New England Authors – Podcasts

Books have been an important part of New England heritage since earliest times.

New England is also home to some of America’s finest authors, and they will be celebrated in this podcast series which is produced in cooperation with The Day of New London, Connecticut. 

We recently spoke with Alexander Brash about his new book A Whaler at Twilight: A True Account of Whaling and Redemption in the South Pacific.”   


At the heart of A Whaler at Twilight is the true account of an American whaler who embarked on a harrowing adventure in the South Pacific during the mid-nineteenth century in search of absolution and redemption. After the deaths of his parents, young Robert Armstrong lived with a successful uncle—a well-respected Methodist shopkeeper in bustling 1840s Baltimore—and attended the nation’s first dental school. But Armstrong threw his future away, drinking himself into oblivion. Devoured by guilt and shame, in December 1849 he sold his dental instruments, his watch, and all other possessions and signed on for a whaling voyage departing from New Bedford.

Decades later, Armstrong wrote an autobiographical account based on his travel logs, chronicling his thrilling, gritty experiences during his ten years overseas. His memoirs describe his encounters with other whalers, beachcombers, Peruvian villagers, Pacific Islanders, Maori warriors in New Zealand, cannibals on Fiji, and the impacts of American expansionism. He also recounted his struggles with drink, his quest for God, and his own redemption.

Armstrong’s gripping personal account is bookended by thoroughly researched contextual background compiled by Alexander Brash, a noted professional conservationist. Brash fills out Armstrong’s intimate and timeless tale by shedding further light on whaling and its impacts, his ancestor’s religious milieu, and the importance of marine conservation today. A Whaler at Twilight is a fascinating dive into both human morality and American history.

Alexander Brash graduated from Connecticut College and the Yale School for the Environment.  He now lives in Riverside, Connecticut.  Robert W. Armstrong was his great-great grandfather.

A Whaler at Twilight is available at local bookstores, Amazon, other online book sellers, and from the publisher Lyons Press.

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