In Two Captains from Carolina, Bland Simpson twines together the lives of two accomplished nineteenth-century mariners from North Carolina–one African American, one Irish American. Though Moses Grandy (ca. 1791- ca. 1850) and John Newland Maffitt Jr. (1819-1886) never met, their stories bring to vivid life the saga of race and maritime culture in the antebellum and Civil War-era South. With his lyrical prose and inimitable voice, Bland Simpson offers readers a grand tale of the striving human spirit and the great divide that nearly sundered the nation.
In this interview on NC Bookwatch, Simpson speaks with host D.G. Martin about Two Captains from Carolina and the fascinating lives led by Grandy, former slave turned Boston abolitionist, and Maffit, a midshipman in the U.S. Navy at age thirteen turned legendary blockade runner. Simpson also explains his reasons for contrasting these two men with each other in this “nonfiction novel.” Continue Reading Video: Bland Simpson on NC Bookwatch