Form and Content

(Critical Edition of Young Adult Fiction)

For young readers, Jean Lee Latham’s Anchor’s Aweigh: The Story of David Glasgow Farragut is an engaging narrative of a Tennessee boy’s romantic love of the Navy, his training toward leadership, and the Civil War actions at New Orleans and Mobile Bay that made him a national hero. Latham’s twenty-two chapters are organized chronologically to carry Farragut (or “Glasgow,” as he was called by his ship-mates) from his boyhood through his post-Civil War years as the recipient of national and international honors for his nautical skill and his intrepidity. Each chapter is opened by one of Eros Keith’s black-and-white ship illustrations, indicative of the Navy’s progress from sail to combined sail to steam paddlewheelers to ironclads. In addition, there are five half-page or full page maps, also by Keith, that are charming as well as useful.

In general, Latham follows the historical record of Farragut’s career faithfully, particularly when dealing with the recruitment and training methods of the pre-Civil War Navy and with the critical naval actions against Confederate forces at New Orleans, on the Mississippi River, and at Mobile Bay. While there are descriptive passages, much of the story is carried by smooth-flowing and engaging dialogue. Indeed, Latham’s dialogue is one of the mainstays of her storytelling. Before writing the scores of stories for young readers for which she became so well known and honored, she was for many...

(The entire section is 451 words.)