I first read James Fenimore Cooper’s novel “The Water Witch” when I was an early teenager in the early 1950’s; I do not remember it being called “The Skimmer of the Seas”. My parents owned a power boat named “Water Witch”, and when I asked my father where he got the name, he told me about Cooper’s novel of the same name, and said it was set around the Sandy Hook, NJ, New York Harbor, the East River and Long Island Sound, NY areas and suggested I read it. My parents and forebears were from that NJ area and by my teens, I had also become quite familiar with it. The first third, perhaps half, of the book is mostly character development and locale introduction. The novel was written in 1830 and is set in the pre-Revolutionary War 1700’s. What surprised me the most about this Amazon version was the use of the French language in the conversations and directions between the Dutch characters, their servants, and slaves. I do not recall any of that in the version I read and had not then taken any French in school. I do remember thinking it was not an easy read! This time it was much easier.
Once you get through that first 1/3 the story becomes an interesting tale of the Dutch NY inhabitants, sailors, & smugglers of the area, and their thought processes. I enjoyed reading the tale again but might suggest that readers with little knowledge of wooden ships and sailing may find the nautical settings, terms and descriptions hard to follow. I also believe it may be most interesting to those who have knowledge of the area of the story.
Interestingly, although Cooper set the novel in the mid-late 1700’s, the inlet across “the Hook” that the “Water Witch” of the tale describes, was open from about 1756- 1777/8 but did not open to Sandy Hook Bay, only to the Navesink and Shrewsbury Rivers; it was known as the Shrewsbury Inlet. After a storm in 1777/8 the inlet cut further across the hook, as described, into Sandy Hook Bay; this second cut became known as the Sandy Hook Inlet. Both inlets were too shallow for war ships on ‘smuggler patrol’ and was only usable at flood, full moon, tides. It was variously open and closed by storms until about 1900 when it finally closed and Sandy Hook became the topography we know today.
(NOTE: My dating of the Shrewsbury and Sandy Hook inlets Opening and Closings is from George H. Moss Jr.s’ book Nauvoo to the Hook, Jervey Close Press, Locust, NJ.
- 语种： 英语
- ISBN: 1406577502
- 条形码: 9781406577501
- 商品尺寸: 15.2 x 2.4 x 22.9 cm
- 商品重量: 608 g
- ASIN: 1406577502
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