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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Jacqline Barnes, (410) 295-1028, jbarnes@usni.org

“Christopher McKee has written another splendid book on the


military personnel in the nineteenth-century U.S. Navy…. Chock full
of fascinating anecdotes and character sketches, this is a must read for
anyone interested in the history of the United States Navy.”
—Joseph T. Glatthaar, Stephenson Distinguished Professor of
History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and
author of American Military: A Concise History

Ungentle Goodnights uses the records of the United States Naval


Asylum (later the United States Naval Home), a residence for
disabled and elderly sailors and Marines established by the U.S.
government, to recover the lives of the 541 men who were
admitted there as lifetime residents between 1831 and 1866. The
records of the Naval Asylum are an especially rich source for
discovering these lower-deck lives because would-be residents
were required to submit summaries of their naval careers as part of
the admission process. Using these and related records, published
and manuscript, it is possible to reconstruct the veterans' lives from
their teenage years (and sometimes earlier) until their deaths. Previous historians who have written
about the pre-Civil War naval enlisted force have depended on published nineteenth-century sailor
and Marine autobiographies, which may not accurately reflect the realities of enlisted life. Ungentle
Goodnights seeks to discover the life experiences of real Marines and naval sailors, not a few of
whom were misbehaving, crafty, and engaging individuals who feature prominently in the book.

CHRISTOPHER MCKEE is Samuel R. and Marie-Louise Rosenthal Professor Emeritus at


Grinnell College. He is the author of Edward Preble: A Naval Biography, 1761–1807, and A
Gentlemanly and Honorable Profession: The Creation of the U. S. Naval Officer Corps, 1794–1815,
and of Sober Men and True: Sailor Lives in the Royal Navy, 1900–1945. Now a scholar-in-residence
at the Newberry Library (Chicago), McKee continues to research and write about the lives and
experiences of individuals serving in naval forces.

NAVAL INSTITUTE PRESS


Publication date: 1 November 2018
Veterans/Military Life | 352 pp.
Hardcover & eBook: $34.95
ISBN: 978-1-59114-573-8
6.125 x 9.25 in
www.usni.org