Brigham’s books all have to do with maritime culture, which might be defined as the whole environment of human activity on and close to the sea. He writes of noble vessels and remarkable individuals sailing them into heroic ventures. But he is also intrigued by sea forces influencing art, letters and even music. In one book, The Stream I Go A-Fishing In, a young ship’s fiddler, after his schooner is sunk under him in a gale, plays he way to eminence as a concert violinist. In another, On Opposite Tacks, Brigham looks at the parallel, but profoundly different, careers of an entrepreneurial fishing captain and an emerging master of American art. In yet another, Gloucester’s Bargain with the Sea, he examines the role that romanticized sea tales played in attracting a brilliant set of artists and writers to a Massachusetts port. In his most recent work, Phoenix of the Seas, the ship itself is a work of art, created at a high point of vessel design and workmanship, and invested with survival qualities that have seen it into its third century. The action-filled life of the seaman and the contemplative spirit of the artist: they present a stark contrast. The interactions between the two are endlessly revealing.