Posted:  Nov. 26, 2014

The Admiral and the Ambassador: One Man's Obsessive Search for the Body of John Paul JonesAs the French Revolution gathered steam, the exact location of Jones’s grave—and, in fact, the exact location of St. Louis cemetery in Paris, where he was buried in 1792—was forgotten: information on his death and burial were destroyed in the Paris Commune and the few who had attended his burial had passed away. His body had, though, been preserved in a lead-lined coffin filled with alcohol; theoretically, if the coffin could be located, Jones could be returned to the United States for proper burial. The Admiral and the Ambassador details Porter’s long, unrelenting search for that coffin, first through scraps of archive material and written recollections of funeral attendees, and then beneath the rickety buildings that had been constructed over what he believed to be the graveyard. This book, the only full-length account of the search for and discovery of John Paul Jones’s body, offers a fascinating look into the charismatic, real-life characters who populated the first century of the United States of America.


This is a different kind of history book. One that takes you from the Revolution about the life and exploits of John Paul Jones, through the civil war from what Horace Porter did working with General Grant, to when Porter is named Ambassador to France by President McKinley. Realizing that John Paul Jones, is buried somewhere in Paris, and should be brought back to the United States. Porter searches for the grave and works on bringing his remains back to the U.S. Mr. Martelle, does an excellent job in telling the story of each man and their place in our history which is forgotten, as well as telling the early history of the U.S. Navy history also. All of this makes for a fantastic story that is a detective story at times. A detective story about history or our lost history. He then takes you to where the remains of John Paul Jones, finally ends up at the Naval academy the rightful place. Though I got the feeling that they did not that either. A great book about two men who put more than a foot print on our history but I am sad to say are forgotten. A very good book. I got this book from net galley.

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