The technological marvel that first enabled trade between China and the U.S., the clipper ship, knit together two nations for centuries to come. In “Barons of the Sea – And Their Race to Build the World's Fastest Clipper Ship,” the nautical historian Steven Ujifusa chronicles its invention and the fortunes it brought to both nations as result. The clipper ship would prove the first major step in a long-standing and tumultuous trade relationship between the U.S. and China. How did the clipper ship propel a golden age of maritime commerce? And who were the daredevils and shrewd businessmen at the forefront of this period of great technological innovation? Join us for a conversation with the nautical historian Steven Ujifusa, author of the “Barons of the Sea” and former US Ambassador and President of Asia Society, Nicholas Platt.
Steven Ujifusa is a historian and a resident of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His second book, Barons of the Sea: And Their Race to Build the World's Fastest Clipper Ship, tells the saga the great 19th century American clipper ships and the Yankee merchant dynasties they created. For this project, he was the recipient of a 7-week writing fellowship from the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire. In 2012, The Wall Street Journal named his first book “A Man and His Ship: America's Greatest Naval Architect and His Quest to Build the SS United States” (Simon & Schuster) as one of the 10 best nonfiction books of the year. He has appeared on National Public Radio, CBS Sunday Morning, and numerous other media outlets. He is a frequent contributor to the urban history website PhillyHistory.org.
Ambassador Nicholas Platt serves as President Emeritus of Asia Society. Ambassador Platt joined the Asia Society as its fifth president in 1992 after a thirty four-year career as an American diplomat in Asia. With consular postings in Hong Kong, China and Japan, Ambassador Platt’s diplomatic career culminated with his service as US Ambassador to the Philippines (1987-1991) and Pakistan (1991-1992). He is a Member of the New York Council on Foreign Relations, a Director of Fiduciary Trust Company International and a Member of the International Advisory Board of the Financial Times.