"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
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.
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 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 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.
Well-done narration of an well-paced true story.
The boarding of the ship by the pirates. I couldn't help thinking that a few guns on board could have prevented the whole tragedy. I am not a fan of casual gun ownership. But there are times and places for weapons of self-defense, and this voyage certainly qualified as such.
Captain Phillips, of course.
Even though I knew the outcome, I still found myself hoping that the story would unfold differently--that the pirates would be repelled before climbing on board, that the crew would be rescued sooner, and so on. It was well known at the time that Somali pirates were becoming increasingly bold, taking more and more ships and meeting little effective resistance from either crews or patrol vessels. I think the authorities and shipping companies failed to admit the full danger and left the ships' crews unprotected and vulnerable.
This is a great read or listening experience. Captain Phillips seems a likable guy, a good captain, and a cool-headed man under pressure. There is no doubt that by his actions, he saved his ship and the lives of his crew members.
I love a good book...
Thomas Jefferson understood that the Barbary Pirates were a problem...and today they are still causing some problems. The events surrounding Captain Phillips tested the patience of a nation, but in the end it worked out well. This is another time I thank God for the training of Navy Seals...and all SF personnel.
Nice piece of work from current history. Tells the story of a senior USA merchant mariner besot by pirates in the Indian Ocean from his perspective...up close and personal. It's also a tale of servant leadership from which we all can learn. From the beginning of the country, Yankee sailors have gone down to the sea and fought its perils. This is but one more--made into a movie, which I can't wait to see.
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