Books: Cape Cod Skipper

ELIJAH COBB (1768-1848): A CAPE COD SKIPPER—With a foreword by Ralph D. Paine—Yale University Press ($1.50).

The purposes of historical study are often more faithfully served by a vivid incident than by pages of abstractions: this little memoir illumines America's maritime era. The poverty-stricken mother of Elijah Cobb, a sailor's widow, mothering six, sent him out into the world. At 14 he sailed for Surinam as cook and cabin-boy; he was in command of a brig at 23. The captain of those days was navigator, merchant, banker and diplomatist as occasion required; witness his...

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