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4.5 out of 5 stars251
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 10 October 2013
I downloaded this book by accident, having searched for a sci-fi trilogy by an author of the same name. I deeply enjoyed this book, especially as the film has just been released! My only regret is that I read it in three days, I wish it had been longer. Phillips' account of his ordeal is harrowing and gives a very personal insight into his kidnapping. He writes candidly about the roles of the U.S. government, the Navy and the SEAL team that eventually rescued him. If you are thinking about seeing the movie, give the book a read too, and get the 'un-Hollywood' version.
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on 19 November 2013
This story details in great detail the bravery of Captain Phillips. It shows how the family back at home were affected. The film was good. The book went into what happened in greater detail. Riveting.
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3.5 stars.

I only read this as the film interested me and I wanted to read the source material first. I audio read this, and the 7 disc CD is well narrated and an easy listen.

The true story of a captain and his crew who are pursued and boarded by Somali pirates and manage to outwit them. Knowing the outcome isn't normally a problem, knowing that Captain Phillips survives, that the pirates don't win. But I actually found I identified with the pirates for 90% of their appearances in the book. I don't mean I wanted them to take money, boats and cargo from the ship, but I found myself constantly wondering "why are they doing this?", "what's life like for them in Somalia?", and their eventual fate for me was a regretful one.

The book jumps around a lot, our narrator spending half the running length (I listened to the audio) talking about his days before he joined the merchant navy, meeting his wife and his time in initial training. Then the missing chunk for me is how he rose to the rank of captain, which I was looking forward to hearing.

The pirate attack and hostage situation is quite exciting, with Phillips' wife's point of view lengthening it and racheting up tension.

It's a good one to read if you're interested in ships and the merchant navy, life for a captain/ship worker and real life dramas.

If you like this, I'd recommend the Young Adult book on similar lines: Hostage Three by Nick Lake.
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on 11 March 2014
Captain Phillips is a true hero because, as with true heroes,,he doesn't think he is. This is an adventure that needs to be read if only to appreciate what sailors, military or civilian, can encounter at any given time - it is NOT an easy life! On British T.V., there have been programmes showing some sympathy towards the pirates (incredibly) due to their poor circumstances - all caused by the West of course. Read this and you will see what unfeeling, cruel, selfish people they really are. The stoicism and selflessness of Captain Phillips is a lesson to everyone and he deserves all the plaudits he so deservedly gets.How he survived the physical and mental cruelty is a real credit to him. Brilliant!
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on 3 February 2014
Having seen the film, felt I had to read the book to get all the detail.
It doesn't disappoint...
Gives more depth to his character and also an interesting insight into Merchant mariners life.

The film was very true to the book also.
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on 18 January 2014
A very interesting read especially after seeing the film - puts certain points in what happened very clearly and relates the experience to what Captain Phillips felt. Also gives you a better idea of what all the people involved were liek and how they succeeded in finding a way out of a hugely difficult situation.
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This is told in the by now very familiar autobiography formula. Starting with a scene very close to the climax, we then jump back to Phillips’ early days, in the “I wonder how it came to this…” mode, how he became a sailor, his philosophies and so on. Then the development of the key story follows, interspersed with ever-reducing parts covering his earlier life. And sometimes I’d like a different formula, though if I knew what that was, I’d be the assisting writer.

However, this is a more than satisfactory book. Phillips is worth listening to, a very decent man, a good manager of people, and it all stops comfortably short of the overdose of apple pie that can so easily be thrown in.

Having seen the film first, I’m able to be not disappointed at how the story had some additions to make it more dramatic. The ending in particular was tweaked a little for the movie, but remains very exciting.

Overall, a fine book by and about a fine man who ends up in an incredible situation. Enough to make you wonder how you’re cope yourself.

Well worth a read.
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on 24 January 2014
I had quite high expectations for this purchase from Amazon, however this was one of the cases where these expectations were surpassed. This book is unusual in several respects:
- first the writing is fittingly "rough", suiting well to the subject. I found the language interesting.
- the story is most unusual with first pirates taking over ships with guns, then crew working the situation with their bare hands to almost the opposite...
- the author describes extremely well the difficult situation of both pirates and Richard Phillips once the three huge warships start arriving around the covered lifeboat, with ever deteriorating conditions in the campaign between the two opposite sides, to the very end.
- this book is only as long, 286 pages, as it truly takes to describe the happenings, a special bonus to the publisher of A Captain's Duty.

It is easy to recommend this book!
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on 19 March 2014
Books of the major Oscar nominations were offered free and I chose this one based on reviews written (I had read 12 Years a Slave and the reviews of Philomena put me off it)
Not normally my type of book - I would not have considered paying for it - BUT - that would have been a mistake. An excellent book narrating a very brave man's story. I knew nothing of the story before reading it (not sure how I managed that) but enjoyed his story though like a previous reviewer I would have liked included a bit more detail of his rise through the ranks.
Don't miss it - you do not need to be interested in the sea, mariners or even pirates to appreciate this book.
It holds your attention rooting both for him and his wife struggling at home with his kidnap but also allows some insight to the workings of the minds of the pirates.
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on 13 June 2013
A very well written record of the events surrounding the piracy of Maersk Alabama off East Africa. Captain Phillips displayed the leadership expected of a professional mariner. Great read.
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