sponsored by the Council on Interracial Books for Children, which led to the publication of his first book, Where Does the Day Go? During his lifetime, he wrote more than 100 fiction and nonfiction books for children and young adults. His works include Fallen Angels, Bad Boy, Darius and Twig, Scorpions, Lockdown, Sunrise Over Fallujah, Invasion, Juba!, and On a Clear Day. He also collaborated with his son Christopher, an artist, on a number of picture books for young readers including We Are America: A Tribute from the Heart and Harlem, which received a Caldecott Honor Award, as well as the teen novel Autobiography of My Dead Brother.

He was the winner of the first-ever Michael L. Printz Award for Monster, the first recipient of the Coretta Scott King-Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement, and a recipient of the Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults. He also won the Coretta Scott King Award for African American authors five times. He died on July 1, 2014, following a brief illness, at the age of 76.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 4-8. This well-researched book traces the history of the USS Constellation, which was built as a frigate, launched in 1797, and initially charged with battling privateers that threatened U.S. trade with Europe. She was rebuilt as a sloop in 1854 and, in 1999, restored to her 1854 glory and docked in Baltimore Harbor. Myers uses quotes from primary sources to give voice to those who sailed on the famous ship. Perhaps the most memorable is a lengthy and dramatic account, written by a 21-year-old officer, that describes how the Constellation overtook and captured the Cora, a slave ship, in 1860. The volume features an attractive design and many black-and-white reproductions of period photographs, drawings, paintings, and documents. A glossary of nautical terms; time lines; lists of books, periodicals, and other sources; recommended Web sites and places to visit; illustration credits; and an author's note are appended. A unique addition to American history collections. --Carolyn Phelan Copyright 2004 Booklist


Publisher's Weekly Review

Myers (Now Is Your Time!) offers a meticulously researched, fast-flowing chronicle of the historic Constellation, originally launched from the port of Baltimore in 1797. By tracing the ship's history as one of three frigates built for the fledgling naval branch of the armed forces, the author offers a larger view of the shaping of America. Myers describes the ship's involvement in missions on several fronts, and explains that it was retired and then rebuilt as a sloop of war in 1854, the last all-sail warship designed for the U.S. Navy. In this incarnation, the vessel played a pivotal role (as flagship for the African Squadron) in intercepting ships involved in the slave trade and protecting Union ships from Confederate vessels in the Mediterranean during the Civil War. After steam engines and iron hulls rendered the Constellation obsolete for combat, it served as a training ship for the Naval Academy. The author provides diverting details about life aboard the Constellation, including notes on the chores performed by youngest crew members (some not yet teenaged). Kids will find themselves easily lured aboard-and will be gratified to learn that the vessel has been restored to its former glory and now floats proudly in Baltimore harbor, "a magnificent symbol of navy tradition and the American spirit." The inclusion of dramatic archival photos, period cartoons and riveting first-hand accounts of sailors make this voyage all the more rewarding. Ages 10-up. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-Myers relates the illustrious history of our nation's last all-sail warship. He describes her original construction and launch in 1797 and early victories against the French frigate Insurgente and Barbary Coast pirates. He then details the mid-18th-century "repair" that transformed the ship into the "second" Constellation, a vessel that roamed the Atlantic to interdict the slave trade, saw Civil War action, and was finally used for training officers. The author also explains how the Constellation was operated and how its sailors were trained, and sums up the various rebuilding efforts that culminated in restoring her to her 1854 condition and her 1999 return to Baltimore Harbor. He includes many lengthy primary-source quotes, such as an account of the Constellation's 1860 encounter with a slave vessel and the specific instructions for sailors who handled gunpowder. There are numerous period illustrations and photos of the vessel and those who served on her as well as an extensive bibliography with primary and secondary sources and Web sites.-Mary Mueller, Rolla Junior High School, MO (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.