Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Gentleman Captain

1662: Restoration England. Cromwell is dead, and King Charles II has reclaimed the throne after years of civil war. It is a time of divided allegiances, intrigue, and outright treachery. With rebellion stirring in the Scottish Isles, the hard-pressed sovereign needs men he can trust to sail north and defuse this new threat.
Matthew Quinton is such a man—the second son of a noble royalist family, he is loyal, if inexperienced. Having sunk the first man-of-war under his command within weeks, Matthew is determined to complete his second mission without loss of life or honor. Upon taking command of His Majesty's Ship the Jupiter, the young “gentleman captain” is faced with a resentful crew and has but few on whom he can rely: Kit Farrell, an illiterate commoner with vast seafaring experience, and Phineas Musk, a roguish but steadfast family retainer. As they approach the wild coast of Scotland, Matthew begins to learn the ropes and win the respect of his fellow officers and sailors.
But he has other difficulties on the voyage north: a suspicion that the previous captain of the Jupiter was murdered, a feeling that many among his crew have something to hide, and the growing conviction that betrayal lies closer to home than he had thought.
Mr Davies is the latest entrant to become the next CS Forrester of Hornblower fame. Although we don't normally review works of fiction, this book was submitted for consideration by the publisher. The author makes every attempt to illustrated what conditions onboard a British sailing ship in the 17th Century and makes for an enjoyable read for fans of the historical nautical fiction genre.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

US Navy Warships & Auxiliaries including US Coast Guard

By Steve Bush

216 pages Maritime Books; 2nd Revised Edition (December 2010)
English 1904459439 978-1904459439 8
£7.99 | $12.45
The 2nd Edition of this pocket sized guide to the ships, submarines and aircraft of the US Navy, Military Sealift Command and Ready Reserve Fleet has been expanded to include the ships & aircraft of the US Coast Guard. This reviewer looks forward receiving the next work from Steve Bush and this book does not disappoint. This work is profusely illustrated with color photographs of the ships and aircraft of the US Navy, Military Sealift Command and US Coast Guard covers all but the smallest craft. This book is truly a timely reference tool at an affordable price.

The Fourth Force The Untold Story of the Royal Fleet Auxiliary since 1945

By Geoff Puddefoot
Hardback 256 pages
ISBN: 9781848320468
Seaforth Books October 2009

Set up in August 1905, the Royal Fleet Auxiliary was originally a logistic support organization, part of the Navy proper but run on civilian lines, comprising a miscellaneous and very unglamorous collection of colliers, store ships and harbour craft. Just over a century later it has evolved beyond recognition: its ships compare in size, cost and sophistication with all but the largest warships, and the RFA itself has developed into an essential arm of all three Services. It is truly the ‘Fourth Force’ – as it is known to its own personnel – and without it, the current worldwide deployment of British service men and women would be simply impossible.
 This book charts the veritable revolution that has overtaken the RFA since the end of the Second World War. New technology and techniques reflect the rapid growth in the importance of logistics in modern warfare, while the broadening role of the RFA is to be seen in the history of its operations, many of them little known to the public. Woven together from a combination of technical ship data, official correspondence and personal recollections, it is predominantly about the men and women of the RFA and their stories – an insight into the underreported history of a service whose initials unofficially translate as Ready For Anything.
With at least two more ships from the RFA fleet being withdrawn from service at the time of the writing of this review, this book should be required reading for all figures interested in both peacekeeping and power projection roles.
At various times in its history, the RFA was considered an integral part of British military operations and at other not so much.
Periodical looks at manning the ships with military crews were looked. Also fascinating was a study into a fast replenishment ship in the early 1950s, a concept only the US Navy ever adopted.
The problems with bringing into service with some of the more recent ship types as well as workings of the head office of both a positive and negative nature are examined in a frank and open manner. This frankness is what impressed me with this book, no candy coating.
This book contains an excellent set of lists and data tables ranging from ships to nuclear warheads at sea during the Falklands War.
Fourth Force by Geoff Puddefoot is truly a great book; we certainly hope to see more from him in future.

The Sunshine Coast From Gibsons to Powell River

By Howard White, photos by Keith Thirkell & Others

ISBN 13: 978-1-55017-081-8
ISBN 10: 1-55017-081-3
 Price: $29.95 CAD; $29.95 USD
 8.5 X 11 - 128 pp - 1996
From deep rain forests to logging camps, Indian villages and bustling ports, The Sunshine Coast offers an insider's look at one of the most fascinating regions on the BC coast.
BC's Sunshine Coast is 100 miles of sublimely scenic shoreline just 40 minutes north of Vancouver. Award-winning humorist and Historian Howard White brings his ample experience as a lifelong coast denizen to bear in this fresh look at a unique place and its unique people.
The Sunshine Coast covers the waterfront in words and over 150 full-colour photographs from Gibsons, where the long-running TV series the Beachcombers was filmed, to Powell River, the largest community in the region and home to one of the world's largest pulp and paper mills. Visit Pender Harbour, where some local fishing folk still do their Saturday shopping in motorized "kicker" boats. Drop anchor in Princess Louisa Inlet, where the likes of John Barrymore and Andrew Carnegie once came to marvel at its canyon-like splendour. Stopover in Sechelt, whose name is a remnant of the shi'sha'lh or Sechelt Nation who once occupied the bulk of the Sunshine Coast territory. And sojourn in Roberts Creek, whose patron saint Harry Roberts put the Sunshine Coast on the map when he emblazoned the slogan "The Sunshine Belt" on a freight shed at the nearby steamer dock.
Join Howard White as he explores the rugged area with its reputation for being the maverick among BC's favoured south coast regions. The painters, writers, hermits, handloggers, stumpranchers, trappers, prospectors, fishers and draft dodgers met along the way will find a permanent haven in your heart.
Harbour Publishing wrote this timeless classic in 1996 and makes an enjoyable coffee table. This book has been given to clients by realtors in the region to their clients as it is an excellent compendium of local sights.
Profusely illustrated with photography by Keith Thirkell of West Vancouver BC, the book is more an examination of the modern day Sunshine Coast and not a work of history. The definitive history of the Sunshine Coast is yet to be written.
Illustrated and written about in an eye-pleasing layout, the unofficial trademark of Harbour Publishing, brings to life Gibsons, Sechelt and Pender Harbour.

A Field Guide to Seashells and Shellfish of the Pacific Northwest A user-friendly guide for all ages!

By Rick M. Harbo
ISBN 13: 978-1-55017-417-5
ISBN 10: 1-55017-417-7
 Price: $7.95 CAD; $7.95 USD
 37 x 9 - 2 pp - February 2009
There are few more enjoyable ways to spend a relaxing afternoon than at the seashore collecting ornate seashells. But there is no need to fly away to some exotic tropical locale to begin the fun. If you are in the Pacific Northwest, you will find local beaches as rich in fascinating treasures as any place on earth—or at least you will once you have this handy eight-fold guide to show you where to look and how to identify what you find. Those whose interest in shellfish is mainly gastronomic will also find this waterproof guide an essential tool.
This laminated pamphlet makes the perfect addition to your next trip to the beach.

American Flying Boats and Amphibious Aircraft An Illustrated History

By E.R. Johnson

Print ISBN: 978-0-7864-3974-4
EBook ISBN: 978-0-7864-5708-3
391 photos & illustrations, appendices, glossaries, bibliography, index
384pp. Soft cover (7 x 10) 2010 $49.95

This work is a comprehensive, heavily illustrated history of the many flying boats and amphibious aircraft designed and built in the United States. It is divided into three chronological sections: the early era (1912-1928), the golden era (1928-1945), and the post-war era (1945-present), with historical overviews of each period. Within each section, individual aircraft types are listed in alphabetical order by manufacturer or builder, with historical background, technical specifications, drawings, and one or more photographs. Appendices cover lesser known flying boat and amphibian types as well as various design concepts that never achieved the flying stage.
As a child, this reviewer’s first memory of being in an aircraft was my brother and I getting to sit in the cockpit of a P-5 Marlin at Naval Air Station Whidbey Island during the Vietnam War. As a result, a lifelong fascination with flying boats ensued.
This book is a naval aviation fan's dream; listed are every conceivable craft, military and civil, that were the efforts of US designers and builders, large and small, over the years.
Profusely illustrated with everything from personal watercraft to the famed Pan Am Clippers and PBY Catalinas, the reader will be hard pressed to find more information than that contained in these pages.
Author Johnson has proven once again his excellence in compiling a handy reference tool. This book cannot come more highly recommended.