As Britain became a dominant sailing empire during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, her ships were manned in part by impressment. The stories of the impressed men, who were forced to serve on ships against their will, have often been neglected. This book provides an historical overview of the practice, in which naval officers oversaw a press gang that abducted both British and American citizens, particularly during times of war, and held them captive until they were sent to sea as unwilling sailors. The personal accounts of thirteen men are provided, most of whom were impressed into the British Navy, but some onto pirate ships. A chapter on Dartmoor Prison is also included, an institution which held thousands of impressed Americans during the War of 1812. The book also includes prints of sailor outfits, ships of the time, and sea battles.
Jean Choate teaches history at the College of Coastal Georgia. She has written two previous books, one on farmers during the Depression, the other on Eliza Johnson, the wife of President Andrew Johnson. She lives in Brunswick, Georgia.