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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

4.2 (428 )
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4.2 (378 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Annette 04-02-15
    Annette 04-02-15 Member Since 2014
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Gripping"

    Very descriptive narrative full of wonderful imagery. Deeply moving account and kept me entertained for hours. Glad you made it back Capt.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Danielle Lamb Berea, Kentucky 02-22-15
    Danielle Lamb Berea, Kentucky 02-22-15 Member Since 2014

    lambd

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    4
    3
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    Story
    "great sorry"

    emotional story but a good one. the end was a little sappy but still a great book! i liked the book much more than the movie. the story being told by Capitan Phillips added value and sentiment. i also liked that they involved his wife more in the book than they did in the movie.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    John Ballou 02-18-15
    John Ballou 02-18-15

    none

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    4
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    Story
    "Reading the book from now on! Forget Hollywood!"
    What made the experience of listening to A Captain's Duty the most enjoyable?

    The personal story, without being "sanitized" by Hollywood "political correctness"!


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

    Robinson Crusoe! A good personal account telling the authors thoughts and feelings, as well as reasons for certain actions.


    Have you listened to any of George K. Wilson’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, but like it and may look for more!


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

    Cry! The return to safety was very personal! Even the participation of President Obama, whom I tend to greatly disrespect, was laudable and inspiring!


    Any additional comments?

    The movie was so different and "whitewashed" with no referance to truth about the pirates being Muslims. This book seemed to touch on the truth, not make excuses for the pirates reasons for turning to crime(fishing grounds polluted and fished out!).
    Overall, this story is the history, method of attaining a career, and personal adventure of a great merchant marine captain! This adventure gave me a virtual ride into a career I had always wondered about! Thank God I don't have to go there, having done so in these words so well presented!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    S. Aldridge Savannah, GA 02-18-15
    S. Aldridge Savannah, GA 02-18-15
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    "Lucky Hero, mediocre book"

    Most would consider author to be a hero. He seems to deny being hero but describes many instances of heroic contact and significant luck. In any event, strong character with high Cajones factor. This is his portion of his tale of standing up to the first Pirates to seize an American ship in 200 years.

    Surprisingly little about the Navy Seals whose conduct was reported in the media as just short of miraculous ( three simultaneous successful sniper shots in rolling seas.) and virtually nothing about the rest of the Navy. Sure this is Captain Phillips portion of the story but more of the Navy and Navy Seals and less of the filler on how Phillips became a merchant marine would have made a more interesting book.

    Book is informationally interesting but a bit slow with much filler material. Greatly admire the author whom I would consider to be heroic. For that reason I gave it a four although it is a rather mediocre listen. Narrator is excellent.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joyce 02-04-15
    Joyce 02-04-15
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    2
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    Story
    "Pretty awful."
    This book wasn’t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

    No one. Well, Perhaps Captain Phillips or his wife.


    What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

    The story was interesting, but the personality of the protagonist destroyed its value.


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of George K. Wilson?

    Simon Vance


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    disappointment


    Any additional comments?

    Thank God, the movie was better.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer Leah Emery Fontana, CA United States 08-25-14
    Jennifer Leah Emery Fontana, CA United States 08-25-14
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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 2014

    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
  •  
    Laura Montgomery Village, MD, United States 06-06-14
    Laura Montgomery Village, MD, United States 06-06-14 Member Since 2013

    Why ever would I do that?

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Go Captain Phillips!"
    What did you love best about A Captain's Duty?

    I loved the adventure and the personalities of EVERY character! A little bit too much bragging at times by Capt. Phillips but he certainly deserves a fan club, of which I'm a member.


    Any additional comments?

    Well worth a credit or the highest charge on Audible.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer Thornwood, NY, United States 05-07-14
    Amazon Customer Thornwood, NY, United States 05-07-14 Member Since 2013
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    "Very good non fiction read"
    Would you listen to A Captain's Duty again? Why?

    Both this audiobook and the movie are great, but if you have the choice, listen or read the book first before watching the movie.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gotta Tellya Santa Rosa, CA 03-27-14
    Gotta Tellya Santa Rosa, CA 03-27-14 Member Since 2013

    KEC

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    "Exciting true story of danger and courage at sea."
    What made the experience of listening to A Captain's Duty the most enjoyable?

    Well-done narration of an well-paced true story.


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

    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.


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

    Captain Phillips, of course.


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

    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.


    Any additional comments?

    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.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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