07/21/2015 12:00:00 pm
The United States Navy Memorial’s “Authors on Deck” book lecture series proudly welcomes John Grady as he presents his new book Matthew Fontaine Maury, Father of Oceanography (McFarland, 2015).
Matthew Fontaine Maury was a key, if controversial, figure in American naval history. Maury championed many political causes throughout his career, ranging from righting the ills of a clique-ridden Navy establishment to forcefully advocating for Southern rights before and during the American Civil War. However, it is his work charting sea lanes for which he is remembered as the “Father of Oceanography.” He bested Great Britain’s admiralty in securing the fastest, safest routes to India and Australia and helped connect the Americas and Europe with the first transatlantic telegraph cable.
During the Civil War, Maury served in the Confederate Navy as the Chief of Sea Coast, River, and Harbor Defenses. While he ran afoul of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Secretary of the Confederate Navy Stephen Mallory on more than one occasion, Maury proved himself a competent international diplomat and invaluable inventor; he perfected the “electric torpedo”, similar to a modern contact mine, during the war and thus wreaked havoc on Union ships. His complex and enduring legacy is carefully explored in John Grady’s new biography.
Following the presentation, Grady will be available for a Q&A session and book signing.
Cost: Free and open to the public
John Grady served as managing editor of Navy Times and has been published in Naval History, the New York Times’ Disunion series, the Times’ collection of essays on the Civil War and the Civil War Monitor’s Front Line. He is a contributor to the Naval History and Heritage Command’s Civil War blog and lives in Fairfax, Virginia.