"I share the country's admiration for the bravery of Captain Phillips and his selfless concern for his crew. His courage is a model for all Americans."
President Barack Obama
It was just another day on the job for 53-year-old Richard Phillips, captain of the Maersk Alabama, a United States-flagged cargo ship that was carrying, among other things, food and agricultural materials for the World Food Program. That all changed when armed Somali pirates boarded the ship.
The pirates didn't expect the crew to fight back, nor did they expect Captain Phillips to offer himself as a hostage in exchange for the safety of his crew. Thus began the tense five-day standoff, which ended in a daring high-seas rescue when U.S. Navy SEALs opened fire and picked off three of the captors.
"It never ends like this," Captain Phillips said. And he's right. A story of adventure and courage, A Captain's Duty provides the intimate details of this high-seas hostage-taking - the unbearable heat, the death threats, the mock executions, and the escape attempt. When the pirates boarded his ship, Captain Phillips put his experience into action, doing everything he could to safeguard his crew. And when he was held captive by the pirates, he marshaled all his resources to ensure his own survival, withstanding intense physical hardship and an escalating battle of wills with the pirates. This was it: the moment where training meets instinct and where character is everything. Richard Phillips was ready.
©2010 Richard Phillips (P)2010 Tantor
The outcome - that Captain Phillips' trials ended with his captors lives blanked out by our military's best snipers and he got to go home.
Captain Phillips' determination to face his fears and his captors bravely, and how, while he was on the cargo ship, he out-smarted the pirates at every opportunity.
While on the cargo ship, the pirates kept asking him where his crew were, and he kept responding with, "I don't know, I'm here with you guys!" and when they asked him to get the ship moving, he kept saying "ship broken, you broke the ship". That was pretty funny stuff, and impressive that he was able to keep his cool and think of good excuses while having an AK-47 rifle pointed at him!
Yes, there were plenty. A memorable moment was when his church sang their favorite song the same morning he was rescued.
I highly recommend this book - great story and the reading was well done too.
I can find a book to love in any genre -- a beautifully written classic, an interesting mystery or sci-fi, a trashy romance. Bring it!
STORY - (True story) Captain Phillips is a very exciting account of an American cargo ship which was attacked by Somali pirates in 2009. There is a 2013 movie starring Tom Hanks which, as far as I know, is based on this book.
The story opens with a scene which really occurs toward the end, so you get an immediate preview of what's to come. Then it shifts to background of Captain Phillips' life and how he became a merchant marine. Some of this middle portion is a little slow, but some of it is pretty interesting. Once his ship, the Maersk Alabama, is at sea and the action begins, the story becomes fast-moving and intense. I don't want to give too much away, but the book is very good, and I hear the movie is great. (You can Google Maersk Alabama if you want to get a spoiler preview of what happens).
PERFORMANCE - Pretty good narration that neither enhances or detracts from the book. I would rate it higher if he'd done a better job of distinguishing between different characters.
OVERALL - Recommended, and not just for guys.
I enjoy detective series of books, especially Issac Bell, Alex Cross and Michael Haller. Biographies, most recently was Unbroken...
The details of what was going on.... Capt Phillips's thoughts... the rescue fron the Navy's eyes...
The rescue.... (the moves did a terrible job with it)
The audiobook was far superior in detail... the movie changed many things to shorten the story. I am glad I did the audiobook first, my wife didn't believe me so we listened to it together after seeing the movie.... we both agree the book is much better.
I'd give this three and a half stars. The first 2/3 of the book is really interesting, both in learning about the author's background and what the Merchant Marine industry is like. The last couple of hours describing the actual hostage incident are a bit monotonous and confusing, and by the very end you have a lot of questions that aren't clearly answered (it needs a better epilogue). Not the best I've read but probably worth the time.
An Audible fan about to pass 500 titles in my library.
This is fun story with plenty of action. Not fabulous writing, but what it lacks in style it is more than makes up in passion. I've not seen the movie, but now plan to.
Great mental insight.
Spoofing the pirates.
Successful hostage recovery.
Riveting story from recent history.
I don't normally read the book after I watch the movie because what is the point. Unless they butcher the film base on the novel, you already know what is to come. "Captain Phillips" was an awesome movie. My eyes were glued to the screen during the whole time. I ended up buying the book because it was on sale and I wanted to know what they miss in the movie. They didn't miss much.
Richard Phillips' hostage story in "A Captain's Duty" was well told. I am just a very visual person. If a book can paint a picture in my mind, then the author has done their job. As I kept listening to the audiobook, my mind kept flashing back to Tom Hanks and the Somalis, and how they develop each scene base on the book.
My friends' say that I need to watch the Danish film, "A.Hijacking." I should see if it is base on a book and read it first.
I listen to and have recently started to write reviews. I've found the reviews have helped me to select books.
I know that Somalia is lawless and extremely poor but that does not allow them the freedom to commit piracy. This memoir about Captain Phillips exemplifies that piracy by Somalian men continues with no end in sight.
The men who commit piracy do not gain any substantial reward. Most of their money will be turned over to the man back in Somalia who orchestrated the crime.
Captain Phillips showed extreme courage when his ship was boarded by the Somalian pirates. Especially noted was the fact that the safety of his men remained first and foremost in how he inserted himself as the leader. Therefore, the pirates had to deal with only him and not his men. Captain Phillips didn't plan on being captured himself but when all was said and done he knew his men were safe. The first rule of being the captain of the ship was successful.
Captain Phillips and his first mate were able to alert the British that the ship was being boarded and taken over by pirates. Captain Phillips knew that his rescue was being organized. His hope was that the rescue would take place before the Somalian pirates killed him.
The narrator, George K. Wilson, was okay but did not bring authenticity as to whether the book was truth or fiction. I wasn't able to allow myself to become a part of the book. I listened with a sense of detachment.
This memoir was different to other memoirs that I have listened to. Captain William's family became a part of the dialogue in the book. There were also friends and the clergy. There were repetitious fillers in the book. Those words did add length but did not add substance to the dialogue.
I feel that there was a need to write this book and have it published because it was the first American vessel that was attacked by Somalian pirates. Apparently, piracy has become a Somalian's way of earning a salary that is more then the norm of $600.00 per year.
Captain William's memoir again gave credence that one man's life is important and cannot be ignored. The rescue was organized and implemented. I'm very proud to be an American as Captain William's is himself.
I read A Perfect Storm right before listening to this and the two can't compare. This book could have been fascinating with better research and story telling. The book is still okay because it was such a crazy situation, unfortunately the storytelling was mediocre and really no background research was done to give substance to the shipping industry, pirates, military, etc.
Imagine living five days not knowing if you were going to die right now. Over 100 hours of sheer terror. The man is the ultimate stoic. Could have done without the love story (only reason for the 4 not a 5 overall), but some people like that in a story. Glad I read (listened to) the book before seeing the excellent movie. My hat is off to you, Captain, a true American Hero. Do you like true life adventure? Don't miss this fantastic story.
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