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Down To The Sea In Ships: Of Ageless Oceans and Modern Men [Englisch] [Gebundene Ausgabe]

Horatio Clare

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2. Januar 2014

For millennia, the seaways have carried our goods, cultures and ideas, the terrors of war and the bounties of peace - and they have never been busier than they are today. But though our normality depends on shipping, it is a world which passes largely unconsidered, unseen and unrecorded. Out of sight, in every lonely corner of every sea, through every night, every day, and every imaginable weather, tiny crews of seafarers work the giant ships which keep landed life afloat. These ordinary men (and they are mostly men) live extraordinary lives, subject to pressures we know - families, relationships, dreams and fears - and to dangers and difficulties we can only imagine, from hurricanes and pirates to years of confinement in hazardous, if not hellish, environments.

Horatio Clare joins two container ships, travelling in the company of their crews and captains. Together they experience unforgettable journeys: the first, from East to West (Felixstowe to Los Angeles, via Suez) is rich with Mediterranean history, torn with typhoon nights and gilded with an unearthly Pacific peace; the second northerly passage, from Antwerp to Montreal, reeks of diesel, wuthers with gales and goes to frozen regions of the North Atlantic, in deep winter, where the sea itself seems haunted.

In Clare's vibrant prose a modern industry does battle with implacable forces, as the ships cross seas of history and incident, while seafarers unfold the stories of their lives, telling their tales and yarns. A beautiful and terrifying portrait of the oceans and their human subjects, and a fascinating study of big business afloat, Down to the Sea in Ships is a moving tribute to those who live and work on the great waters, far from land.

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"Stupendous and extraordinarily exciting... What Clare demonstrates, even beyond his undoubted gifts as writer, is his basic humanity. I read his wonderful book with gratitude for his insight - but also with increased admiration for the men to whom we owe almost everything in our comfortable and secure lives" (Philip Hoare Times Higher Education)

"Rich and dense, full of old sea-dog stories, with barely a word wasted, it's a triumph of quiet artistry" (Marcus Berkmann Daily Mail)

"This is a warm and lyrical book about a tough trade in tough times" (Sara Wheeler Observer)

"Wonderful... Clare's writing is fluid, light and eminently readable, but perhaps his greatest asset is his empathy" (Philip Hoare Sunday Telegraph)

"A lyrical, heartfelt but eye-opening chronicle... Both romantic and realistic, written from the heart but crafted with a seafarer's "passionate precision", [Clare's] book will steer you into the new year on a course that may deepen your grasp both of that world, and of ourselves" (Boyd Tonkin Independent)


Acclaimed nature writer Horatio Clare travels the great oceans on cargo ships, and witnesses the collision of two temperaments: man and the sea

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2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen WHERE ARE THE MAPS? 31. Mai 2014
Von louis pappas - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
I was born and raised in the whaling city of New Bedford and have a lifelong passion for things nautical. This book gave the opportunity to share vicariously in Mr. Clare's two voyages; and I enjoyed them immensely. I would have enjoyed them even more had the book contained a few maps to illustrate his routes. What's a travel book without them?
Notwithstanding that omission, the author's descriptions of the sea in all it's moods and furies are seldom surpassed in all of the nautical literature I've read. The book earns its keep on this basis alone. But my praise is not unstinting:
(1) One presumes that Mr. Clare has read more broadly on the subject than one might infer from the scant bibliography. I enjoy delving into sources; and it often leads me to additional book purchases. I was grievously disappointed by this shortcoming.
(2) The author peppers the text with left wing, Laborite asides, which are irritating distractions from the narrative.
(3) Shipowners, insurers, and hiring agencies are almost invariably tagged as evil capitalists. Whereas crew members are the exploited underclass, who, after many months at sea, go home (most often to the Philippines) and are "millionaires" for a day. Their wealth soon dissipated by their relatives and friends, they must return to their cruel maritime mistress to resume the inescapable cycle of their existence.
(4) Some of these men (and they are almost exclusively men) escape their lives of "quiet desperation;" but most return time and again. Mr. Clare errs in placing the blame for their plight on capitalism and the consumerist world economy. Strong and united maritime unions might alleviate the problem. But it turns out that they are as venal as the capitalists. If fewer men go to sea, machines and computers will replace them. This trend has persisted since the age of sail and is accelerating.
(5) The Philippines is a "nearly failed state" whose history of nepotism and corruption has dramatically retarded its economic development, especially as compared to its capitalist "Asian Tiger" neighbors. The country's citizens flee from it and toward the economic opportunity that employment at sea offers. This is not a failure of Markets but rather of Governance! An excellent treatment of the apposition between the Philippines and the "Tigers" is presented in Robert Kaplan"s book "Asia's Cauldron" to which I would attach a 5-star rating.
Finally, and most importantly for this venue, I am very glad I bought the book. Buy it and enjoy!
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A five star read for seafarers 8. April 2014
Von former naval officer - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
Horatio Clare has a way of conveying the experience of life at sea in a way that is so vivid and tactile that it should almost be compulsory reading at any nautical training institution. He also exposes the injustice of the flag of convenience system, and the way Filipino seafarers are systematically exploited even by "responsible" companies.

The container ship MV RENA which ran aground on Astrolabe Reef in the Bay of Plenty was crewed by Filipino officers and ratings, and was registered under a Flag of Convenience - the Liberian. Flags of Convenience mean that ship owners can evade the responsibilities they would have in their own countries to operate and maintain their ships safely and treat their crews fairly. Flags of convenience mean unsafe ships in terms of both their material condition and the way they are operated, lack of environmental controls, and abused and exploited crews. It is to compete with cheap flag of convenience shipping that responsible owners like Maersk are obliged to perpetuate the exploitation of vulnerable seafarers in the way Mr Clare so eloquently describes.

Anyway, read this book.
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen well written 15. März 2014
Von graham penman - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
good quality writing on a part of maritime trade, not often covered. As far as I know the only book on container ships.
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen Disappointing book 16. März 2014
Von Warren Tapp - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
For the price it was not good value at all. Very ordinary book and nothing like I was expecting. I had read a review on it that influenced me to buy it but it was not like the review at all. I will be wary about buying any more books this way.
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