Raymond Starr, Book Review Editor
Gunpowder and Canvas.
By Justin M. Ruhge. Goleta, CA: Quantum Imaging Associates, 1987. Maps. Illustrations. Tables. Bibliography. No consecutive Pagination. $25.00 Paperbound.
This is a large and a long book which presents a wide range of topics on maritime and coastal matters focusing on the Santa Barbara-Goleta coast of California. The book does not feature a unified treatment with a central theme or thesis, but rather is a collection of bits and pieces. It contains a tremendous amount of information, but does not tell a very coherent story. A list of chapter topics will show the range of information: Spanish explorers, the coast as a destination for sailing vessels, El Castillo, shipwrecks, Goleta Slough, ship construction, surf, the Goleta anchor, origins of Chumash plank boats, shore whaling at Goleta, Jose Maria Narvaez, the story of the Eagle, the Goleta cannon, the folk story of Canon Perdido and Drake in California. Appendices include cannon characteristics and treatment of the anchor and cannons for conservation. The bibliography is long, but does not contain Harry Kelsey’s biography of Cabrillo published in 1986, or a number of pertinent articles by W. Michael Mathes. This is certainly a book which belongs in every maritime library, and every general library collecting materials on the central California coast. In addition, it will have tremendous appeal to “buffs” who like cannons, ships, shipwrecks, and related matters.