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5.0 out of 5 starsA must read!
Reviewed in the United States on March 21, 2020
Get ready for a wild adventure of a 15 year old boy who runs away to work on a passenger ship during his summer vacation. He gets shanghaied onto a huge iron ore ship, instead, and is immersed in a completely new reality. The author's descriptions are so corlorful that you will feel like you are there. The protagonist, Jack Sligo, develops a strength of character well beyond his years. You will never look at a freighter with the same innocent eyes again. I read this book during the 2020 Covid-19 "stay-in" and it really gave my mind a great "get away" from the 24/7 news. I highly recommend it.
5.0 out of 5 starsThe sea and all the stories it hold
Reviewed in the United States on April 29, 2012
This is a very well written book that will put you as the reader into the boots of young Jack and let you see the high seas through his eyes. The writing is very detailed, thoughtful, and so vivid that I could almost smell the salty sea air and imagine oil stains on my hands. This book is probably also unique in it recounting of a more contemporary experience at sea in a time when there wasn't as much international regulation on shippings and where piracy and murders upon the high seas was still very well alive and thriving. The story give you a very visceral glimpse into a world away from the shores of laws and order where the every day existent is forged by the human will, courage, and sheer determination. A world that was also transitioning from the frontier lawlessness that permeated the lives of those who made their living on the seas since ages long past and moving rapidly to the more rigidly regulated, regimented, and bland life aboard today's super automated, super-size freighters controlled by just a very few international shipping mega-corporations.
If you've always loved those pirate stories and movies, and then wondered how the world ended up with giant cruise ships, this book is an excellent intermediary story that recount the oceans as it was in the mist of that change, and will give you a window into a lost world that will fill in a lot of missing pieces to your perception of history of the high seas. And fortunately the kindle version is also very well priced that you can be sure to get far more entertainment value from reading this book than anything else you could possibly do with that same amount of money. I write very few reviews and felt that this book is definitely worth recommending to other readers.
In this refreshingly honest account by first-time author David Paul Collins, a teenage boy from a good Irish home gets more than he bargained for as he is literally shanghaied onto a cargo ship. Yet his indentured labor turns into an adventure worthy of Captain Ahab's mates, and his longing for family and home is unexpectedly soothed by the camaraderie that only seamen in stormy troubles could attain.
Beginning innocently in Boston on an unremarkable spring day in 1956, Collins's unplanned departure lands him in a rough vessel where everyone else is older and darker--both in spirit and in skin color. Shocked and terrified, young Collins takes us with him through tears and laughter. He faces one impossible challenge after another, and with him we experience the growing pains that literally pull him from a dreamer to a dare-doer as he sails from one exotic harbor to the next.
This book is a literary journey worth taking, a journey as real as a slap on the face, as hot as a stiff swig of rum, as smelly as the hold of an old ship, and as loud as the howling wind in the middle of the Atlantic. Collins writes with a deft hand that doesn't try to smooth over the sailors' coarse language or their sinful habits. Perhaps because he doesn't attempt to make it nice in any way, his tale turns out as deliciously crusty as the salt on the bow railing. It is a fit of writing few oceangoing storytellers have managed to achieve. Bravo! Avraham Azrieli, Author of The Jerusalem Inception
5.0 out of 5 starsShanghaied by David Paul Collins
Reviewed in the United States on February 7, 2012
This book is the journey from naïveté and the idealism of youth to the understanding of life, the foibles and strengths of those around us. And this story happens on steroids. The author sets the hook fast. It is hard to put down. For me it was so descriptive and vivid that I found I was personally taking on the character of Jack Sligo. I felt his love and devotion to his family. I also understood his itch for uncovering his own new adventure. It is a dream every young boy has. (After all, I, too, had run away when I was young, but only for a night, then returned to the comforts of my home and family.) I was shocked when Jack thumbed from New York to Mobile to find that the lying union boss, Bernie, really had not helped him to get a berth; he was only trying to get rid of him. I was sweaty, claustrophobic, and scared in the pitch-black hold. I felt as though it was my knuckles that were thrashed when Fritz' hobnail boots stomped on them. And I came to like and care about the bo'sun who watched out for Jack, teaching him of human nature, protecting him in so many adventurous trials. I was fortunate to read the first draft of this book in 2007. I saw the various iterations, its evolution. I know the author who writes from personal experience. It has given me an additional insight and appreciation of the work from the start. I have kept a personal reading list over the last six decades. I know the books I have read and the impressions they have left. This one is one of the memorable and fun adventures I have read.
Reviewed in the United States on December 31, 2011
Shanghaied is a colorfully-written coming-of-age story about a young boy who was abducted from the docks of Mobile, Alabama and ended up aboard a transport ship bound for South America. If this book was nothing more than pure fiction, it would be a wonderful romp of a read, full of high seas and adventure. That it is based on a true story complete with historical maritime pictures, makes it all the more compelling. David Collins has done a beautiful job of rendering characters who step out of the page and into our lives. His innate sense of story and dialogue paint a vivid picture of a sailor's life in the 1950s. Collins pulls no punches in his storytelling--we see the good and the bad in his characters, but mostly we see that they are all composed of myriad shades of gray as deep and as mysterious as the sea herself. This is a story that rings true on all levels.
5.0 out of 5 starsas a new author David Collins made you feel you were there with Jack Sligo feeling his pain and his joy, a great gift of a story
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 16, 2014
Completely captivated by this story, as a new author David Collins made you feel you were there with Jack Sligo feeling his pain and his joy, a great gift of a story teller. I do hope that there is another book to come from this author, he kept me wanting more.