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A Seaman's Book of Sea Stories [Paperback]

Desmond Fforde
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
RRP: £7.99
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Book Description

9 Nov 2009
This work contains stories that range from the Napoleonic wars, via ships that traded under sail round Cape Horn, to what it was like to take charge of a ship in convoy, serve in the fore-ends of a submarine or fly a Corsair against the Japanese. If you have seen a WW1 picture of a ship in dazzle camouflage, there is a description of how it came about, and the Dunkirk evacuation is movingly depicted. Lastly there is Uffa Fox's airborne lifeboat: a real masterpiece of design, and what a man! All profits benefit the Prostate Cancer Charity.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 354 pages
  • Publisher: Accent Press Ltd (9 Nov 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906373981
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906373986
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 13.2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 793,256 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Just the sort of book one likes to find on a yacht s bookshelf between watches... --Classic Boat Magazine

About the Author

Desmond Fforde has had a long and distinguished seafaring career. He is the cousin of Jasper Fforde and is married to Katie Fforde.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Seaman's Book of Sea Stories by Desmond Fforde 18 Nov 2009
This is a delightful paperback with a selection of the best of short British sea stories ever written, thoughtfully put together by Desmond Fforde, a retired Merchant Navy officer of 23 years. Fforde has given us a rare combination; some of the yarns are fictional and some are not, and it is this that makes the book so different. After a brief introduction the reader is plunged headlong into the world of Hornblower as a young officer, followed by a few dramatic pages from Peter Simple by Captain Marryat. The authors of the next seven stories read like a Whose Who? of the genre - F C Hendry, Captain D Bone, Nicholas Monsarrat, G Drake, Weston Martyr, Charles MacHardy and finally John Winton. The stories stretch chronologically from the war at sea against Revolutionary France in a ship of the line through to an aircraft carrier of the second world war in the Pacific. This means that the nature of the tales, the ships and the terminology change with time, but strangely not the resolute nature of the British seaman. As the notes on the back cover point out, "our ships, our sailors and tales of the sea are inextricably woven into our history, our culture and our folklore." Never a truer word was spoken.
This book is pure joy, great value, with the profits going to a deserving medical charity.

David Shannon
(former Editor 'The Nelson Dispatch')
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable for armchair sailors 29 Dec 2009
By Caroline P. VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
All profits from this book go to The Prostate Cancer Society.

A fascinating selection of tales and excerpts from seafaring literature. For myself, I felt the strongest stories were early in the book; later tales included a strange story of an eccentric genius boat-builder and a tale of flying from carriers in the Pacific in WW2. These didn't appeal to me in the same way as some of the gritty earlier tales where you could practically smell and hear the sea as you read - but your preferences may vary of course. Overall, however, a very enjoyable read for seamen, ex-seamen and anyone with a love of nautical matters.

I dropped it one star because I thought it was a disappointingly slim volume - especially given the vast amount of nautical literature that exists in this country. However, it may also be quite difficult to select material that hasn't appeared in other collections. I personally had not come across any of the stories before, other than the first (from having read the Hornblower book in question.)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars SEA STORIES 27 Dec 2009
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
An informative book with 9 stories all by different authors of about 25 pages each; ranging from the 18th to the 20th century. All are interesting, some more than others all fiction but as most of the authors had been seaman you get the feeling that there's a fair bit of truth and sea-lore in them.

More a book for dipping into than reading all at a sitting. It makes for a very enjoyable read either way. If there's a down side it's that the stories are not long enough to get fully immersed in but, certainly long enough to introduce one to the work of one or two of the authors one would like to read a lot more by, Frank Hendry and Captain D Bone for instance.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Superb collection of tales 23 Dec 2009
By D. W. Miller VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
There is something for everyone here. The range of these stories is such that you get a feel for the unchanging relationship that those who use the sea have enjoyed over the centuries. The mix of factual content and fiction is easy to navigate and I would heartily recommend this collection which is not an overly large one, to anybody interested in maritime events.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ahoy there, landlubbers! 2 Mar 2010
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This is an exquisitely selected collection of vignettes, that covers an admirable range of maritime scenarios. From an adventure centered around Captain Hornblower (as memorably portrayed on our screens by Welsh actor Terry Gruffudds) to less familiar characters (and a few true stories), we are treated to tales that illustrate the full range of the sea's fearsomely aleatoric nature. Whether it's the bleak desolation of a seemingly infinite empty horizon, the brutally rampaging waves of a perilous nocturnal thunderstorm, or the otherworldly beauty of a golden sunrise, this book doesn't miss a thing.

PS. Sorry if this has been uncharacteristically straight-laced upon my part. I had originally been planning to include a few jokes. However, I am sorry to admit that (despite my best efforts) I drew a total blank on this one. I had been toying for a while with the idea of using "seamen-ly" as a pun on seemingly, but eventually I had to concede that it would be better for all concerned if I were to just let that particular one sink without trace. Oh well! Clearly my gag-reflexes are simply not activated by a stimulus of seamen, no matter how material I might find my person being flooded with!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Delightful Bunkside Read 28 Feb 2010
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
A Seaman's Book of Sea Stories compiled by Desmond Fforde makes for a most enjoyable bunkside book with the Prostate Cancer Charity benefiting from the profits.

The nine stories are carefully chosen and are very different and entertaining each in their own contrasting way. For those unfamiliar with the works, I am sure that many readers will wish to seek out the full volumes from which the extracts are taken.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Perfect bedtime reading for would-be sea-dogs 19 Feb 2010
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
What is there not to like in this worthy little compilation?
Nine short stories that will transport you from the comfort of your home to intrepid adventure on the high seas. And all the profits go to charity too!
Hardly great literature, but all thoroughly entertaining yarns that rattle along at a cracking pace.
My favourite? Probably "I Was There".

What's yours?

PS. if you enjoy tales of the sea, may I also recommend "Pacific Ordeal" by Kenneth Ainslie. A remarkably vivid true story!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid collection with proceeds to charity
Well worth buying. The cause is worthy, and Desmond Fforde has put together an excellent collection of nine stories including fiction and non-fiction, in a similar vein to Alistair... Read more
Published on 29 Nov 2011 by S. Lindgren
4.0 out of 5 stars Classic naval yarns
This book contains an excellent selection of stories from both the 'golden age' of sail, i.e. of wooden ships propelled by canvas, rope and muscle of the 18th century, and also... Read more
Published on 24 Feb 2011 by Adam Bartleby
4.0 out of 5 stars A great read for an old sea dog !
We bought this for my father - an ex-navy man approaching retirement. He found the book really charming ! Read more
Published on 16 Sep 2010 by Scott A. Mckenzie
4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely little collection, and for a good cause
The first thing that must be mentioned is that all profits from this book benefit the Prostate Cancer Charity. Read more
Published on 17 July 2010 by A Reviewer
4.0 out of 5 stars A good starting point
I'm a big fan of sea-stories, so had high hopes of this book - especially as profits from sales go to charity. Read more
Published on 25 Jun 2010 by Mr. Christopher Lancaster
4.0 out of 5 stars An admirable collection!
Many books based on the sea tend to be long affairs (such as the `Hornblower' series or that based on Cochrane, both sampled here), so this is an excellent way to sample such works... Read more
Published on 19 Jun 2010 by stevieby
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Seafaring Short Stories
This book is a collection of short stories all based around life at sea. I generally don't like shorts or sea based books because I am a merchant seafarer and often find myself... Read more
Published on 18 Jun 2010 by M. G. Chisholm
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable collection
Spanning Hornblower to shortly after the Second World War this is a collection of short stories covering various aspects of sea-faring life. Read more
Published on 11 May 2010 by Mr BD
3.0 out of 5 stars An interesting and fun read, but not Master and Commander
This book, put together by Desmond Fforde to raise money for the Prostate Cancer Charity, is an interesting anthology containing nine short stories about ships and naval men. Read more
Published on 13 April 2010 by F. Bowley
4.0 out of 5 stars Just enough to whet the appetite
I've always been a fan of sea stories, though I've tended to stick to Napoleonic-era ones, so I opened this book with enthusiasm. Read more
Published on 9 April 2010 by Stephen Hampshire
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