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Under Sun, Stars and Sails


Under Sun, Stars and Sails is the story of a 19th century family's real-life adventures at sea during two whaling voyages. This intimate account tells a unique story of Nantucket whaling master, Captain Joseph Marshall and his wife, Malvina Pinkham Marshall who became partners in the whaling industry while at the same time devoted themselves to each other and created a distinctive family life with their young daughter, Helen as they sailed the world s wide oceans in search of whales. Joseph had been at sea since he was seventeen, Malvina was the well-educated daughter of a noted whaling master, and Helen, a precocious child, was destined to become a world traveler. While all three are familiar figures in the literature of Nantucket and New England whaling, nowhere do they appear together as a family sharing long sea voyages. Nor has anyone previously told the detailed story of their trips across the Atlantic and their adventures in the vast reaches of the Pacific. But now Under Sun, Stars and Sails offers a narrative richly laden with information gleaned from archived letters, unpublished memoirs, journals from private collections, and ship s records a story that not only gives an authentic account of the Marshall family s life at sea, but also contextualizes their triumphs and challenges in the unique era of American history between 1851 and 1861. The importance of the Nantucket and New Bedford whaling industry, the social and demographic impact of the California Gold Rush, the rise of the anti-slavery movement, the outbreak of the Civil War, and the discovery of petroleum all make it clear that America was undergoing evolutionary change. Many books with similar topics focus on the drama, danger, and documented details of whaling this account offers personal and familial insight into life aboard a whale ship through the eyes and experiences of the ship s captain, his wife and young daughter as they sail around the world.