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VOYAGE OF MERCY: The USS Jamestown, the Irish Famine, and the Remarkable Story of America’s First Humanitarian Mission (St. Martin’s Press, on-sale: March 3, 2020). Award-winning reporter Stephen Puleo details the remarkable story of the mission that inspired America to donate massive relief to Ireland during the potato famine, which sparked America’s tradition of providing humanitarian aid around the world.

More than 5,000 ships left Ireland during the great potato famine in the late 1840s, transporting the starving and the destitute away from their stricken homeland. The first vessel to sail in the other direction, to help the millions unable to escape, was the USS Jamestown, a converted warship, which left Boston in March 1847 loaded with precious food for Ireland.

In an unprecedented move by Congress, the warship had been placed in civilian hands, stripped of its guns, and committed to the peaceful delivery of food, clothing, and supplies. Boston sea captain Robert Bennet Forbes and the crew of the USS Jamestown embarked on a voyage that began a massive eighteen-month demonstration of soaring goodwill against the backdrop of unfathomable despair—one nation’s struggle to survive, and another’s effort to provide a lifeline. VOYAGE OF MERCY showcases the mission that captured hearts and minds on both sides of the Atlantic, of the wealthy and the hardscrabble poor, of poets and politicians.

In VOYAGE OF MERCY, Puleo tells the incredible story of the famine, the Jamestown voyage, and the commitment of thousands of ordinary Americans to offer relief to Ireland, an outpouring that provided the collaborative blueprint for future relief efforts, and established the United States as the leader in international aid.

Quick, compelling, and full of heart, VOYAGE OF MERCY brings a little known chapter of our home front history to life. Please let me know if you need additional galleys for consideration or would like to be connected with author Stephen Puleo.

About the Author
STEPHEN PULEO is a historian, college teacher, public speaker, and the author of six books, including Dark Tide: The Great Boston Molasses Flood of 1919 and The Caning: The Assault That Drove America to Civil War. A former award-winning newspaper reporter and contributor to American History magazine, the Boston Globe, and other publications, he holds a master's degree in history and has taught at Suffolk University in Boston. He lives in the Boston area and is available for interview.

February 2020

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