Voyage of Mercy selected as Milton Reads 2020
Voyage of Mercy, by Stephen Puleo, is Milton Library’s selection for Milton Reads 2020. Now in
its tenth year, the town-wide reading initiative creates a shared cultural activity by exploring one book together as a community. This year, the Milton Public Library is excited to partner with the Forbes House Museum to create an even deeper Milton Reads experience.
Virtual programs and events begin in May and will continue throughout the year, starting on
Monday, May 12 at 6:30 p.m. with an online book discussion led by Library Director Will
Adamczyk, and followed by an online event on Wednesday, May 20 at 7:00 p.m. with Stephen Puleo, the award-winning historian and author of popular histories, such as Dark Tide, about Boston’s tragic molasses disaster in 1919.
Voyage of Mercy: the USS Jamestown, the Irish Famine, and the Remarkable Story of America’s
First Humanitarian Mission, is a compelling story of tragedy, initiative, generosity, and hope.
And it is a story with a strong connection to the town of Milton.
“This engaging book describes how shipping magnate Robert Bennet Forbes of Milton
harnessed his wealth and influence to provide humanitarian support to Ireland during the Great
Hunger, the famine in 1847,” explains Library Director Will Adamczyk. “In selecting Voyage of
Mercy, Milton Reads looks forward to bringing the community together in conversation about
the themes of this story, which are still relevant today.”
Voyage of Mercy tells how the American warship USS Jamestown, stripped of its weapons,
sailed from Boston in March 1847 with food, clothing and supplies for the people of Cork,
Ireland. The mission became America’s first international relief, establishing an everlasting
connection between Boston and Ireland and spawning a commitment to national generosity
and humanitarian outreach.
“The Milton Reads initiative and Puleo’s inspiring story seem particularly suited to the time we
find ourselves in right now. We hope that the virtual programs we’ve planned with the library
will help the community connect with one another in a meaningful way despite our physical
distancing,” says Forbes House Executive Director Heidi Vaughan.
Electronic editions of Voyage of Mercy are available now, and hard copies of the book will be
available to check out when the Milton Library reopens, or in the interim, through an online
Milton Reads 2020 is sponsored by Friends of the Milton Library.