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4.5 out of 5 stars56
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 8 June 2012
An excellent book, this is how it was when we had a Merchant Navy it brought back so many memories when the "Red Duster" could be found worldwide, thanks to the stories written by Mr Jackson. Highly recommended, anyone who has seatime in should read this book, one of the best books I have read in a long time!
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on 27 August 2012
I bought this book for my father's birthday as he was a Master in the Merchant Navy at the same time as the author. I thought I'd read it before giving it to Dad - taking care not to crease or bend any of the pages of course !! It is one of the best books I have ever read. Funny, informative and well written. Indeed it could have been my Dad (or any of his friends) regaling such stories as I have heard the same/similar stories throughout my childhood. As I spent a great part of my childhood on bulk carriers (iron ore, grain etc) - it brought back a lot of memories - even the same ports that Bob Jackson visited. Like Bob, my father spent his 1st 2 years in the MN (aged 17 and 18) in Australia and NZ. He also puts into perspective what wives and children go through with their husband/father being away for so long as well (in an era without mobile phones, internet etc)

I would love him to write a further book - perhaps as his time as Master. I did think that the author had written more books, but on further inspection they were written by a chap with a very similar name. Go on Bob - write another.

Wonderful !!
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on 31 July 2012
I joined the MN in 1972 - almost at the end of an era. By the time I came ashore in 1982 the British Merchant Fleet was in terminal decline - mostly the fault of the unions, but changes in tax treatment and the growth of flags of convenience also paid a big part.

I enjoyed this book - I recognised a lot of the characters and the situations. I recommend it to anybody who has been to sea, as I am sure it will generate a few chuckles. The writing style is light, and possibly a bit repetitive - but I guess much less repetitive than sitting at anchor watch off Lagos or Dubai! I notice that Bob has written another book (presumably on a similar theme) - I think I will get a copy of that as well.
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on 18 March 2014
One of the best and most enjoyable books that I have read, about the Merchant Navy, for many years. Very well written, humorously delivered and I would imagine very factual and as it was. Certainly a book that I would most highly recommend for anyone interested in the sea.
A sequel relating Bob Jackson's experiences as a master would be very welcome indeed and I would certainly put in an advance order.
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on 17 December 2012
As the author of The Captain`s Story, a novel about the Royal Navy`s youngest ever Captain`s fight to help win back the Falkland Islands, and conquer his own personal demons, I was intrigued when I came across this book.
Being ex-Royal Navy myself, I was curious to find out how much life in the Merchant Navy differed. Bob regales us with his stories in a light, interesting tone. The Merchant Navy of today is probably a far cry from Bob`s era, and this book is full of entertaining anecdotes guaranteed to make you chuckle.
One example is when the Second Mate told rookie Bob that the Rendall`s Pessary was broken, and then sent him down to the engine room to get a new one.
Eventually, after being sent from pillar to post he was told the Radio Officer would definitely have one. Bob found him playing deck golf with The Captain and a couple of lady passengers. The Captain asked Bob what he wanted so Bob told him.
The two ladies started giggling when he continued to say, that the Second Mate needed one to fix the echo sounder on the bridge. The Captain then sent him back to the bridge with a message, saying they`d have to wait `till the ship docked in Adelaide to obtain one.
What the young Bob didn`t know was that a `Rendall`s Pessary` was an old form of female contraception!
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on 7 March 2013
If you ever read only one book about the merchant navy then read this. Bob writes from pure and simple knowledge with little jargon and an easy to follow style. An outstanding book and I can't wait to read his next!!!
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on 28 December 2012
Although I spent my life in the Royal Navy I found Bob Jackman's book excellent read. Very well written without the normal plethora of errors often found in such work due to lack of proof readers. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone who has ever spent time at sea and for those who have never set foot in a ship a damn good entertaining and often humourous read.
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on 14 November 2014
This could so nearly have been my career. I followed almost the exact steps as the author - right down attending the Marine Tech in South Shields - only a couple of years later. In my case it all came to an end at the Third Mate stage but with eyes half closed and in a dreamy mood I could easily imagine I would have taken a similar path.

An easy and informative read.
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on 18 July 2015
This was a really interesting factual account of a 20 year climb from apprentice to Captain. The book isn't full to the brim with exaggerated tales of nautical daring-do but gives an honest and enjoyable insight into a way of life now largely gone since the invention of more modern ships and shipping methods. I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in the genre. Thank you Bob!
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on 17 August 2015
A very good book how it was at sea in 1957 when we had a Merchant Navy with a large number of shipping lines to take your pick from
unlike today, the ship may be flying the Red Duster but not with British crew onboard. We saw the best times at sea when we had weeks in port
in all corners of the world, unlike today when you may have a 48 hour stay miles from any town.
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