The Last Shot

Written by Lynn Schooler
Review by John R. Vallely

Most readers of Civil War fiction are surprised when novels dealing with naval operations touch on something other than ironclads dueling on America’s rivers or around forts guarding harbors. Students of the conflict know that Confederate commerce raiders (frequently built in British shipyards) preyed on Northern merchant shipping in most of the world’s oceans. While the Alabama is the most famous, the raider Shenandoah waged a relentless campaign against the Union. She traveled some 58,000 miles and destroyed the New England whaling industry by taking 38 ships. Schooler has produced a lucid and authoritative account of a largely unknown aspect of Civil War naval history that rivals the best fiction for drama and adventure.