The Admiral and the Ambassador

The Admiral and the Ambassador
The Admiral and the Ambassador

The Admiral and the Ambassador

One Man's Obsessive Search for the Body of John Paul Jones
By Scott Martelle


288 Pages, 6 x 9

Formats: Cloth, EPUB, Mobipocket, PDF

Cloth, $26.95 (US $26.95) (CA $31.95)

ISBN 9781613747308

Rights: WOR X UK, AU, NZ & IE

Chicago Review Press (May 2014)


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On July 20, 1792, the body of Admiral John Paul Jones, Father of the American Navy, was buried in the Saint LouisCemetery on the outskirts of Paris. As the French Revolution was gathering steam, the unmarked location of Jones's grave was nobody's primary concern. And though the admiral was not forgotten to history, in time he was certainly lost beneath the soil in the City of Light. Luckily, Jones had been sealed in a lead-lined coffin filled with alcohol to preserve the body. In theory, if somebody could locate that coffin, Jones could be returned to the United States for a proper burial.       That somebody was Horace Porter, Civil War hero, aide to General (and later President) Ulysses S. Grant, Republican Party fundraiser, and US ambassador to France from 1897 to 1905. Porter had been a driving force in the creation of Grant's Tomb, and he developed a similar sense of duty regarding the final interment of John Paul Jones. The Admiral and the Ambassador details Porter's long, relentless search for the lead-lined coffin, first through scraps of archive material and written recollections of funeral attendees, and then beneath the rickety buildings that had been constructed over what Porter believed to be the graveyard.  Part history, part biography, and part detective story, The Admiral and the Ambassador is a fascinating look into the compelling real-life characters who populated the first century of the United States of America.


"Well-written and well-researched narrative."  —Publishers Weekly

"Part detective story, part Indiana Jones, Martelle takes readers on a splendid and sometimes macabre journey. . . ." —Matthew Algeo, author of Harry Truman's Excellent Adventure

"A delightfully creative slice of the American history pie." —Dean King, author of Skeletons on the Zahara and Patrick O'Brian: A Life

"[A] fascinating history. . . ." —Nicholas Nicastro, author of The Eighteenth Captain: A Novel of John Paul Jones

"Martelle's account of the efforts to find Jones' body and of the man chiefly responsible for it, is fascinating and thorough.  He manages to incorporate many interesting anecdotes and historical details along the way, all of which add color and texture to the tale, and it's a tale worth reading." —What Would the Founders Think

"[Martelle] effectively connects the dots between Jones' naval career and somewhat star-crossed life and Porter's solid military and political accomplishments. Using a "flashback"-type writing style, Martelle skillfully manages to introduce the reader to both men, giving us an understanding of each others' strengths, weaknesses, and major life events." —Cannonball

"Really enjoyed the Hell out of this book. A fine read for history buffs and lovers of a good political mystery." —The Mystery Spot

"[W]hat we have is newspaper reporter Scott Martelle's compact slice of American history wrapped in what newspaper editors like to describe as: "A darn good yarn." That's editor shorthand for an insignificant story that is highly entertaining - a good read." —Buffalo News

Author Biography

Veteran journalist Scott Martelle is theauthor of Detroit: A Biography, The Fear Within, and Blood Passion and currently writes for the Los Angeles Times.