Marco Polo: the Story of the Fastest Clipper

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Clipper ships are a perennially popular maritme subject A strong human story, full of striking characters Readable narrative aimed at the non-specialist This impressively researched book is the first to present the full story one of the most famous, and certainly the fastest clippers of her time.. A novel design built in Saint John, New Brunswick, in 1851, Marco Polo absolutely astounded the maritime world when, in 1852-53, she became the first ship ever to sail from England to Australia and back in under six months and twice around the world in under a year. Over a fifteen-year period the ship carried huge numbers of destitute emigrants from Britain to a better life in Australia, on voyages closely followed by the press and many thousands worldwide. The exploits of principal owner James Baines and captain James Nicol 'Bully' Forbes feature strongly in the book - two men who easily rank among the most colourful and interesting characters in the entire history of the British merchant marine. Together, Baines, the aggressive, high-rolling entrepreneur, and Forbes, the clever, boastful mariner, were an unbeatable combination, especially when teamed with Marco Polo. This well-illustrated book explains why the ship was so fast, but also places the account in the context of the mid-nineteenth-century shipbuilding boom in British North America, the great Australian Gold Rush in the 1850s, and the mass exodus from Liverpool to Australia of gold seekers and others seeking escape from poverty and disease. Engagingly written for a general audience Marco Polo is a gripping human drama and a lively study of the life and times of a truly great ship and how it affected the lives of people on three continents. Dr. MARTIN HOLLENBERG (BSc, MSc, PHD, MD, FRCPC) retired in 2001 after a distinguished career in academic medicine to indulge his interest in maritime history. Although he has written over 50 papers, and lectures, this is his first full-length book.

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