In the grand tradition of David McCullough and Ron Chernow, the sweeping story of the nineteenth-century American dynasties who battled for dominance of the tea and opium trades.
There was a time, back when the United States was young and the robber barons were just starting to come into their own, when fortunes were made and lost importing luxury goods from China. It was a secretive, glamorous, often brutal business—one where teas and silks and porcelain were purchased with profits from the opium trade. But the journey by sea to New York from Canton could take six agonizing months, and so the most pressing technological challenge of the day became ensuring one’s goods arrived first to market, so they might fetch the highest price.
“Full of remarkable characters and incredible stories, Steven Ujifusa’s Barons of the Sea is a fascinating, fast-paced history of America’s clipper ship era. Highly recommended.” -Nathaniel Philbrick
Steven Ujifusa is a historian and a resident of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His second book, Barons of the Sea: And Their Race to Build the World’s Fastest Clipper Ship, tells the saga the great 19th century American clipper ships and the Yankee merchant dynasties they created. Warren Delano II, maternal grandfather of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, takes center stage in the narrative. For this project, he was the recipient of a 7-week writing fellowship from the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire.
In 2012, The Wall Street Journal named his first book A Man and His Ship: America’s Greatest Naval Architect and His Quest to Build the SS United States (Simon & Schuster) as one of the 10 best nonfiction books of the year.
He has appeared on National Public Radio, CBS Sunday Morning, and numerous other media outlets. He is a frequent contributor to the urban history website PhillyHistory.org.