Reviews & Awards for Rebels at Sea (book publishes 5/31/2022)


“Yet another maritime masterpiece by one of the top historians of the oceans!  Rebels at Sea is a brilliant exposition of a little-understood and under-appreciated part of the American Revolution underway.  Like his earlier works, it is full of fresh thinking and sharply observed anecdotes that both inform and delight.  Eric Jay Dolin's books deserve a prominent place on every sailor's bookshelf.”—Admiral James Stavridis, 16th Supreme Allied Commander at NATO and author of The Sailor's Bookshelf: Fifty Books to Know the Sea


“Richly detailed, impressively documented, and beautifully written, Rebels at Sea hugely expands our understanding of the American Revolution through a stirring narrative of an essential part that has long been neglected.”—George Daughan, author of Revolution on the Hudson and Lexington and Concord

“Dolin’s valuable achievement in recognizing and honoring these sailors’ oft-ignored contributions to American independence more fully fleshes out American naval history.”Mark Knoblauch, Booklist, starred review


“With Rebels at Sea, Eric Jay Dolin combines his meticulous research with his consummate skills as a story teller. The American privateers who sailed and fought in our Revolution have been unjustly forgotten by our history books. Their victories at sea heartened citizens, proved their worth to the Continental Congress, and drove George III and Lord North nuts. This is a terrific read!”—Tim McGrath, author of Give Me a Fast Ship: The Continental Navy and America's Revolution at Sea


"A compelling tale of patriots whose bravery was integral to America’s victory in the War of Independence, Rebels at Sea is highly recommended."Chris Szepessy, WindCheck Magazine, Sailing the Northeast

“The war at sea during the Revolutionary War is less known than the famous land battles fought at places such as Lexington and Trenton. But privateers played a crucial role by elevating the cost of war to the Crown and providing vital supplies and gunpowder to the nascent United States among other actions. Eric Jay Dolin brings the war at sea to life with vibrant prose and solid research. After reading Rebels at Sea, readers will come away with a new perspective on how America gained independence.“—Patrick K. O’Donnell, author of The Indispensables: The Diverse Soldier-Mariners Who Shaped the Country, Formed the Navy, and Rowed Washington Across the Delaware


"Rebel’s at Sea is captivating reading for those drawn to American and British history or armchair sailors seeking high seas adventure. It is also an important contribution to American Revolution literature."—George Jepson, Quarterdeck Magazine

“In this exciting narrative, Dolin, a 2020 Kirkus Prize finalist for A Furious Sky, demonstrates how privateering was a key element in America’s ability to secure independence. . . . A thrilling, unique contribution to the literature on the American Revolution.”Kirkus Reviews

“While the infant American navy fought gallantly, privateers presented the Royal Navy with its greatest challenge. Eric Jay Dolin's Rebels at Sea is an excellent book about those overlooked patriots who brought the war at sea home to the British. It is welcome addition to the history of the American Revolution, and deserves the highest praise.”—William Fowler, Jr., Jack tars and commodores: The American Navy, 1783-1815


 “An often overlooked factor in America’s victory in the War of Independence was the role of privateering – sailors who captured British ships or merchants who at considerable risk acquired essential goods for the army and home front.  Eric Jay Dolin’s wonderful Rebels at Sea demonstrates that privateering was more than a sideshow. It caused Great Britain enormous problems that contributed to its failure to crush the American rebellion. This book is must reading for all who wish to learn more about the Revolutionary War.”—John Ferling, author of Winning Independence: The Decisive Years of the Revolutionary War, 1778-1781

"American privateers were 'at the very center' of the patriotic cause during the Revolutionary War, according to this spirited account from historian Dolin . . . the book’s greatest strength are the up-close portraits of the sailors themselves . . . this is a well-researched and thoroughly entertaining tribute to men who 'stepped forward and risked their lives to help make [the United States] a reality.'"Publishers Weekly


"Eric Jay Dolin builds on his already prodigious reputation for meticulous and thorough research and a readable, page-turning prose style with his latest work on privateers of the American Revolution. Turning to a subject that has garnered little attention despite its importance to history and its inherently swashbuckling nature, Dolin gives this fascinating aspect of the Age of Fighting Sail the focus it deserves. This book is an important contribution to the naval history of the American Revolution and an entertaining and enjoyable read as well.—James L. Nelson, author of Benedict Arnold's Navy and George Washington's Secret Navy 


“All in all it was a very good and, for me, informative read. I commend you heartily on the project. It beats the hell out of most of what is out there these days.”—Donald Grady Shomette, author or more than twenty books on American history, including Privateers of the Revolution: War on the New Jersey Coast, 1775-1783 


"It is long overdue that readers have available to them a modern study of American privateers in the American Revolutionary War.  Thanks to Eric Jay Dolin, readers finally have one. Dolin makes a compelling case for American privateers making a significant contribution to the fledgling United States winning the Revolutionary War.  Deeply researched and elegantly written, his book also includes many memorable and varied stories of American privateers in action."—Christian McBurney, author of Dark Voyage:  An American Privateer’s War on Britain’s African Slave Trade


"I spend a lot of time trying to explain privateering to visitors and students in a succinct, easily understandable way, while making it clear that the experienced varied by region, race, year, etc. Your book does a wonderful job of offering both big-picture information and the personal, and often intimate details of individual experiences. You address the two most common questions perfectly – I have never had anyone come on a tour of the Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm [in which a famous privateer lived] who did not, at some point equate privateers with piracy, and there is always a question about whether financial gain or patriotism was the primary motivation. The answer in both cases is complex and can easily become bogged down in scholarly debate, but you avoid this pitfall. I think there is enough rigor here to satisfy the most demanding historian, but it is all beautifully accessible as well. Your readers will never forget the smell of a prison ship or the blood pooling around the feet of a mortally wounded captain. They will hang their water buckets high in the rigging and hope this teaches new hands to climb! I loved it, an excellent balance between macro and micro history."—Bethany Groff-Dorau, Executive Director of the Museum of Old Newbury and author of A Newburyport Marine in World War I: The Life and Legacy of Eben Bradbury

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© 2016 by Eric Jay Dolin