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A Seaman's Book of Sea Stories Paperback – 9 Nov 2009

4.1 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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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: 12.7 x 2.5 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,175,660 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

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.

Customer reviews

Top customer reviews

Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book is a selection of short seafaring stories, with all the profits from sale being donated to The Prostate Cancer Charity.

There are nine stories in all, in chronological order based on when they were written. The first is a relatively well known tale that forms part of a Hornblower novel, by CS Forester. This was the only story I had read before, but it was worthy of reading again. I loved "Through the Gap" by FC Hendry, an account of a voyage on a fast sailing clipper from the 1890s, narrowly avoiding being crushed by icebergs in the South Atlantic.

All the stories evoke the sense and atmosphere of the times they describe - so although all but one of them is at least partially fiction, they all transport the reader to times and places we can now only experience through the eyes and ears of others. Many (as you would expect in a collection of sea stories) cover quite harrowing, often tense situations - a submarine navigating a minefield in WWII, a merchant convoy crossing the Atlantic in fear of U-boats, or perhaps worse, in fear of wrecking on the hard to navigate wartime British coast (lighthouses were subject to blackout conditions).

I would have liked more than nine (twelve would have been good perhaps?) stories given a choice, but I suspect suitable material and costs may have played a part here. Something more recent than WWII would also have been nice - but reprint rights/copyright costs probably explain why more modern stories are absent. Overall though, it was a few hours of delight at being immersed in a world now only available in tales such as these.
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By Dr. Michael Heron TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 25 Feb. 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The tales in this book certain evoke as much of a sense of wistful melancholy as the best books about adventures of the sea. The tales are thoroughly entertaining, and short enough to consume on an occasional basis. It's one of those rare books that I wish were longer than they actually ended up being, but the quality of the content is sufficiently high as to ensure that its relatively shortness isn't much of an issue. One of the more significant criticisms of the book though is that, as a lover of the literature of the sea, some of the stories were more familiar than I would have liked. Despite that, thoroughly recommended to anyone who has fond thoughts of a sea-based lifestyle they never experienced.
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By A. Rose TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 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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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.)

Recommended.
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