William McFee


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born in London, was educated in England, and, following the family tradition, became a ship's engineer. His experiences furnished the material for Letters from an Ocean Tramp (1908, revised 1921). In 1911 he entered the American merchant marine and established his home in the U.S., although in World War I he served in the British navy. After the war he returned to the U.S. (1922), became an American citizen (1925), and settled at Westport, Conn. His novels include Aliens (1914, revised 1918), set in New Jersey, about British ships' officers and their families; Casuals of the Sea (1916), concerning a London family and its aimless struggles; Captain Macedoine's Daughter (1920), an adventure story with a Mediterranean setting, showing McFee's indebtedness to Joseph Conrad; Command (1922), about a ship's officer who is a nonentity until war experiences bring him self-knowledge and authority; Race (1924), portraying middle-class London life in the late 19th century; Pilgrims of Adversity (1928), an adventure novel set in Central and South America; North of Suez (1930), a romantic novel of the Near East; The Harbourmaster (1931), an exotic tale set in Salonika and South America; and No Castle in Spain (1933), a romance contrasting modern American standards with the traditions of a South American aristocrat. Harbours of Memory (1921) and More Harbours of Memory (1934) are sketches on travel and life at sea. In the First Watch (1946) is an account of McFee's early days on tramp steamers.

Subjects: Literature.

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