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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

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  • 4.2 out of 5.0
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Somalia and Piarcy

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.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Story
  • Joshua
  • Waterloo, IL, United States
  • 01-15-14

More of a love story than a story of pirates

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

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.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

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

What three words best describe George K. Wilson’s voice?

Not Scott Brick

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

no way

Any additional comments?

don't waste your credit

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  • Mark T
  • Portland, OR
  • 01-14-14

Just a bit too insufferable for my taste

What was most disappointing about Richard Phillips and Stephan Talty ’s story?

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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EXCITING BOOK

I KNOW THIS BOOK HAS BEEN MADE INTO A MOVIE WITH TOM HANKS AS CAPTAIN PHILLIPS; HOWEVER, I HEARD A REVIEWER WHO HAS SEEN 112 MOVIES SO FAR THIS YEAR AND HE READ THE BOOK, AND STILL GAVE THE SCREENPLAY A 5 STAR. HE SAID, TOM HANKS JUST MADE THIS BOOK COME ALIVE. SO OF COURSE, I HAD TO READ THE BOOK. I CANNOT IMAGINE A MOVIE CAPTURING THE BACK-STORY AND ENDING AS WELL AS THE BOOK, WE WILL SEE. I JUST HAD TO TELL YOU ABOUT THIS "HERO", CAPTAIN PHILLIPS AND HOW BRAVE AND TRUE TO HIMSELF HE WAS THAT ENABLED HIM TO SURVIVE A SOMALIA PIRATE ATTACK OF HIS CARGO SHIP. HE JUST TRICKED THESE KIDS UP ONE SIDE AND DOWN THE OTHER, UNTIL THEY LAUNCHED THE LIFE RAFT AND THEN THE WHOLE FORCE OF THEIR EVIL WAYS TESTED HIS WHOLE CHARACTER. HE SAID, "WE ALL HAVE THIS COURAGE WITHIN US, OURS HAS JUST GONE UNTESTED." "STICK TO YOUR BELIEFS THAT YOU CAN OVERCOME EVIL, EVEN DEATH", YOU STILL WILL WIN. BELIEVE ME, YOUR CREDIT WAS NEVER SPENT BETTER BY PLACING YOUR TRUST IN THIS BOOK. GET READY FOR A RIDE.

12 of 27 people found this review helpful

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Good 1st Person Account of Terror on the Seas

Captain Phillips is in deed a heroe. Very interesting and terrifying experience. I hope you have peace in your life.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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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 1 people found this review helpful

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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 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Joshua
  • Spring Mills, PA, United States
  • 03-23-14

This book could have been so much more.

I bought this book through a 2 for 1 deal, and it is worth half its list price, but not more. It's a very topical treatment of the piracy incident; I'm sure there's some way to make a good nautical pun about it being shallow, for it is.

Captain Phillips, his life, and his family are mildly interesting, so this is a mildly interesting book. An examination of the modern merchant marine: the sailors, their culture, and their lives; the ships: their cargoes, machinery, the dangers of the sea: piracy, modern and historic, the extremity of the culture which creates and tolerates piracy, the lives and families of the pirates; the Navy: its mission regarding piracy, its tactics, the lives and training of the sailors; and finally the economics and politics of modern day piracy; any or all of these topics could be covered in light of this particular incident and would make fascinating reading. Unfortunately, none of these issues are covered, other than in a very shallow, cursory fashion.

I found myself bored, skipping through the book. It's an OK true story about a fascinating incident and if you're focused on Captain Phillips, it does a good job of telling you who he is, where he was, and what he did. But that story is just not all that engrossing, at least not 8 hours worth of engrossing, and I find myself frustrated, deeply curious, and disappointed by this book.

The reading is very adequate, but not inspired. It complements the book well.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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A TRUE AMERICAN HERO

Any additional comments?

Imagine living five days not knowing if you were going to die right now. Over 100 hours of sheer terror. The man is the ultimate stoic. Could have done without the love story (only reason for the 4 not a 5 overall), but some people like that in a story. Glad I read (listened to) the book before seeing the excellent movie. My hat is off to you, Captain, a true American Hero. Do you like true life adventure? Don't miss this fantastic story.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great Story but very repetitive in parts.

This is a very good story and really enjoyed the book once I got to part 2. Part 1 was way too long with way too much background on himself and family. This info did not make a difference knowing all that to hear the story of his Pirate experience. While Captain Phillips was on the ship and experiencing the capture by the pirates the book went on too long about his wife and was very repetitive on what she was going through and how she was handling the situation. The narrator was very good. I enjoyed listening to him. I also saw the movie and there is a lot more information in the book about the time spent on the ship than what is given in the movie.

0 of 1 people found this review helpful