A friend just asked for some maritime reading suggestions following my endorsement of Susan Casey’s The Wave.
Here, in no particular order, are some good ones from my bookshelf.
- Nigger of the Narcissus, Conrad
- Two Years Before the Mast, Dana
- Moby Dick, Melville
- Typee, Melville
- Wanderer, Sterling Hayden
- Voyage, Hayden
- Looking for a Ship, John McPhee
- Steaming to Bamboola, Chris Buckley
- Sailing Alone Around the World, Slocum
- Around the World Singlehanded, Harry Pidgeon
- Voyaging Southwards from the Strait of Magellan, Rockwell Kent
- N by E, Kent
- The White Dawn, James Houston
- The Captain, Jan de Hartog
- The Strange Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst, Tomalin and Hall
- anything by Edgar Rowe Snow
- The Long Way, Bernard Moitessier
- The Caine Mutiny, Herman Wouk
- Ice Brothers, Sloan Wilson
- A Night to Remember, Walter Lord
- In the Heart of the Sea, Nathaniel Philbrick
- Down by the Docks, Rory Nugent
- Perfect Storm, Sebastian Junger
- Heavy Weather Sailing, Adlard Coles
- The Venturesome Voyages of Captain Voss, Voss
- A Fighting Chance, Ridgway and Blyth
- Crunch and Des, Philip Wylie
I’ll add others as they come to mind. Suggestions appreciated.
7 thoughts on “A maritime reading list”
You rock David, I’ve read 10 books on your list & everything by Edward Rowe Snow, who I met on a harbour cruise of Boston when I was a kid. He gave a reading & tour of one of the forts in Boston hahbah. He signed one of his books for me & I was thrilled to have a signed book from an author I loved as a kid. My copy of ‘The Wave’ arrived yesterday & having read “Devil’s Teeth’, by the same author, I’m pumped. Thanks for all of your book rec’s. You’re batting .1000 w/ me. Don’t forget Patrick O’Brian’s wonderful novels…John McPhee? I can’t wait to read more!
I am in the midst of reading “America’s Victory: The Heroic Story of a Team of Ordinary Americans — And How They Won the Greatest Yacht Race Ever” and even without finishing I would put it in the list. I didn’t find “Voyage” very readable and was a little dismayed at the treatment of the cabin boy. If it was a British ship that scene would have been a little more believable.
I was glad to see the “Nigger of the Narcissus” at the top of the list, as it is my all time favorite sea story. “Typhoon” ranks near the top for the description of the storm and the fate of the “cargo”. Try the hilarious misadventures of Chief Engineer Colin Glencannon by Guy Gilpatric, which appeared serially in the Saturday Evening Post in the 30’s & 40’s. Not true sea adventure stories, they focus more on the antics of the crew of a British tramp steamer at sea and ashore. They are a bit hard to find, but were published in 3 omnibus volumes in the 40’s, and more recently by The Glencannon Press, Palo Alto, CA. The convoluted stories are priceless. I laughed myself sick and reread them many times. Very reminiscent of my years at sea, and the characters I’ve met. Also, “The Serpents Coil” by Farley Mowat was one of my early favorites.
John Kretchmer (whom I did several deliveries and celestial-navigation passages) wrote Cape Horn To Starboard. It’s about his attempt to round Cape Horn, east to west, aboard a 30-foot sloop, and break the record of the fastest clippers.
“The Cruel Sea” by Nicholas Monsarrat
What about Patrick O’Brien’s Aubrey/Maturin novels? Or for that matter, Lewis’s Hornblower novels?
Hornblower — damn yes. O’Brien … must add as well but I never made it through the entire series.