Conversations on Seabourn Quest

I am presenting a series of “conversations,” talks on events in maritime history, on board Seabourn‘s MV Quest as we sail “the Route of the Vikings” between Iceland and Greenland to Canada.  Here is a list of the books mentioned in the talks.seabourn_viking_cruise


I started researching the origins of this famous song in connection with a book I thought about writing on the flight of Confederates from the South at the end of the Civil War; some to reestablish plantation agriculture in a more congenial place, some to escape prosecution or want, and some (often former army and navy officers) to find employment in familiar work.  That book, Leaving Dixie was its working title, might yet get researched and written, but right now—May 2015—I’ve moved on to something else.  This short essay was to have been Leaving Dixie’s preface.

Ships, Clocks & Stars

smLostNoWayHome_graphic_671x800The Quest for Longitude

March 19-August 23, 2015

Folger Shakespeare Library

An excellent, free exhibition of artifacts from the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich, England that includes watchmaker John Harrison’s superb “H-4,” which in the 1760s made possible accurate time at sea and the (relatively) easy calculation of longitude.