46 von 48 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
- Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Gebundene Ausgabe
You have heard of Lewis and Clark, but you probably never heard of the US South Seas Exploring Expedition of 1838. If its leader, US Navy Lieutenant Charles Wilkes, had had his way, the Ex. Ex., as it was known, would still have been sung internationally for the inarguably tremendous contributions it made to geography, biology, and simple adventure. In addition, it started the still-lasting partnership between the US government and the sciences that, say, does the exploring upon Mars. Wilkes, to a large extent, made the expedition successful, and also defeated himself by preventing it from being universally celebrated. _Sea of Glory: America's Voyage of Discovery, The U. S. Exploring Expedition 1838 - 1842_ (Viking) by Nathaniel Philbrick tells an amazing adventure yarn of real explorers, and real human flaws that by turns endangered and enabled the exploration efforts.
There were unprecedented logistical tasks in assembling the expedition, which at its start consisted of six ships and 346 men (including nine scientists). Senior officers had trouble putting the expedition together, and the Navy gave the task to the forty-year-old Lieutenant Wilkes. Philbrick writes, "Wilkes was a great man. But he was also vain, impulsive, and often cruel." He took offense easily, and would not be placated by offenders. He remained aloof from his officers. When things went wrong, he was quick to assume that his men had been incompetent or malevolent. Philbrick concludes that a more self-confident and capable leader probably would not have brought the expedition greater success, although it could have brought greater on-board contentment and post-expedition fame. With his enormous flaws, Wilkes was resilient and resourceful, and the list of accomplishments chalked up by the expedition is long. For instance, they brought back forty tons of biological and anthropological specimens, many of which became the foundation for the collections displayed at the Smithsonian Institution. But upon his return, Wilkes was court-martialed for his many real abuses, and some that were not real, such as a charge that he falsified surveying sightings. While he got off lightly, and became recognized as a naval hero in the Civil War, and even an Admiral, he is not the recognized hero that, say, Scott or Shackleton is.
His flaws brought on his obscurity, which Philbrick's engaging volume will at least partially correct. There are literary theorists who say that Wilkes was the model for Ahab, and Melville did indeed know of the expedition and its outcome. A closer literary fit, because of his distrust of his subordinates, would be Captain Queeg of _The Caine Mutiny_. Philbrick, in _In the Heart of the Sea_, previously made exciting the tale of the doomed whaleship _Essex_, and there is plenty of nautical excitement in his story of this expedition as well. There is less of a tale of men against nature here, though, and more of the conflict of commander against officers, and of a man against himself.