A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea

A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea

3.4 60
by Richard Phillips
     
 

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"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 fifty-three-year-old Richard Phillips, captain of the Maersk Alabama, the United States-flagged cargo ship which was

Overview

"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 fifty-three-year-old Richard Phillips, captain of the Maersk Alabama, the United States-flagged cargo ship which 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 hostage in exchange for the safety of his crew. Thus began the tense five-day stand-off, 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 Captain's Duty tells the life-and-death drama of the Vermont native who was held captive on a tiny lifeboat off Somalia's anarchic, gun-plagued shores. A story of adventure and courage, it 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.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

In this fascinating, suspenseful first person account of his capture by Somali pirates, which dominated news media for five days in April 2009, captain Phillips brings the growing pirate threat (up 20 percent in 2009's first quarter) to life. An experienced Merchant Marine, Phillips was recently made captain of the cargo vessel Maersk Alabama, and, like all captains, was weary of the threat from pirates: "since 2005... captains had been going out fifty, then one hundred... then six hundred miles" to avoid the Somali coast. His feeling that "if pirates got onboard, it was all over" proves unfortunately correct; it took the armed criminals just five minutes to board the ship and take the bridge. Phillips has a sailor's penchant for the dramatic, which he puts to good use alternating between his own five-day ordeal-replete with Navy SEALs and a daring escape attempt-and the plight of his family in Vermont, watching the drama unfold on cable news. Despite his harrowing experience, Phillips stays afloat with steadfast faith and an unfailing sense of humor that are, ultimately, rewarded. Phillips's story is not just riveting and timely, but also an informative, heartening look at perhaps the least-celebrated branch of the U.S. military, the Merchant Marines.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From the Publisher
"Phillips's story is not just riveting and timely, but also an informative, heartening look at...the Merchant Marines." —Publishers Weekly Starred Review

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781401323806
Publisher:
Hachette Books
Publication date:
04/06/2010
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
8.72(w) x 5.86(h) x 0.96(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

A CAPTAIN'S DUTY

Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea
By RICHARD PHILLIPS Stephan Talty

HYPERION

Copyright © 2010 Richard Phillips
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-1-4013-2380-6


Chapter One

-10 Days

PIRACY FIGURES UP 20 PERCENT IN FIRST QUARTER OF 2009: A total of 36 vessels were boarded and one vessel hijacked. Seven crew members were taken hostage, six kidnapped, three killed and one missing-presumed dead. In the majority of incidents, the attackers were heavily armed with guns or knives. The use and threat of violence against crew members remains unacceptably high.... Waters around Somalia continue to be notorious for hijacking of vessels and the abduction of crew for ransom.

-ICC International Maritime Bureau Piracy Report, First Quarter, 2009

Ten days before, I'd been enjoying my last meal stateside with my wife, Andrea, in one of the most beautiful towns in Vermont. All you see from the front door of my converted farmhouse are rolling green hills, munching cows, and more rolling hills. Underhill is the kind of Vermont town where young farmers propose to their local sweethearts by spray-painting RACHEL, WILL YOU MARRY ME? on bales of hay. It's a place where you can walk for three minutes and be lost in a forest so deep and thick and silent you'd think you're going to trip over Daniel Boone. We have two general stores and one Catholic church, St. Thomas, and the occasional tourist up from Manhattan. It's as different from the ocean as the other side of the moon is, and I love that. It's like I get to live two completely different lives.

As a merchant mariner, I often work three months on and three months off. When I come home, I forget about the sea. I'm 100 percent into being a dad and husband. When our kids, Dan and Mariah, were young, from the moment they got up to the minute they went to bed, I'd take care of them. Neighbors and friends would ask me to babysit, so I'd have five or six kids in tow. I'd make dinner: French toast by candlelight, my specialty. I'd do Rich's Homework Club. I'd take the kids on class trips. Whatever I do, work or home life, I do with everything I have.

When I leave my family, it's for a long time. You need to do something special for them before you ship out, because it might be the last time you see them. When he was growing up, my son, Dan, would goad me, "Oh, I don't have a dad. He's never home. Guess he doesn't love me." We'd laugh about it-Dan is exactly like I was when I was nineteen: a smart aleck who will find your weakness and hammer it home until you give in and laugh. But what he said about my never being there would come back to haunt me. Because there's a kernel of truth there. My daughter, Mariah, and Dan would see me every day for three months and then I would be gone to some far-flung corner of the world. It didn't matter to them that there were other merchant mariners who stayed onboard even longer than I did, that I knew one guy, a radio operator, who was aboard one ship for two years straight.

As a sailor, you have to put your real life on your kitchen shelf and pick up your merchant marine life. Because on the job, you barely have a personal life. You're on call twenty-four hours a day to do whatever the ship needs. You eat and sleep and work and that's pretty much it. It's like you've died and gone to sea. Then you come back and take your real life off the shelf and start living it again.

You develop rituals to get through the transition from land to sea. Sailors have a phrase, "crossing the bar," which means leaving harbor for the unknown on the oceans (it also can refer to the death of a sailor), and you have to get yourself mentally prepared to go across. It's a stressful time when fears start creeping into the minds of your loved ones. It was probably the dangers of my job that were on Andrea's mind that cold March-pirates, rogue waves, desperate people in third-world ports. All the while, I'd be thinking like a captain, running through a checklist with a thousand things on it: What repairs do I need to see to? Are the guys on my crew dependable? I used to start doing this a month before I left, which would drive Andrea around the bend. Now, after thirty years at sea, I wait until I hit the deck of my ship.

Andrea and I have a tradition when I'm getting ready to leave. First, we argue. About nothing at all. In the weeks leading up to my leaving, Andrea and I always have arguments about little things, about the car or the weather or her hitting her head on the old ship's bell that hangs near the clothesline in our backyard. She must have smacked it three or four times while putting up fresh laundry to dry, and she always comes in and yells at me to take it down. (It's still up there, too-sentimental value.) But in those weeks before a job, we get on each other's nerves, which is nothing more than her being anxious about my leaving and me being anxious about leaving her.

* * *

Andrea is an emergency room nurse at a hospital in Burlington and she's a fierce, opinionated, loving Italian girl from Vermont. I love her to death. We'd met in a Boston dive bar, the Cask 'n Flagon, down near Kenmore Square, when she was in nursing school and I'd been around the world a few times already as a young sailor. I noticed this cute frizzy-haired brunette girl sitting at the bar, and I just had to talk to her. Andrea was talking with the bartender, since they'd just discovered they had mutual friends. Then, as she tells it, this tall guy with a beard appeared out of nowhere and sat down next to her.

"You have a problem," I said.

Andrea thought, Well, he's cute enough. I'll play along.

"What's that?" she said.

"Being the best-looking woman in every room you walk into."

"Thanks," she said. "There are three women in here. Not a huge compliment."

I laughed and stuck out my hand.

"I'm Rich," I said. "As in 'filthy.'" That was one of my better lines in the early eighties.

Andrea cracked up. Then she let me buy her a drink.

Years later, after we were married, Andrea told me that she thought I was funny and easy to talk to. Like most people's, her only knowledge of the merchant marine came from Humphrey Bogart movies. I guess that's why she let me tell her so many stories. "You made it sound intriguing," she said.

After we met, I had to ship out and Andrea didn't hear from me again for months. She moved to a new apartment after her first year at nursing school. Then one night at about 1 a.m., there was a rap on her door. When she opened it, there I was, smiling like I'd won the lottery. She was floored. She figured I must have walked all over Boston, trying to find her new address. She wasn't far off.

Andrea was twenty-five and very focused on school. Nursing was going to be her life. I was on her radar, but only a blip on the edge of the screen. I would ship out and she would get postcards and then letters from these ports all over the world. Then I'd come back to Boston and take her out to dinner and the movies and pick her and her friends up at seven a.m. the next morning and drive them to their first classes. All the while, I'd have a new batch of stories to tell her about storms off Cape Hatteras or typhoons or good or crazy shipmates.

To me, it was just life on the seas. But she loved getting the postcards and the sudden reunions. "It was romantic," Andrea says to this day. "It really was."

* * *

The night before I shipped out for the Maersk Alabama, Andrea and I jumped in our car and went to our favorite restaurant, a place called Euro, in the nearby town of Essex. Andrea had the shrimp scampi and I had the seafood medley and we drank a bottle of red wine we brought with us. It's cheaper that way. I'm three quarters Irish and one quarter Yankee, but that one quarter controls the money. I've been known to be tight with a dollar, and I don't mind saying so.

The next day, March 28, Andrea dropped me at the airport, like she always did. There was nothing out of the ordinary in those last hours together. "Everything is going to be fine," I said. "I'm sure you're going to get a blizzard as soon as I leave, so just think of me lounging on deck in the hot sun." I love snow. There's nothing I like more than looking out my back window at the fields and trees covered in white. She laughed. "See you in June," she said and gave me a kiss. She usually stays until my flight leaves; that's a tradition that started when Mariah and Dan were young. They would stand at the window watching my flight take off and wave at their daddy, just milking that last moment of togetherness for everything it was worth. But the kids were in college now and Andrea was on her way to work and she couldn't wait. It was the first time that ever happened. I thought about that later.

* * *

I love the sea and being a merchant mariner, but you meet a lot of oddballs on ships. I think a lot of it has to do with leaving people behind for so long. It can mess up your head. Marriages break up. Girlfriends find new guys. Sailors get "Dear John" e-mails in the middle of the night on some lonely stretch of water miles from anywhere. Sometimes, a crew member will disappear, just jump overboard in the middle of the ocean, never to be found. A lot of it has to do with the strain that comes from being away from loved ones.

Merchant mariners always talk about Jodie. Jodie's the guy who's at home screwing your wife while you're out on a ship. He's eating your food, driving your car, chugging your beer. Jodie's going to be sitting on your couch when you arrive home, asking, "Who are you?" When a guy calls his wife and she doesn't answer, we tell him, "She's out with Jodie." As much as we joke about it, Jodie is all too real. Guys get home and their apartment is cleaned out, their bank balance reads zero, and their fiancée is gone without leaving a note. It happens to some sailors over and over again. Every time I heard about Jodie it made me feel more thankful that I had Andrea at home. Jodie never visited my house.

But I'm not going to lie, some sailors just start out crazy-especially the cooks. I'm convinced there are very few normal, well-adjusted cooks in the entire U.S. Merchant Marine. Not one, except for my brother-in-law, Dave. But you do have your share of eccentrics among the rest of the crew, too. I've served under an old-salt captain named Port-and-Starboard Peterson who in fog as thick as pea soup would refuse to use radar because it would hypnotize you into crashing into another ship. The radar was evil, you see. One guy wore half a mustache for an entire three-month trip. Another demanded to be called Polar Bear when we sailed toward the North Pole and Penguin when we went toward the South Pole. This guy collected so many T-shirts from the different ports that you could barely push open the door to his quarters. I knew another seaman who showed up at the boat wearing a wolf-skin coat with the head still attached. Sailors are a breed apart, that's for sure.

It's been that way forever. The merchant marine is the first of the nation's services. We were founded in 1775, before the army and the navy. In all our wars, including World War II, guys who just couldn't live with the navy's regulations ended up onboard cargo ships. They didn't see the point of having a crease in their dungarees or saluting every officer onboard; they just weren't made that way. It's no accident that many of the Beat writers like Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg were former seamen. The need to wander and the need to rebel go hand in hand. We're a bunch of misfits and renegades and damn good seamen.

When I'm taking ships from port to port, books on the history of the merchant marine or World War II are always piled by my bunk. We were the first to die in World War II-seventeen minutes before the attack on Pearl Harbor, a Japanese sub strafed the lumber hauler SS Cynthia Olson and sank it, over 1,000 miles north of Honolulu. Thirty-three sailors jumped into lifeboats but were never seen again, because all hell was breaking loose on navy ships a thousand miles away. And the merchant marine suffered more casualties than any other service in World War II. One in every twenty-six sailors died while doing his duty. Crewmen torpedoed along the Atlantic coast drowned in engine oil while sunbathers watched from the shore. Men in the North Atlantic froze solid to the floors of their lifeboats after their tankers went down. Enormous five-hundred-foot ships carrying ammunition and dynamite to the front lines were torpedoed, blowing up in explosions so violent they never found a trace of the tons of metal or the hundreds of men aboard. They just disappeared into thin air. Which is fitting, really. The merchant marine has always been the invisible service, the guys who brought the tanks to Normandy, the bullets to Okinawa, but no one ever remembers us. What General Douglas MacArthur said was true: "They brought us our lifeblood and paid for it with their own." But when the boys from the cargo ships went home, there were no ticker-tape parades, no G.I. Bill, nothing like that. They're still trying to get recognition so they can live out their lives with dignity. There's a bill before Congress that will guarantee them standing as World War II veterans and pay them a small stipend, but it's taking so long to get through the political process that most of the guys will be dead before it's passed. That's a shame.

When I was coming up in the service, I met guys who'd served in World War II and had ships shot out from beneath them. And I remember what one guy told me: "I was in the merchant marine when the war broke out and I saw ships going down left and right. I got so scared I joined the navy." He was just playing the odds. Being a merchant mariner was a good way to meet your maker in those days.

A lot of us have a chip on our shoulder. We're patriots. We have a proud tradition. We're rugged individualists with a few mixed nuts thrown in to keep it interesting.

But we never make the headlines.

* * *

On that trip to the Maersk Alabama, I had one of those history books packed in my carry-on luggage, but I sat on the plane thinking about what I had to do once I got aboard. My flight left at 3 p.m. I was headed to Salalah, Oman, on the east coast of the Arabian Peninsula, where the ship was loading up its cargo holds. I've flown as long as forty-two hours to get to a ship, and this time the journey was nothing unusual: Burlington to Washington, D.C., D.C. to Zurich, Zurich to Muscat, Oman, where I crashed at a hotel for ten hours. The next morning, I headed straight back to the airport for the flight to Salalah. I left Vermont on March 28 and arrived at my destination on the thirtieth. Wherever there's work as a merchant mariner, you go. Joining me on the trip was Shane, my chief mate and an able-bodied seaman, who was also headed to the Maersk Alabama.

I rolled out of bed on March 30, my brain cloudy from jet lag, and jumped in a car that took me to my ship. The Maersk Alabama was sitting at the dockside, its two cranes swinging containers onto the deck, when I walked up the gangway, boarded the ship, and went up to my office to meet the relieving captain, who debriefed me on what was going on. The captain left and I dumped my gear in my quarters, which were connected to an office, one floor below the bridge on the starboard side. To get from my room to the ship's bridge, all I would have to do is walk down the hallway to the center door. Opening it, I'd be in the chimney, or central ladder way. One flight up and I'd be on the bridge, the command center for the whole ship.

The house was what we call the seven-story superstructure at the stern (or rear) of the ship. A small condolike structure, it contained our living quarters, our mess hall, and our hospital. The top level was the bridge, where large windows ran from the ceiling to about waist-high and were met by a metal wainscoting that dropped to a special antifatigue rubber floor. (Watches are kept on the bridge, where a mate and an AB, or able-bodied seaman, are constantly scanning the horizon, so you want them to stay alert.) It looked like a greenhouse in there, with views for miles in every direction. In the middle of the bridge was the conning station-that's where we steer the ship from-and a flat electronic console filled with navigation aids. That's where you'd find the radar. Radar doesn't look like the cathode tube setup you see in Humphrey Bogart movies. These days it looks more like a TV, with ships still appearing as a small blip, but now with data streaming down the right side of the screen: the speed of any vessels, CPA (closest point of approach, which tells you the point at which you're going to intersect with that approaching ship), and time to CPA. On the port side stood a chart table, where the second mate-the office man on a ship-does his work. There was a GMDSS, or Global Maritime Distress and Safety System, which gave us continuous weather updates, a small electronic station, which replaced the traditional radio operator, and a computer.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from A CAPTAIN'S DUTY by RICHARD PHILLIPS Stephan Talty Copyright © 2010 by Richard Phillips. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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From the Publisher
"Phillips's story is not just riveting and timely, but also an informative, heartening look at...the Merchant Marines." —-Publishers Weekly Starred Review

Meet the Author

Captain Richard Phillips grew up in Underhill VT, with seven brothers and sisters. He married Andrea Coggio in 1988—she is an emergency room nurse—and together they have two children. Phillips is a 1979 graduate of the Massachusetts Maritime Academy and became captain of the MV Maersk Alabama in 2009.

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Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 60 reviews.
Eldridges More than 1 year ago
My husband and I both thoroughly enjoyed Capt. Phillips' story. It is a well-written book about bravery and modern-day piracy. We just read the review by "anonymous" and had to wonder, "Why the anonymity?" Never trust anonymous reviews (or a pirate, according to Richard Phillips!) We wouldn't hesitate to recommend this book. Captivating!
feather_lashes More than 1 year ago
A Captain’s Duty is the first biography I have ever read but it felt like a work of fiction because it was hard to believe Captain Richard Phillips’ experience actually happens far more often than we hear about. I learned a lot about merchant mariners and the risks they face daily out at sea transporting goods in an effort to keep our store shelves stocked. It’s a shame more awareness isn’t brought to this profession. “The merchant marine is the first of the nation's services. We were founded in 1775, before the army and the navy. In all our wars, including World War II, guys who just couldn't live with the navy's regulations ended up onboard cargo ships…We were the first to die in World War II—seventeen minutes before the attack on Pearl Harbor, a Japanese sub strafed the lumber hauler SS Cynthia Olson and sank it, over 1,000 miles north of Honolulu. Thirty-three sailors jumped into lifeboats but were never seen again, because all hell was breaking loose on navy ships a thousand miles away. And the merchant marine suffered more casualties than any other service in World War II. One in every twenty-six sailors died while doing his duty. Crewmen torpedoed along the Atlantic coast drowned in engine oil while sunbathers watched from the shore. Men in the North Atlantic froze solid to the floors of their lifeboats after their tankers went down. Enormous five-hundred-foot ships carrying ammunition and dynamite to the front lines were torpedoed, blowing up in explosions so violent they never found a trace of the tons of metal or the hundreds of men aboard. They just disappeared into thin air. Which is fitting, really. The merchant marine has always been the invisible service, the guys who brought the tanks to Normandy, the bullets to Okinawa, but no one ever remembers us. What General Douglas MacArthur said was true: "They brought us our lifeblood and paid for it with their own." According to this book, “There's a bill before Congress that will guarantee these men standing as World War II veterans and pay them a small stipend, but it's taking so long to get through the political process that most of the guys will be dead before it's passed. That's a shame.” A Captain’s Duty brought awareness to modern high seas piracy and the lengths pirates will go to get money: hijacking ships, kidnapping/ransom, and violence/execution. The fact that piracy is linked with terrorist groups was news to me as well. I thought A Captain’s Duty was a well written account of Captain Phillips’ experience. It was engaging and I wanted to read about the experience from Captain Phillips himself (who wrote this book, along with journalist Stephan Talty) before seeing how Hollywood portrays the experience. I was glad the book incorporated what his wife, family, and friends also went through at home while this was happening. I have always admired families of military personnel for their strength and emotional endurance. This book noted that families of merchant mariners experience the same emotional demands. When it comes to the threat of danger, it’s “Not a matter of if but when.” My favorite quotes: “As a sailor, you have to put your real life on your kitchen shelf and pick up your merchant marine life. Because on the job, you barely have a personal life. You're on call twenty-four hours a day to do whatever the ship needs. You eat and sleep and work and that's pretty much it. It's like you've died and gone to sea. Then you come back and take your real life off the shelf and start living it again.” “The pirates had guns, we didn’t. All we had to fight them were brains and willpower.” “We are stronger than we think.”
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love reading true stories and this one is a real page turner. I could not put this book down once I started it. really keeps you going. and I have to say "Proud to be an American"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oh come on! Can't we have a true hero in America? Actually, many of the crew were very brave, outstanding! Even if the captains' memory was formed by extreeme stress, his point of view-you know-that view you get when you believe you are not going to live much longer and the huge responsibility he felt for those on the ship, so what?! The facts are solid, and there is not a chance those 4 pirates would have had so much difficulty if he had not acted quickly, made hard decisions and always looked to give them money and get them gone. I remember following this as the news broke and cheering as the outcome was good. I didn't know all the details but suspected that he was a cut above when he attempted the escape. The story is so incredibly rich and covers so much, the very idea of people becoming pirates, taking over ships for ransom money is incredible. I don't have a lot of sympathy for them as they followed a leader to make a quick buck and of course, the US is to blame for corrupting their fishing.Maybe they should lay off the drugs? If the US ruined something of theirs, why can't these guys can't register a complaint with the UN and expect an answer and changes made? We need to have an equalizing party that ensures no one is harmed by anothers' actions or disregard. They have to have an alternative to this madness and I don't know that they do. I also question why the US patrols were not closer with a quicker response time? It seemed they came around after the harm, all of thecrew could have been dead and then what? A little proactive placement goes a long way.Cudos to the crew, the sharpshooters and those who organized that whole rescue and to Captain Phillips, he has shown a character that is worthy of his station-you know, they don't make just anyone captain of large ships. I will remember your name Captain and tell the story to my yet to be grand kids.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Much better than the movie!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A very detailed account of captain phillips days with somali pirates. The movie is good but the book is better. I highly reccomend it to anyone who is in fir a good thrill.
NEHoosier More than 1 year ago
Capt Phillips discussion of his ship, his crew, the terrorist attack/boarding, the lifeboat saga and the rescue is straight forward and informative. Not ego driven, a good picture of a ship captain's responsibilities and accountabilities.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very engaging, especially since it was a true story.
Grady7Jenkins More than 1 year ago
Totally absorbing. Full of details I didn't know about the hijacking of the Maersk Alabama. Highly recommended.
Arconna More than 1 year ago
I'd love to leave an actual review here, but 3,500 characters is not enough to leave anything substantial.  So I'll just put my truncated, completely useless version here: 1) The book is at its best when it addresses Phillips' personal view of the piracy situation in the waters surrounding Somalia or his view of the merchant mariners.  These sections can sometimes be somewhat dull, though, as he has a tendency to provide too much detail about things which aren't really relevant to the picture the book needs to establish. 2) Unfortunately, once the actual hijacking occurs, Phillips' account strains credulity.  There are contradictions (the pirates let him swim; several chapters later, he says they never did).  Worse, the pirates, who we're told are quite good at piracy, despite limited resources, are shown to be inept beyond reason, such that the entire account of their movements is difficult to accept as factual.  For example, Phillips repeatedly uses a handheld radio to communicate with the crew; he claims to have "snuck this" by the pirates, but he never uses it when they aren't present, so it's hard to imagine that they never saw him giving away sensitive information to the crew he claims to have lost.  Later, he literally uses the radio in front of them so there's no doubt that they know he has it; this is the moment when he hands over sensitive information _to the military_. That's basically what I have to say on that.  The first half is decent, but it falls apart the second he tries to relay the events which made the book possible in the first place.  Non-fiction needs to at least present the illusion of truth.
nookfan87 More than 1 year ago
It's a great story that definitely drags at certain points. If you're familiar with the story, it's fun to read all about how it went down, from the Captain's POV. I recommend it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found A Captain's Duty to be a very well written story by Richard Phillips. This biography of an intense situation truly put the reader in the captain's shoes. While reading the book I felt as if the pirates were after me and I constantly found myself yelling at Captain Phillips to change his course of actions. I highly recommend this book to any and all that are into foreign affairs and high intensity action. This story truly puts in perspective how hard a Captain's job is with what little they have to protect them. Lastly, no matter the controversy over the truth behind the story, It is very well written with wonderful imagery that makes this book worth the read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well remembered and unforgetable ordeal
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Could not put it down!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Is it? O—O
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Have the paperback... SO FR<_>EAKI<_>NG GOOD
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book. I think the movie is good too. I have so much respect for the navy SEALS. <3=]
JollyFriar More than 1 year ago
Having sailed blue water for over 23-years, I am proud to be a member of the seagoing fraternity of which Captain Richard Phillips is a member.
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