The Double Escape is ...
        ... the title of a sea story never before published and now printed for The Laureate Press in Albany,New York by Michael Russem at Kat Ran Press. The War of 1812 has few action narratives, especially ones produced by non-combatants caught up in an unwelcome conflict at sea. Dr. David Hodgdon, a historian and a descendant of the story’s 19th century author has researched the events at sea off the New Jersey coast in the winter of 1813; official records reproduced in the new book were compiled from maritime archives in the U.S. and in England, these have been added to the local documentary evidence substantiating the capture of the Salem boat Fox,whose master Samuel Hodgdon, left an epistolary record of his coasting voyage to Philadelphia. The letters are part of the Willard Peele Papers now in the Phillips Library of the Peabody Essex Museum.
        The result is a casebook for enlarging and balancing our view of a distant and obscure conflict,one which in a few years will observe a bicentennial that will undoubtedly replay the signature roles of the USS Constitution and Constellation. The distance between 1812 and 2012 is hardly measurable and this new book should help demonstrate why this is the case. Elements of archaic and modern warfare seem to combine in grotesque pairings:captured officers of an increasingly belligerent Royal Navy walk the streets of Philadelphia “on parole”,ships of all flags are captured by the ubiquitous British blockade squadrons. Some were burned, some released for ransom, a few escaped. For one, the Fox, new rules of salvage are invoked to compensate American seamen of an unsteady fledgling republic. Even in this workingman’s view, the country seems paralyzed by a barely comprehensible aggression, a volatile love-hate embrace that threatened to extinguish its economic life.
        The edition of 60 copies is a letterpressed text on Zerkall paper with Baskerville types from Michael and Winifred Bixler. The text is complemented by 14 line drawings by David Hodgdon depicting life at sea during the closing years of the Napoleonic wars; Oxbow Press has produced 12 offset reproductions of archival documents supporting the short story. Lisa Van Pelt has bound the edition with Hahnemühle Bugra paper over boards and slipcased the 10 x 15” folio edition. Each copy is available for $650 post paid.