The subject matter — the war at sea in the North Atlantic and its toll in human suffering — inevitably calls to mind The Cruel Sea. It does drag a little in places, which is why it failed to get 4 stars. It also took me a while to work out what was going on in the initial chapters, although the narrative seemed to find its stride once the Sithonia put to sea. You know that they will reach land in the end. As a sailor of many years, I enjoy reading all kinds of boats about the sea. Destined to become a true maritime classic --Angus Konstam. Making Shore is a novel inspired very loosely by true events.
As food and water run out, the strong, fit sailors are soon reduced to a rudderless, bedraggled and disheartened group of vulnerable men. Two table spoons a day? Making Shore is largely well-written except the final chapters , but could have ended at the half-way point and been a better book. Deliverance from the decaying lifeboat will take something more remarkable than sheer endurance. However, tales of shipwreck and survivors in a lifeboat - well, they very much are something I have been known to enjoy. Joe is older, wiser, has an easy grin and possesses an irrepressible good humour. Also akin to 'The Railway Man' for the analysis of the mental impact and how the characters and the women in their lives deal with it.
In the Heart of the Sea and The Survivors of the Chancellor have both had a very strong resonance in me, so I was intrigued about this book. The horrible realities of ship wreck thirst, sun burn, hunger, boredom, one's ship mates. I write scientific journal articles, for which I get paid, and historical and fantasy fiction, for which I don't. . It's not terrible, but if you want historic and accurate, yet very engrossing yarns, In The Heart of the Sea remains the gold standard. And after survival at sea, yet more anguish lies in wait. The lifeboat journey is the centrepiece and for me was by far the most compelling part.
I had heard Brian's story first-hand and so didn't 'need' to read this book. Apart from the lifeboat journey, which was sufficiently harrowing to need little embellishment, the book never seemed to come fully to life. Some heroics but mostly not Excellent 'war' story based on the real experience of a merchant seaman. Clarke, now aged 87, whose family made their home in Preston in the years before the Second World War, was one of the unsung Merchant Navy heroes who ran the gauntlet of German U-boats to keep Britain stocked and afloat. Torpedoed by a German U-boat, adrift on the open ocean, gravely weakened and slowly dying of thirst - the odds of making shore are lengthening with each gruelling hour. From then on, it just drags and drags on, through a list of events that, no longer driven by isolation, hardship and insanity, are just not very interesting.
Former Lancashire man Brian Clarke had an incredible wartime story to tell. As his end draws near, Joe makes Cubby pledge to find Maggie and tell her an unthinkable lie. When the lifeboat eventually reaches land, the survivors discover that their ordeal is far from over, because this is not the friendly Canary Islands but the coast of Mauritania where French Vichy colonialists view the British as the enemy. In these grim circumstances the veneer of civilisation wears horribly thin, throwing into sharp relief some of the best and worst aspects of human nature. For 20 days they drifted in a lifeboat enduring terror, near madness and mind-numbing tedium, and when those who were still alive did make land, it was not the salvation that they had longed for.
So he placed his harrowing tale of hardship and survival into the capable hands of Lytham St Annes writer Sara Allerton who turned his real-life ordeal into a novel of raw intensity and startling emotional power. Based on a true incident in 1942. Torpedoed by a German U-boat, adrift on the open ocean, gravely weakened and slowly dying of thirst - the odds of making shore are lengthening with each gruelling hour. Towards the end, I skipped half of the paragraphs, struggling with endless descriptions and, at the very end, somewhat bumbling long-winded navel-gazing. Normally, I'd steer very clear of anything with a cover like this: World War 2 pathos is really not my thing.
Deliverance from the decaying lifeboat will take something more remarkable than sheer endurance. Normally, I'd steer very clear of anything with a cover like this: World War 2 pathos is really not my thing. The book starts out with a very engaging scene; an encounter between a survivor and the loved one of his best friend, who had not survived. Adrift in a decaying lifeboat with no fuel for the engine and no sail, slowly dying of thirst under the pitiless tropical sun, the men are pushed to the limit of human endurance and beyond. Also akin to 'The Railway Man' for the analysis of the mental impact and how the characters and the women in their lives deal with it.
In a way, this reduces some of the tension: you know from the start that our narrator survives and his friend does not. I'm a keen hillwalker, though I live in the flatlands of East Anglia. In the Heart of the Sea and The Survivors of the Chancellor have both had a very strong resonance in me, so I was intrigued about this book. A brilliantly conceived story of endurance and romance --Lord Butler. Deliverance from the decaying lifeboat will take something far more remarkable than sheer endurance.
A remarkable imaginative achievement --Edward Stourton. Then, after this scene, we get the tale of the events that befell the sailors. Unfortunately for Joe and Cubby, they are on board the one that gets hopelessly lost. And after survival at sea, yet more anguish lies in wait. I was consciously trying to avoid making comparisons, not least because The Cruel Sea is one of my favourite novels of all time and sets a near-impossibly high standard for any other novel to measure up to. The section in the prison camps would be hard pushed to match the drama of the lifeboat journey, and duly does not, although the interaction between the survivors and the inhabitants of an impoverished West African tribal fishing village is memorable and has an authentic air. The other sailors all have names, but their characters are not always terribly distinct: it took me most of the book to tell some of them apart the racist, the stubborn nay-sayer, the reasoned true leader, etc.