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A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea | [Richard Phillips, Stephan Talty]

A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea

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.
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Publisher's Summary

"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

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.1 (330 )
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Performance
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  •  
    AudioAddict Austin, Texas, USA 10-26-13
    AudioAddict Austin, Texas, USA 10-26-13 Member Since 2013

    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!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Pirates of the ... Gulf of Aden"

    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.

    9 of 9 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James LONG BEACH, CA, United States 10-09-13
    James LONG BEACH, CA, United States 10-09-13 Member Since 2011
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Everyman's Hero, Amazing True Story"
    What did you love best about A Captain's Duty?

    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.


    What did you like best about this story?

    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.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    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!


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    Yes, there were plenty. A memorable moment was when his church sang their favorite song the same morning he was rescued.


    Any additional comments?

    I highly recommend this book - great story and the reading was well done too.

    9 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Chuck Salem, IL, United States 11-29-13
    Chuck Salem, IL, United States 11-29-13 Member Since 2013

    I enjoy detective series of books, especially Issac Bell, Alex Cross and Michael Haller. Biographies, most recently was Unbroken...

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    "Superior to the movie!"
    What did you like best about this story?

    The details of what was going on.... Capt Phillips's thoughts... the rescue fron the Navy's eyes...


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    The rescue.... (the moves did a terrible job with it)


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    7 of 8 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James C Las Vegas, NV 07-04-10
    James C Las Vegas, NV 07-04-10 Member Since 2008
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    "Interesting..."

    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.

    8 of 10 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gregg Smyrna, GA, United States 01-21-14
    Gregg Smyrna, GA, United States 01-21-14 Member Since 2007

    Nearly 1200 titles.

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    "Good story"

    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.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Diana fayetteville, nc, United States 01-18-14
    Diana fayetteville, nc, United States 01-18-14 Member Since 2011

    Say something about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great insight"
    If you could sum up A Captain's Duty in three words, what would they be?

    Great mental insight.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of A Captain's Duty?

    Spoofing the pirates.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    Successful hostage recovery.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    Riveting story from recent history.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Brooke United States 09-26-13
    Brooke United States 09-26-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Okay story, could have been great"
    Would you try another book from Richard Phillips and Stephan Talty and/or George K. Wilson?

    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.


    8 of 13 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer Emery Chino, CA United States 08-25-14
    Jennifer Emery Chino, CA United States 08-25-14 Member Since 2012
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    "What A Great Story!"
    Where does A Captain's Duty rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    It is one of my favorites. I really enjoyed it.


    What other book might you compare A Captain's Duty to and why?

    I don't really have a comparison.


    Which character – as performed by George K. Wilson – was your favorite?

    They were all great characters. He did a wonderful job.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    When the captain was about to say goodbye to his wife when he thought he was about to be killed. I think my eyes watered up. Very moving. I saw the movie first and then listened to the audio book. I loved the back story of the captain and the love that he had for his wife. They didn't explain their close relationship in the movie and knowing how strong their love was made the story a lot more emotional.


    Any additional comments?

    I couldn't wait to listen to the audio book. It was a fascinating book. Loved it. Definitely check it out.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mr. Panama City, FL, United States 06-27-14
    Mr. Panama City, FL, United States 06-27-14 Member Since 2007

    Jonnie

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    "The movie is much better"

    This book adds a lot of details that were not in the movie but the movie is much better. If you have seen the movie I would not recommend reading the book. The extra details are really not that significant. If you have read the book and have not seen the movie, go watch the movie, its a lot better experience.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer SAN CARLOS, CA, United States 06-14-14
    Amazon Customer SAN CARLOS, CA, United States 06-14-14 Member Since 2009

    Avid marathoner and hi tech market analyst. Lover of Ken Follett, Christopher Moore, Timothy Zahn and any book that pulls me in.

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    "Harrowing but a bit distanced"

    Wow, if I ever thought this was the career for me, this book changes that in a heartbeat. What an incredible story. The movie version of this story definitely amps up the emotion and scariness, which might help sell the story to an audience. The book looks back on the events with a bit more distance which helps to convey the events very clearly but somewhat with less scariness. Either that or Richard Phillips is way more courageous than I will ever be. He is calm, cool and collected pretty much throughout this book which is either amazing or distance from the actual events. Either way, this is a great, great story that is definitely worth reading. The performance by Wilson probably could have been more dramatic but overall I'd recommend it. And I definitely recommend the movie. Well worth the Best Picture nod it got.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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