New England's Most Sensational Murders, Covered Bridge Press (North Attleboro, MA), 1995.
Of All the Gin Joints, Northwest Publishing, 1996.
(With others) New England's Most Intriguing Rascals, Rogues and Thieves, Douglas Charles, 1998.
Contributor to periodicals, including the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, and Boston Book Review.
Marc Songini is a Boston-based writer who is a frequent contributor to area publications, including the Boston Globe, Boston Herald, and Boston Book Review. Songini has written several books of New England history, including New England's Most Sensational Murders, Of All the Gin Joints, and, New England's Most Intriguing Rascals, Rogues and Thieves.
His The Lost Fleet: A Yankee Whaler's Struggle against the Confederate Navy and Arctic Disaster is a biography of Thomas William Williams, as well as a history of the last days of the whaling industry. At one time whale oil was harvested to light lamps, and many thousands of animals were killed to extract that oil. As whale populations decreased in the 1800s, whaling ships traveled farther from shore seeking their prey, and in doing so the captains and crews exposed themselves to increased danger from storms, icebergs, and illness, as well as the whales they sought to capture. Additional risk was added due to the threat from Confederate privateers, some of whom continued their pursuit even after the end of the Civil War, and were thus reclassified as pirates.
In an effort to confuse the Confederate ships, the Stone Fleet was formed. Whalers carrying New England granite traveled close to Charleston, South Carolina, in an effort to block Confederate ships. The two main threats to the whalers were the Alabama and the Shenandoah, two Confederate ships that were responsible for burning and sinking many whaling vessels. The latter was one that continued after the end of the war. Many of the remaining whalers were destroyed as they cast about in the treacherous seas of the Arctic. Most of the whalers abandoned their profession, but Williams, who was from Wethersfield, Connecticut, not only carried on the whaling tradition, he brought along his family, which consisted of his wife, Eliza, and his infant son and daughter, rather than leave them behind. Songini writes of Williams's escape from the Alabama and of the rescue of lost whaling ships off the coast of Alaska.
Jessica Hathaway reviewed The Lost Fleet for the National Fisherman, writing that it is "chilling, exciting and completely engrossing." A MyShelf.com writer praised the book for its history and story of the sea. "Songini's years of research produced a book that is factual enough to suit the strictest academic, and yet thrilling enough to read like a great novel," wrote the reviewer.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
National Fisherman, January, 2008, Jessica Hathaway, review of The Lost Fleet: A Yankee Whaler's Struggle against the Confederate Navy and Arctic Disaster, p. 5.
MyShelf.com,http://www.myshelf.com/ (February 21, 2008), review of The Lost Fleet.