The Perfect Wreck

The Perfect Wreck

Steven E. Maffeo


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Naval historian Steven Maffeo has used the fiction format to give us what will probably be the finest, truest account ever of the 1812 sea battle between Constitution and Java -- in which the young American Navy demonstrated the confidence, pride, and professionalism that have served it well for over two centuries.
A highly recommended must-read for every naval enthusiast-indeed, for every American!
-- Stephen Coonts, 17-times NY Times best-selling author

December 29, 1812 - The date of one of the most dramatic sea battles in naval history. HMS Java and the USS Constitution (the famous Old Ironsides) face off in the War of 1812's most spectacular blue-water frigate action. Their separate stories begin in August 1812 -- one in England and the other in New England. Then, the tension and suspense rise, week-by-week, as the ships cruise the Atlantic, slowly and inevitably coming together for the final life-and-death climax.

The Perfect Wreck is not only the first full-length book ever written about the battle between the Constitution and the Java, it's a gem of creative nonfiction. It has the exhaustive research of a scholarly history book; but it's also beautifully presented in the form of a novel.


Steven E. Maffeo:

I'm a third-generation native of landlocked Denver, yet spent a thirty-year career in the Navy and Naval Reserve, retiring as a Captain in 2008. I also recently retired from a my position as the associate library director at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. I have a B.A. (English) from the University of Colorado, an M.A. (library science) from the University of Denver, and an M.S. (strategic intelligence) from the National Defense Intelligence College. I was an intelligence officer for most of my Navy career, culminating in commanding three reserve intelligence units ashore.

I've always been interested in the Navy and naval operations, and in particular the great age of sail has always fascinated me, ever since I saw the Marlon Brando/Trevor Howard movie of Mutiny on the Bounty when I was eight years old. And then, my mother bought me a hard-bound copy of Captain Horatio Hornblower (with that great N.C. Wyeth dust jacket) when I was in the fourth grade, and that pretty much drew me in permanently.

I'm actually not sure what first drew me to secret intelligence and thus naval intelligence...perhaps it was reading the books about Commander James Bond, written by Commander Ian Fleming.