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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 20 July 2015
The author - Rose George - is a journalist that decided to spend some time on one of Maersk's container ships as an embedded observer, so as to better be able to convey to the general readership what life at sea is like today for the merchant mariners.

The book fuses the author's impressions of the journey from the UK to the Far East with specific topics she wants to cover, from recruitment and promotion, to the demographic change in the various merchant marines, the flag of convenience rules, piracy, the role of various churches, etc. As such it is an eclectic mix and will give readers a fairly broad - if then consequently not particularly deep - coverage of the subject area.

While it will probably not quite satisfy those looking for a more in-depth treatise on the economics of sea transportation, it may just give a more balanced view to people considering the merchant marine as a career prospect, and will probably serve adequately as reading for those with friends, spouses or relatives in such an occupation, so as to give them some more understanding of the trials and tribulations of the job.
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on 23 December 2014
Having spent many years working in the shipping industry I found this book a fascinating insight into the live's of those who provide an essential link in the transportation chain and who are in many ways are the unsung heroes who make it all happen.
One thing that I found particularly shocking is that over the passage of time the skills of the mechant seaman have been reduced to being viewed as the "Human Element" in the process and their value is demeaned as they are essentially seen as another piece of (dispensable) "harware" simply required to get ships/goods from A to B
as cheaply and quickly as possible.
This is all the more apparent when you get to see exactly what a thankless and often dangerous job they perform for little reward or thanks and the conditions and environment they work in continues to deteriorate in the name of progress (read cost).

This unfortunately is a sign of the time in business's constant quest to do more with less.

Despite this rather sad (but not unexpected discovery) I would thoroughly recommend this book as a very informative and interesting read.
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on 19 October 2013
As an ex seafarer I thought Rose George gave an excellent well researched story. The interesting point I found was that the opening chapter when she joined the ship was exactly as it was with me in 1963 when I could not get off the ship because my relief had not arrived due to the bad weather, and after 12 months being at sea I was not a happy bunny.!! The expression on a prison was true as in those days we did 12 month trips and as an engineer with steam engines there were occasions when I did six months between having my feet on dry land due to being on tankers with 24 hour turn rounds. In those days Britain had a merchant navy and the majority of the ships were crewed with UK nationals, there were no such things as mobiles and as for compassionate leave forget it. However it gave an excellent training and it was relatively well paid, the major reasons for being at sea.

A first class account of what is happening at sea today
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on 15 August 2017
Bought for husbands birthday. Could not tell it was second hand and the book itself is actually fascinating! Little did I realise or even think about how much we need and depend on the shipping industry. Really good buy and I would definitely recommend. Fantastic service and excellent quality books,thank you.
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on 23 January 2018
Best shipping book ever especially if you are new to the shipping industry and/or are just generally interested in knowing more about how the shipping/marine industry works.
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on 4 April 2015
Brings to the fore the vital work that the international merchant marine does. Yet are treated as degenerates by the people who employ them. Yet when I worked for a Norwegian company (Jebsens) many years ago I was treated with high regard as we're th Filipino deckhands. I fear that is not the case now.
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on 16 January 2015
I had hoped for a bit more about the actual journey she took, including more details of the ship and the lives of the crew whilst on board. I left the Merchant Navy nearly thirty years ago and had hoped this might bring me up to speed on the current way of life at sea. It did to a certain extent, but I felt here was an opportunity missed. As an ex engineer, the coverage of the engine room was something I anticipated, but it was disappointing, ie non existent.
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on 24 October 2013
Rose George has written an absolutely fascinating book about container ships. We never give the crews of these leviathans a thought but this book takes into their world as they face months of near isolation... even though it may be broken by the threat of Somali piracy. I don't suppose many will bother to read it, but It is a most interesting piece of research.
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on 31 October 2017
Disapointing content, I have been in the Merchant Navy and thought this book would bring up to date, not so I am afraid.
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on 25 March 2016
An engrossing, enlightening and enchanting read on the world's most disregarded yet important industry. Depressing and grim at times to hilarious and entertaining - the well-researched information, stories and personal anecdotes are brilliantly intertwined to create a gripping page turning almanac-cum-diary. A modern Moby Dick, if the subject changed from the whaling industry to deep sea shipping.
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