Last Flag Down: The Epic Journey of the Last Confederate Warship
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Last Flag Down: The Epic Journey of the Last Confederate Warship

3.76 of 5 stars 3.76  ·  rating details  ·  157 ratings  ·  35 reviews
As the Confederacy felt itself slipping beneath the Union juggernaut in late 1864, the South launched a desperate counteroffensive to shatter the U.S. economy and force a standoff. Its secret weapon? A state-of-the-art raiding ship whose mission was to prowl the world’s oceans and sink the U.S. merchant fleet. The raider’s name was Shenandoah, and her executive officer was...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published May 6th 2008 by Broadway Books (first published 2007)
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So if you think the causes, events, and consequences of the American Civil War can be summed up in a few words, you might do some reading to dispel that notion before reading this book. Or maybe this book might help show you it's not so simple. It surprised me to read this detailed account and to learn just when and where the last shots of the Civil War were fired.

It's a fascinating read. You almost feel like you are in the head and heart of First Lieutenant Conway Whittle - the Shenandoah's exe...more
Kathy Brown
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. What an adventure... and a remarkable voyage. The book is told from the point of view of the ship's Executive Officer, and is liberally sprinkled with quotes from his log. We just can't appreciate, in the 21st century, the risks and hardships of life on the sea in the 1860's. The loneliness must have been nearly unbearable! Highly recommended.
The last shot of the War Between the States was fired by the C.S.S. Shenandoah in the Bering Strait between Siberia and the Russian colony of Alaska. When the officers searched the last ship, they discovered newspapers indicating that the war was going so badly that it may have ended. They didn't know. They hadn't landed in months. Avoiding U.S. naval ships, they cruised several thousand miles to get news from ships leaving San Fransisco. Off the coast of Mexico, in August 1865, they found out t...more
Robert Tupper
Dec 31, 2007 Robert Tupper rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Naval History Fans
Shelves: the-new-shelf
Lots of deep detail concerning a mostly unknown detail concerning the American civil war. Well paced for a book of its type and not weighted down by too much detail, nice ballance.
By 1864, the tide of the Civil War was turning in favor of the Union and the Confederacy, in an effort to break the blockade of southern ports and to attack Union merchant ships, commissioned some state-of-the-art ships in England and set them loose on the high seas. This book is the story of the Shenandoah, which sailed around the world, captured and destroyed dozens of Union merchant and whaling ships, and took over 1,000 prisoners. Unfortunately, the captain and crew discovered in August 1965...more
This book recounts the exploits of the last confederate warship. The ship was purchased in a British shipping yard a year before the surrender of the Confederate States. We follow the adventures of the ship and crew, as recorded in the diary of 24-year-old executive officer Conway Whittle, as it travels the world sinking Yankee ships and impressing sailors from all nations into its unhappy crew. Conway Whittle, de facto leader of the ship and its mission, has to contend with more than waves and...more
I saw this on the discount books shelf at a big discount store, actually, which I was browsing while Laini was looking at clothes. I restrained myself from buying a copy, knowing I would likely only read it once, but I was interested in reading about the exploits of the CSS Shanendoah ever since I read the chapter about the Confederate campaign against Yankee whaling ships in the Pacific (in the non-fiction history titled Leviathan).

Anyway, I decided to stop by Peoria Public Library to pick up t...more
But what diplomacy! And what intelligence! Holding the fabric of British neutrality together virtually with their bare hands, tough, resourceful, and utterly inexhaustible as they were different form each other. They arrived separately in Great Britain in 1861, each appointed by Abraham Lincoln.” (5) [Prince Albert and the Confederacy] [CSS Nashville] “Thus CSS Shenandoah, even as she basked triumphantly in the cheering hospitality of Australia, a respected emissary of a noble land, was now unkn...more
Mike Gottert
Based primarily on the journal kept by the Executive Officer, Conway Whittle, it documents the Shenandoah's 58,000 mile journey from England to the Bering Sea and back. During the journey the ship captured 40 Federal merchant and whaling ships, burning most of them. What makes the story all the more interesting is that most of the ships were taken after the war ended. The crew was unaware of the war's end until August of 1865, several months too late. Once they found out the war had ended they s...more
I read this book right after reading Manhunt. Two civil war era books in a row gave me some much needed perspective on that time. Last Flag Down was a great read for me. It's the retelling of the story of the last Confederate warship. The fascinating bit is that it set sail from England, and continued to make war on merchant ships well after the Civil War ended. The story of the ship, which became the second most successful war ship in history, was great, and the telling of the battle between th...more
This was a pretty good book that petered out in the last 100 pages. It's about Civil War naval history (something I didn't know much about beyond the Monitor and the Merrimac). Turns out the South tried a last-ditch effort to cripple the North's economy by sinking whaling ships in the North Pacific (that's right, the Pacific). The book is mostly derived from the ship's Executive Officer, a 24 year-old named Conroy Whittle. It's a good read, but gets repetitive when the CSS Shenandoah is on a sh...more
Mark Linehan
I am lucky enough to have gotten my hands on an advanced reader's edition of this book, and I have to say it is very enjoyable. If you found yourself intrigued by the story of the Japanese soldier found in the Pacific in the '60s who refused to believe the war was over, you will love the story of a whole crew who found out the Civil War was over four months after Lincoln had died. It is a very quick read and it feels like a Patrick O'Brian book with a touch of Mutiny on the Bounty. For any Civil...more
Excellent naval history. This is the story of the First Lieutenant on a Confederate Warship. Her mission was to journey to the Arctic Circle and destroy as much of the New England whaling fleet as possible. While the boats brave sailors battled the elements and Yankee spies, the Confederacy lost the war. Of course, communication being what it was in the 19th century, the commanders and crew of the ship didn't find out for months that their cause was lost. This was an amazing tale of bravery, hon...more
Michael Terpstra
This book kept my interest primarily because of my fascination with ocean voyages. The Confederate War Ship, Shenandoah adventures at the end of the American Civil War included a stop for water and provisions on the Micronesian island of Pohnpei (Old name Ponape). I grew up on this island and am a history buff of Micronesian History.
A very informative book about the struggles of a wooden ship using steam and wind to travel around the world during the last days of the Civil War. This is a true account and one really feels what the crew and captain are going through each day. At first I wasn't sure I would like this book, but I really enjoyed it.
From a historical fact perspective, it's very interesting. I had no prior knowledge of this ship or it's voyage. However, it drug for the last 100 pages and personally I feel the summary is more interesting than the details. A good read if you're a history nerd, otherwise you should pass.
As the author of "Mark Twain - A Biography" I wasn't expecting this adventure from Ron Powers. But, the timeframe is the same, and I shouldn't have been surprised!

An excellent read, I was captured immediately by the circumstances and the character of Conrad Whittle. What a guy!
Story of one of the last Confederate warships that patrolled the seas trying to sink Yankee ships, only problem being that they kept doing this long after the Civil War ended (they didn't find out until after the fact). Pretty entertaining. I like the Maritime history stuff.
Great book that was well written and easy to follow. I enjoyed it a lot. It was very interesting to read what happened to the last Confederate warship. The last 150 or so pages really pick up and it goes by quick.

I recommend to anyone interested in history.
Rousing story of the Confederate raider the CSS Shenandoah and how the Union navy could not catch her. Makes you wonder how the Confederacy lost the war.
Morris Massre
This was by far an absolutely dreadful read. It simply tracked a Confederate ship across the world as the Rebels never encountered a single battle.
Michael J
great book! based on the log book of the first mate of the last confederate navy ship. kinda slow in parts, but definitely worth it.
A well written history book. Plenty of action that if I had not known I would have thought it was a good piece of fiction.
Listened to this one. A log-book based account of the Civil War in other parts of the world. Good for the road.
A good read on the Confederate Warship Shenandoah. The last ship to fly the flag of the Confederacy.
Hugh Deburgh
An epic adventure around the globe with the Confederacy's military precursor to WWII's U-Boat.
May 07, 2012 Cindy marked it as to-read
Shelves: history, civil-war
I tried this one, but just couldn't get into it for some reason. I'll give it another try later.
An interesting part of history I knew nothing about. It does get long in parts.
Clay Davis
A great book about a ship and it's mission. Excellant detail makes for riviting reading.
Ben Rothman
Boring. Essentially a captain's log with commentary that states the obvious.
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