Books: Queeg's Predecessor

THE CAPTAIN CALLED IT MUTINY (236 pp.)—Frederic F. Van de Water—Ives Washburn ($3.50).

On Dec. 1, 1842, the U.S. brig-of-war Somers was wallowing through the long mid-Atlantic rollers under balmy skies, four days' sail from the Virgin Islands. Converted into a training ship, the brig was on her way home from what had begun ten weeks earlier as a routine cruise. But a terror unique in the U.S. Navy's history had mocked routine. From the main yardarm dangled three lifeless, hooded figures. They had been hanged by order of the ship's captain. Reason: alleged...

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