New and established books will be reviewed here including such novels as I think are relevant. Please use the contact page to make your own suggestions or to contribute reviews.
The Sea and Civilization A Maritime History of the World
By Lincoln Paine The Sea & Civilization is a comprehensive treatment of its subject matterr Because it is so wide ranging on could wish for more detailed treatment of specific topics. However, the broad sweep of early sea travelling and, most importantly, of trade will carry the reader through centuries of the flag following the trade.
Well-illustrated, indexed and with an extensive bibliography this is the foundation work for studying the subject.
Yankee Jack Sails Again, a sentimental journey to the forgotten ports of the Southwest by TONY JAMES
This is the book I have wanted to read since coming across Flatners in Working Boats of Britain by Eric McKee and then visiting the Watchet Boat Museum http://www.wbm.org.uk/index.html. Although a flatty is probably one of the easiest ways of taking a hole in the water and lining it with wood you only need to watch the The Spencer Tracy film Captains Courageous shows how seaworthy a flat-bottomed boat could be and this book which is about a boat and is a tribute to an old-time sailor and shanyty-man, Yankee Jack or or John Short, shows how good a craft a modern reproduction can be.
Not only is this an enjoyable sailing yarn full of interesting and amusing stories but it takes us to an area and an era when small ships were the life-blood of commerce in the Southwest. You will want to visit the forgotten quays for yourself in those magical Cornish, Devon and Somerset estuaries and havens. Topsham, Morwellham, Polperro, Malpas Hayle Clovelly and the others are as evocative as Adlestrop and the rest of the vanished railway stations we used to have. Ironically it was the coming of the railways that led to the eclipse of a lot of these small ports. We can only hope that this book and others like it will aid the rediscovery of this important part of our maritime and national heritage as well as emphasising the joy and fun from simple sailing.
ISBN 0955024323 | £14.95 pbk
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