North American Society for Oceanic History's John Lyman Book Award, 2002
"I defy anyone who picks this up to not head directly for the nearest comfortable chair, there to settle in for a lengthy and rewarding perusal of the riches within."
—Michael Sanders, Down East Magazine
"A first-rate maritime history and an exciting story of archaeological detection, Snow Squall brings America's last clipper ship back to life."
—John Rousmaniere, author of Fastnet and The Low Black Schooner
"Provides a view of a real vessel, handled by real sailors and managed by real businessmen. By refocusing the spotlight that has always illuminated the clippers, he revealed the authentic light and shadow that once fell across every sea-mile they logged."
—Robert Lloyd Webb, International Journal of Maritime History
"He brings the world of the clipper ships to vivid life. Writers about this period often tell us how colorful the times were; here, the author shows us, with rich texture and fine detail. He has done very fine detective work."
—Tom Jackson, Maine Boats & Harbors
"If this superbly researched and painstakingly detailed book does nothing else—and it does a great deal more—it will dispel the romance, the dreamy vision of fast, graceful ships with all sails set racing over the bounding main. [Switzer's] prose escapes the leaden pace of most archaeological reports. He has a fine way with words and a refreshing candor about the Don Quixote quest he, Dean and their associates were so committed to . . . Dean's affectionate history of the Snow Squall's days at sea is sandwiched amidships, and a superbly detailed history it is. Make no mistake: This is the work of a scholar; a historian worthy of the title."
—John N. Cole, Bangor Daily News
"Until this book, nobody has attempted a full history of a particular clipper, and it is hard to think of anyone more qualified to do so than Edgecomb's Nicholas Dean. Mariner, historian, and photographer, he brings accuracy of research and readability of text to a beautifully designed book . . . a beautifully written, nicely organized and elegantly designed book that tells the story of a particular Maine clipper and in the process challenges long-held notions about the vessel type. It also follows the extraordinary saga of the Snow Squall's salvaging and provides drawings of plans and lines from the Historic American Engineering Record, notes, bibliography and a comprehensive index."
—William David Barry, Maine Sunday Telegram
"This combined approach of history and archaeology has proven very effective . . . a far cry from the usual litany of record clipper ship passages and the deification of their captains. This is a human story told on human terms."
"Snow Squall is a gem. Not only does it make fascinating reading, but it serves as a primary source for virtually everything connected with international shipping at the middle of the 19th century . . . one of the most interesting and impressive marine histories in the field."
—Clint Trowbridge, Maine Times
In the middle of the nineteenth century American clipper ships astounded the maritime world with their amazingly swift passages to and from faraway seaports, bringing back exotic and valuable cargoes of tea, spices, and silk. Of all those clippers, only one remains: the Maine-built Snow Squall, whose bow section was rescued from the remote Falkland Islands by the Snow Squall Project in the 1980s.
This book begins (and ends) with an unusual volunteer archaeological expedition in the aftermath of the Falkland War but quickly becomes a maritime detective story, as Snow Squall's story is pieced together further with information gleaned from shipping lists, newspaper accounts, disaster books, and diaries. Her world turns out to be a fascinating one, from the laying of her keel at the Butler yard in South Portland in 1851; to her captain's problems with storms, unruly crews, and attempted piracy; her owner's attempts to keep her profitable when news of her markets thousands of miles away was months old, and her cargo wouldn't be delivered until months later; and her last captain's heroic efforts to repair his badly damaged ship after going aground near Cape Horn in 1864.
Nicholas Dean is a maritime historian who went to sea under sail in his teens. He was the founder of the Snow Squall Project, and is a life member of the Portland (Maine) Marine Society and co-author of its bicentennial history. Dave Switzer is a nautical archaeologist who made four trips to the Falklands with the Snow Squall Project. He teaches at Plymouth State College in New Hampshire.
Tilbury House, Publishers
103 Brunswick Avenue
Gardiner, Maine 04345