"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
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.
Tell us about yourself!
A gripping story even when knowing the outcome already. Captain Phillips demonstrated with his actions what it means to be Captain. He took care of his ship and his crew, and then removed the problem. It was very interesting how he handled the pirates and his situation of being their prisoner. I also enjoyed the background of the Merchant Marines and the kind of life the MMs live. I just might see the Tom Hanks movie now.
I would recommend this selection to anyone
"Do what you can with what you have, wherever you are."
Too strong? Maybe, maybe not. Captain Phillips certainly underwent a series of events that few people in the world could identify with, and for that his story is a unique and interesting. That much seems certain. What is uncertain is how much of his role was embellished after the fact to make him appear more heroic than he might have been in reality. I suggest this only to caution the listener to examine what Captain Phillips recounts with a critical ear. Initially, I didn't know much about the events recounted in the book. I watched the movie, found it entertaining, and wanted to learn more. However not far into the listen my "BS" meter began "pinging". I found a lot of his story extremely arrogant and self-righteous, and was beginning to wonder why he didn't walk on water right off the lifeboat to safety. After constantly being told why he was such a great captain throughout his career, how he continually outsmarted the pirates, and how his actions saved several of the crew's lives again and again I started researching the event to get a more complete picture. Without going into detail here, I will say there are multiple accounts of Captain Phillips' actions during that time. Most of these accounts conflict with what is set out in the book. I found many of the peripheral stories about Captain Phillips' pre-hostage experiences in the Merchant Marines burdensome and tedious. I didn't really care about what kind of a hard-case he was in academy, or how he met his wife. Some people would argue stories like that give a character depth, but in this case it just came across as filler for the book.
The narrator did a decent job with the story. I didn't really find his reading especially captivating, nor did it make a bad story worse.
I loved how selfless Captain Phillips was. His crew, cargo, and ship were most important to him.
Captain Phillips himself is an amazing man, but his wife seems impressive as well.
The Somali pirates were a tough part of the book, but it was well played.
The last couple of chapters made tears run down my cheeks. My wife asked what was so sad, but I wasn't crying. It was patriotism, happiness, and excitement causing my eyes to leak.
I have not seen the movie, but I hope it is as good as this book.
With all due respect to Captain Phillips, his ordeal, as traumatic as it was for him, is not a compelling story. Hours after being taken hostage, he and hist captures are surrounded by the US Navy… obviously the kidnappers were going nowhere. Captain Phillips made equal number of good and bad decisions, surviving by luck and the intervention of the US Navy.
The most interesting aspect of the story to me was the recounting of President Obama's use of military might… once the American people became engaged in the story. He sent the US Navy to rescue one man from four teenage boys with four rifles. Not much risk for his reputation. Unlike Benghazi, where he and Hillary Clinton fabricated a story to divert attention from their spineless inaction that let four Americans die without any military response.
Do you read the book before you dislike my reviews?
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.
The majority of the book book was boring. Its a love story about him and his wife. Not much action and everytime it does get interesting it reverts back to his wife and how strong she is.
Tell the story of samali pirates and not of some dude who thinks he's above other people cause he is irish and from boston. Its a regular man telling his story but because he is a Bostonian he has to let you know that about 500 times in the book. its annoying
Not Scott Brick
don't waste your credit
Audible books are the perfect companion for my 4 mile morning walk!
I have to admit that I had a negative reaction to the book within the first 60 seconds, and I jumped through the chapters pretty quickly and ultimately returned the book without fully reading it. 1st person narratives are difficult to pull off, and this one seemed primarily focused on portraying Richard Phillips as the greatest captain, father, and whatever else of all time (while being quite willing to point out the flaws in the crew). I found it insufferable pretty quickly. Opening the book describing a torture scene, and basically having Phillips' describe his own reaction to torture as "that all you got?" was a macho message, and it might even have been accurate, but it wasn't something I wanted to listen to for a long period of time.
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