This easy to read (often anecdotal) publication will, for experienced pilots, bring back memories of long forgotten night watches and difficult manoeuvres. The book mixes practice with theory and will find a welcome place in any pilot station.
Nautilus Telegraph's Book of the Month for January 2021. Britain and the Ocean Road was conceived as something of a ‘bridging’ book intended to introduce a general audience to the story of Britain and the sea. The eight shipwrecks are used as historical waypoints to chart how Britain became a maritime and colonial superpower, and they span a huge time frame from 1297 through to 1825.
It’s a thorough work with useful charts and graphs, an interesting selection of photos and a good index. In addition to the facts and figures, Ireland provides analysis and insight, notably arguing provocatively that ‘the situation was never as parlous nor the struggle so evenly balanced as was perceived at the time and has consistently been described since’. It’s a stance that may not prove popular in the Merchant Navy community, but the book is worth a read nevertheless, and readers can make up their own minds after giving Ireland’s arguments a hearing.
Simon Quail’s Gangway stands out for the quality of its writing as well as its tales of maritime adventure. This well-crafted fourth edition now comes with photographs and technical details of all the ships on which the author sailed, so it’s a good moment to pick up a copy if you haven’t read the memoir before.