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Old Ironsides – Americans Build a Fighting Ship
David Weitzman


Ages 8 to 12

Houghton Mifflin, 1997, 0-618-31115-7
  It is 1793 and a desperate and angry President Washington has decided that American shipping can no longer tolerate being attacked by pirates and every ruffian on the open seas. It was now time to “repel force with force” as Thomas Jefferson said. It was time to build some big ships to fight off the enemies of American shipping. The treasury could afford to build only six ships. These six vessels would have to be the best and the strongest that American shipbuilders could craft. Young John Aylwin, the son of a ship’s carpenter, was delighted to find himself in the middle of the great task to build one of these ships. John is present when a draftsman is putting together drawings for what would become the frigate called the U.S.S Constitution. Several years later he is also present when the great and beautiful ship slides down the ways and into the water, ready to do battle with whoever threatens America.

  Filled with highly detailed and very beautiful black and white drawings, David Weitzman has created a book which brings to life the creation of a famous and extraordinary ship. By inventing a fictional boy who participates in the construction of the ship, Weitzman has made the whole complicated process accessible and interesting. He also gives the reader a wonderful picture of the times. David Weitzman helps us understand how desperate those early years were for the young United States, and how much skill and hard work it took to build a ship on which so much depended. A wonderfully fresh way to look at history.


Old Ironsides


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