Against great odds, a small group of patriots built a fleet that proved one of the decisive factors in the American Revolution and the War of 1812. These wealthy men had founded the first banks in the United States and built its first railroads, factories, and steamships. Now, they were to cap their achievements by making their young country equally superior in size, and in the process, producing the greatest, swiftest, and most beautiful craft the world had ever seen - the clipper ship. This book not only traces the origins and achievements of the clipper but enlivens the dry bones of historic fact with the flesh and blood of clipper captains and crews. A great era comes to life with their courageous, tenacious stories.