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Episode Info: Kick back and enjoy our interview with Stephen Ujifusa, author of Barons of the Sea, and Their Race to Build the World’s Fastest Clipper Ship, which originally aired in July 2018. Stephen takes us back to an era when the fastest, most elegant ships in the world were built in the East Boston shipyard of Donald McKay. He also describes how they were used to trade for tea in China or gold in California, and how they helped America’s most prominent families amass fortunes through opium smuggling. Please check out the transcript and full show notes at: And support the show on Patreon. Clipper Ships Steven UjifusaSteven Ujifusa’s website Twitter | Facebook Buy the book from Simon and Schuster or Amazon Catch Steven at the East Boston Social Centers on July 26, 2018 for a talk and book signing, complete with sea chantey singing and a tour of Donald McKay’s house.   Boston institutions funded by the 19th century opium trade. In this 1851 map of East Boston, look for McKay’s shipyard just to the right of the “I” in Mystic River. Donald McKay McKay’s Shipyard Donald McKay’s House Flying Cloud Flying Cloud Champion of the Seas Images above via the Museum of Fine Arts: McKay, Shipyard, House, Flying Cloud, Model, Champion Boston Book Club We’ve done not one but two episodes about the 1721 smallpox inoculation controversy in Boston without reading Steven Coss’s book The Fever of 1721: The Epidemic That Revolutionized Medicine and American Politics. It promises to weave together three threads in Boston history. In 1721, Boston was wracked by a smallpox epidemic that prompted Cotton Mather and Zabadiel Boylston to begin inoculating residents against the disease using a method they used from Oneismus, who was enslaved by Mather. It was also the year when James Franklin launched a new newspaper called the New-England Courant, the first independent paper in the colonies, where his famous brother Ben would learn the publishing trade. Coss also argues that 1721 was the year when Boston’s sentiments began turning against crown government. Though it (like the book) was written in 2016, this review in American Scientist has heavy shades of America 2020: Although the book’s eponymous fever is smallpox—and smallpox does frame the events described in the book—writer and independent scholar Coss maintains that another kind of fever marks 1721 as pivotal in American history. Just as smallpox was beginning to take hold in Boston, James Franklin, elder brother of a more famous Franklin, launched the first independent newspaper in the colonies, The New-England Courant. Its emergence marked the beginning of a nascent nation’s obsession with partisan broadsheets. And thanks to the coincidence of timing, the newspaper’s editorial focus at its launch reflected deep concern...
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