In 1850, a brilliant young boat designer and an unlikely team of humble, hard working men faced the might and arrogance of the British empire in a yacht race for The Great Exhibition in England. Revolutionary in design and strikingly beautiful, the schooner America set sail against the world's greatest maritime nation.
This is an account of an amazing feat accomplished long ago at the turning point in the growth of a young nation's confidence, but it is also the story of a victory of the American spirit that bravely lives on today.
Let me start by saying I know nothing about sailing. I started reading the book primarily because I like history and was looking for details on what the yacht and race meant to the relationship between Great Britain and the US. While there was some of this, it wasn't the primary focus. 3/4 of the book is about the building of the yacht and sailing it from NY to the English Channel. The last quarter was devoted to the race itself and the historical perspective I was originally seeking. A sailing enthusiast may get more entertainment from the first 3/4 as there is a lot of description of the boat and voyage. Prior knowledge of sailing lingo will definitely enhance enjoyment. It will help the reader visualize how they manuever the sails and manage the wind etc. As someone that know nothing of sailing, these three quarters of the book might have made a better movie as I would have been able to see it instead of read about the what they did with the jib, gaffe and toppsle. I dont really know what that stuff is exactly. Character development in the book is not extraordinary. In the end I did develop an appreciation for the sport, the America's Cup and how the race served as an exhibition of US strength again Great Britain's naval supremacy.
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