Join us Wednesday, March 1 at noon for Blue Bicycle Books Charleston Author Series luncheon at High Cotton, with renowned Professor of History, A. Roger Ekirch discussing latest book, American Sanctuary: Mutiny, Martyrdom, and National Identity in the Age of Revolution.
Ekirch is an award-winning author, a former Guggenheim Fellow and a Professor of History at Virginia Tech.
Charleston, South Carolina is where everything begins as Ekirch revisits a little-remembered incident, the murderous 1797 mutiny aboard HMS Hermione, and traces its startling ramifications.
- Luncheon Only: $31 for the three-course luncheon and discussion
- Luncheon Plus Signed Book: $61 includes the luncheon and a signed, hardcover copy of American Sanctuary
- Luncheon-For-Two Plus One Signed Book: $92 includes the luncheon for two plus one, signed, hardcover copy of American Sanctuary
ABOUT THE BOOK:
(Kirkus Review) Against the backdrop of revolutions worldwide, the Royal Navy vowed to hunt down the perpetrators of an unprecedented barbarity. Apprehended in Charleston, South Carolina, Jonathan Robbins, a ringleader in Hermiones bloody business, was surrendered to the Royal Navy at the urging of Secretary of State Thomas Pickering, with the agreement of President John Adams and the grudging acquiescence of a federal judge.
Subsequently hanged, Robbins became among the more unlikely martyrs in American history. A wedge issue avant la lettre, the extradition and execution of Robbins heightened the differences between the Republicans and Federalists in the 1800 presidential election, helped expose divisions within the Federalist Party itself, and perhaps accounted for Thomas Jeffersons razor-thin margin of victory.
Was Robbins, as supporters claimed, a Connecticut native, conscripted aboard a marauding British frigate captained by a despot? Robbins struck a blow for liberty, Republicans insisted, and then was denied due process and a jury trial.
Or was he, as Federalists argued, really Irish, a British subject whose monstrous crimes required his surrender under the terms of the pertinent, if highly controversial, Jay Treaty of 1795?
Ekirch covers the mutiny in all its drunken, gory excess, tracks the worldwide hunt and capture of some of the perpetrators, and then offers a masterful dissection of the political consequences of the Robbins affair. The author is especially good on how the debate played out in the pages of the eras highly partisan press.
Careful to remind us that other issues figured prominently and contributed mightily to the vitriolic 1800 campaign, Ekirch never-the-less persuasively argues that the ghost of Robbins likely tipped the balance in Pennsylvania and New York.
The Robbins controversy featured arguments about alien rights, asylum, national identity, and the meaning and scope of American citizenship, all of which persist and all of which Ekirch handles with remarkable dexterity.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
A. Roger Ekirch is an award-winning author, a former Guggenheim Fellow, and a professor of history at Virginia Tech. He took his A.B. from Dartmouth College and his M.A. and Ph.D. at Johns Hopkins University. He was the inaugural Paul Mellon Fellow in History at Cambridge University and a Fellow Commoner at Peterhouse.
His path-breaking work on the history of segmented sleep, published in "At Day's Close: Night in Times Past," has revamped traditional assumptions about normal human slumber. With far-reaching implications for the study of modern sleep disorders, his writing has appeared in the "New York Times," "Harpers Magazine," the "International Herald Tribune" and the "Wall Street Journal," for which he is a regular book reviewer.
A frequent keynote speaker, Professor Ekirch has been interviewed on the BBC, CBC, Morning Edition, Talk of the Nation, On Point, and Weekend Edition, as well as on Book TV, The History Channel, PBS's Points of View, Canadian Public Television, and the BBC's "One Show."
Doors open at 11:30 a.m. and lunch is served promptly at noon. Limited seating provides an intimate experience with the author. There is a cash bar for your enjoyment.
High Cotton is located at 199 East Bay Street, where the luncheon and discussion will take place. Parking is available at the Cumberland Street Garage, other municipal lots or at meters on the street.