Commander C. Douglas Kroll, USN
(ret.) is an assistant professor of history at the College of the Desert. A graduate of the Coast Guard Academy and former
Coast Guard officer, he later served in the U.S. Navy as a chaplain, retiring as a commander in the Naval Reserve. Kroll is
the author of numerous articles dealing with Coast Guard and naval history.
C. Douglas Kroll is the author of Commodore Ellsworth P. Bertholf: First Commandant
of the Coast Guard, Friends in Peace and War: The Russian Navy's Landmark Visit to Civil War
San Francisco; and, A history of Navy chaplains serving with the U.S. Coast Guard.
According to the book description of
Commodore Ellsworth P. Bertholf: First Commandant of the Coast Guard, “When young Ellsworth
P. Bertholf was court-martialed and dismissed from the Naval Academy for a hazing incident in 1883, no one could have predicted
his future greatness. Undaunted by the experience, Bertholf pursued a career in the U.S. Revenue Cutter Service, earning a
special gold medal from Congress in 1902 for his role in a dramatic relief expedition in Alaska to rescue trapped whalers.
By 1915 he had bypassed 22 officers senior to him to become the first commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard and went on to successfully
steer his fledgling service through the trials of WWI. This biography of the man known as "the savior of the Coast Guard"
offers a revealing portrait not only of Bertholf but also of the last years of the Revenue Cutter and Life-Saving services
and the formative years of the Coast Guard.”
According to the book description
of Friends in Peace and War: The Russian Navy's Landmark Visit to Civil War San Francisco, “Great
friendship existed between the United States and Imperial Russia during the nineteenth century. The Old World Russian autocracy
supported the young New World democracy because of the emerging U.S. role as a bulwark against Great Britain’s ambitions,
in Asia and in the North Pacific Ocean region especially. In fact, when the American Civil War threatened to divide the United
States, Russia alone among the European great powers gave no aid or comfort to the seceding states.
The surprise 1863 arrival of squadrons of Russian warships
and thousands of Russian sailors in New York and San Francisco proved fortuitous, coming when the Union feared British and
French intervention on the Confederacy’s behalf. C. Douglas Kroll, using both Russian and U.S. documents, investigates
why the Russian Pacific Squadron came to San Francisco, a port of departure for California and Nevada gold headed east; what
happened during its nearly year-long visit; and how its presence influenced events. With the units of the U.S. Navy’s
small Pacific Squadron widely dispersed and Confederate commerce raiders on the loose, the Russians’ arrival suggested
to on-lookers that they intended to defend the Union against interference.
Whether actively supporting the Union or training and refitting or both, the Russian
officers and sailors endeared themselves to San Francisco’s citizens. Parades and balls, as well as dinners hosted by
both sides, helped San Franciscans overlook the various differences they had with their Russian visitors. Kroll gives us a
thorough examination of the Russians’ visit and its social, diplomatic, and military impact.”