Customer Reviews


9 Reviews
5 star:
 (8)
4 star:    (0)
3 star:    (0)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Edition
There are many editions of Slocum's book enough for experienced sailor and novice alike. Mr. Scher provides an alternative and expanded version with enough interesting and varied annotations to appeal to those unfamiliar with Slocum's achievements.
I think it will especially appeal to teachers desiring their students to see history in context. I gave an endorsement...
Published on June 2, 2009 by Patricia Wood

versus
67 of 77 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A politically-correct sermon, unfortunately
Different people read the same book for different reasons. Slocum's `Sailing Alone Around the World' (SAATW), has been a genre-defining classic since it was first published in 1900. I have read it many times since childhood; and yet there are plenty of people today, in each succeeding generation, who discover it afresh for the first time. So, as someone very familiar with...
Published on May 27, 2009 by Michael Martel


Most Helpful First | Newest First

67 of 77 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A politically-correct sermon, unfortunately, May 27, 2009
This review is from: Annotated Sailing Alone Around The World (Paperback)
Different people read the same book for different reasons. Slocum's `Sailing Alone Around the World' (SAATW), has been a genre-defining classic since it was first published in 1900. I have read it many times since childhood; and yet there are plenty of people today, in each succeeding generation, who discover it afresh for the first time. So, as someone very familiar with Slocum, I will read this annotated version in the hope that it will shed new light on Slocum, his voyage, the times he lived in, and his motivations. I am hoping that the annotator will reveal a new angle, a new wrinkle or fact that I have not noticed before. It's different for the first-time reader, who becomes engrossed in a yarn that transports them back to the end of the 19th Century, on a small-boat voyage around the world in an age very much different from our own. The reader also wants to remain there for the duration of the voyage, with the marginal notes to help him or her understand it better. Rod Scher disappoints both of us.

Slocum avoided nautical jargon as much as possible to make his book attractive to the non-sailor and to appeal to the widest audience; but there is still nautical language in there that needs explaining. Scher does a decent job of it, explaining even the simplest terms. But beyond that, the book has many problems. I have referenced a few pages where the notes support my assertions, but there are many more examples not cited here.

The main problem with Scher's annotated version is that instead of enlightening us, he turns the book into a politically-correct diatribe, branding Slocum a bigot (pp. 20, 34), implying that he was a pervert or sexual predator (p. 209), and raging against "white men" (p. 41) and perceived Caucasian male chauvinism in sometimes half-page-length margin notes that occasionally turn the stomach. One gets the impression that Scher doesn't like Slocum; but in truth he doesn't understand him or his world. Scher is determined to judge Captain Slocum and his era by today's 21st Century `progressive' politics. That doesn't help me understand Slocum or his world any better, and it certainly will do nothing for the reader who is new to SAATW.

Scher doesn't let the reader remain in the past, either, and this is generally a no-no. He constantly references the present, e.g., p. 72, "At press time, AP reports that piracy attacks..." (Also examples on pp. 51, 77, and on p. 54 he talks about surviving the age of `disco' in a lame attempt at humor) and at one point recommends and references a 2006 book by Richard Lynn on global racial differences in cognitive ability. Controversial professor Lynn has been accused of misrepresenting the work of other scientists' studies, racism, distortion, and conclusions drawn from extremely poor and very limited samples.

Scher likes to sermonize. On page 72, talking about the wild Fuegians who at least once attempted to rob and butcher Slocum as they had already done to the crew of a stranded schooner in the Straits of Magellan, Scher basically says that the Fuegians aren't really cruel at all, that's our cultural bias, they're simply misunderstood. Scher also calls Slocum `jingoistic' (p. 20) because Slocum makes a disparaging remark about Spaniards. Scher forgets that the United States was on the eve of war with Spain and that public sentiment against Spain was high. Slocum was probably simply currying favor with his readers. But Scher's assessment of Slocum as a bigot lacks credibility. Slocum was a seasoned sea captain who had spent his life taking vessels in and out of ports around the world. If any man of that time was world-wise and cosmopolitan, it was Joshua Slocum. On page 65, he calls Slocum "jingoistic, patronizing, and narrow-minded when it came to people of other races and nations." This is a bold-faced lie, or at the very least the vituperative outburst of an agenda-driven demagogue.

Everyone who has read Slocum knows that he had an eye for the ladies. Most fellows, I think, would see nothing particularly wrong with this. But Rod Scher paints for us the image of a leering, lecherous Slocum with a dirty mind (pp. 49 and especially 209). He labels Slocum "smarmy and condescending" toward women (p. 97), a very blatant mischaracterization. Slocum was gentlemanly and considerate toward women, had a healthy libido, and possessed an old-fashioned charm that drew the attention of many women to him, not the least of them Mabel Wagnalls, scion of the publishing empire.

I have to take issue also with a couple of items - the occasional filler "In the News" blocks in the margins. They are probably meant to give us a `window' into the 1890's, but most of them seem to be news clips of odd happenings in the papers of the time. They shed little light on Slocum's voyage or the influences shaping him. For example, p. 111, `In The News', a Massachusetts politician dies of a heart attack while on a fishing trip to Canada. It has no apparent relevance to Slocum.

Scher likes to speculate - and often incorrectly. On page 22, Slocum makes a quirky comment about porpoises following ships - and jokes that they seem to prefer sailing ships to steamers (as does Slocum). Scher then embarks on a wild hypothesis about the size of steamship propellers and that porpoises naturally want to avoid getting caught up in them, especially today since ship propellers are even bigger than ever. Well, I would wager that Scher has never been to sea in a ship, as this reviewer has. Porpoises `follow' a ship by swimming near the bow, where the shadow of the ship will startle prey in the water. It may surprise Scher to learn that porpoises are carnivores and do not eat granola or arugula. They don't swim near the propellers or in the turbulent wake, where there would be no prey, and following a ship has nothing to do with porpoises' need to palliate loneliness at sea by seeking the comfort of ships and men. Scher must have assumed that `following' a ship meant in the literal sense.

Perhaps the biggest head-scratcher in the book - and this was almost amusing - was Scher's note on p. 184. Slocum writes that "Ascension Island...is called the Stone Frigate, R.N. (as in a Royal Navy ship) and is rated "tender" to the South African squadron." Slocum goes on to say that it is a "strategic point" where Royal Navy ships stop to fill their water tanks. "Tender" is a common term for a supply ship that "tends" to the needs of the fleet, e.g., coaling, oiling, watering, provisioning. Scher misses this completely and goes on to apply another meaning of `tender' - as in a sailboat's tendency to `heel' to either side, and suggest that because the island is volcanic, it is unstable, and "moving more often and more easily than one would assume that a piece of land should move." Huh? Slocum said that the island was rated "tender" TO the fleet, not BY the fleet. So Scher not only mis-read Slocum, but then advanced a far-fetched, nonsensical explanation to an easily-understood humorous quip by Slocum in the familiar island-resembles-a-ship metaphor.

Unfortunately, Scher's lack of knowledge and the infusion of his political agenda into what should have been - and otherwise could have been - an informative and enlightening annotated SAATW turns out instead to be an unscholarly hodgepodge shot-through with politically-correct sermonizing in an annoyingly condescending tone, mis-read passages, exaggerations, and outright falsehoods. The opportunity for something very good has been spoiled, and Slocum himself and his wonderful book done a disservice by a misinformed, elitist, opinionated author who understands neither his subject, nor the times in which Slocum lived. In the parlance of my airline pilot friend Joe, this book is a `wave-off'.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful Edition, June 2, 2009
This review is from: Annotated Sailing Alone Around The World (Paperback)
There are many editions of Slocum's book enough for experienced sailor and novice alike. Mr. Scher provides an alternative and expanded version with enough interesting and varied annotations to appeal to those unfamiliar with Slocum's achievements.
I think it will especially appeal to teachers desiring their students to see history in context. I gave an endorsement of this book for that very reason.
Alas, not everyone will be pleased with this even handed treatment of Slocum, but it is, in my opinion, a delightful glimpse into a fascinating era. Pick it up. You will be glad you did.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sailing Alone Around the World, Ed. Rod Scher, June 22, 2009
This review is from: Annotated Sailing Alone Around The World (Paperback)
This book captures much the same adventure and raw daring as did Thor Heyerdahl's Kon Tiki, although this book came far earlier. Scher's capable handling of subject matter gives the reader ready context and clarifying explantion of the subject matter from practical and historical perspectives. A must-read for any sailor, would-be seaman, or thrill-seeker who appreciates the immense risk Slocum courted in facing the open seas solo, in a boat expertly fashioned by his own hands.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars MY BIBLE, February 14, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Annotated Sailing Alone Around The World (Paperback)
When I am cruising or delivering a boat anywhere, I always carry a PFD, my harness, my good-luck Air Mole, and my dog-eared copy of SLOCUM. THE BEST sea story of all time. Lots of wonderful pages of fantastic tales. A must read for anyone contemplating a sea voyage. This book is pretty good at explaining things the average reader might not quite get. There are however a few mistakes. Scher doesn't know what knightheads are for instance. But over-all, I enjoyed it, especially having the news references of what else was going on in the same years.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read!, June 3, 2009
By 
Mike (Kingston, WA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Annotated Sailing Alone Around The World (Paperback)
One of the strengths of this book is how Rod Scher historically and technically "frames" Slocum's account. When you read Slocum's words, Scher gives you context, and when needed, explanation. As an almost life-long boater (I started sailing in my early teens on San Francisco Bay) and now a licensed mariner with many years of professional experience, I can easily say that Scher's nautical knowledge is right on. I even found myself checking a term or two, and Scher was correct.
But beyond this, this annotation rekindled my interest in Slocum's grand voyage.
A good read, a good buy, which even The Joshua Slocum Society attests by placing Scher's edition at the top of its recommended reading list.
Go read!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating literary adventure, June 7, 2009
This review is from: Annotated Sailing Alone Around The World (Paperback)
I thoroughly enjoyed Rod Scher's annotated account of Joshua Slocum's incredible journey. The annotations contributed greatly to my comprehension of Capt. Slocum's original work. Without the benefit of Mr. Scher's wonderful annotations, I would have missed ironic (and sardonic) subtleties within Slocum's original narrative, which were quite delicious. Scher's sparkling wit is also evident in the annotations, which further enhances the read. Absolutely delightful.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting perspective on a very salty dog, May 12, 2010
This review is from: Annotated Sailing Alone Around The World (Paperback)
I'm not a sailing guy. Never spent more than a couple hours in a boat. Needless to say, it blows my mind to think of someone sailing around the entire world. That's actually what drew me to Slocum's story. How the heck can someone do that, and do it 100 years ago at that?

I really liked Rod Scher's annotations because, frankly, a quarter (or more) of what Slocum is talking about is lost on me. Scher's juxtaposing of some world events along with the text is interesting, as well. We're connected to the world and what is going on 24/7 from anywhere, and it's really weird to think that Slocum wouldn't have heard about world events until, say, months after they happened -- if he cared.

I can't speak from the seaman's perspective, but as a landlubber, I'd recommend this story.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A solid pick for those who enjoy true-life nautical adventures, September 16, 2009
This review is from: Annotated Sailing Alone Around The World (Paperback)
One man did what many thought was insane - sail around the world. He took it one step further and did it alone. "The Annotated Sailing Alone Around the World" presents Joshua Slocum's epic voyage with notes and research from Rod Scher, giving greater depth to Slocum's writings and logs of his lonely voyage around the planet. "The Annotated Sailing Alone Around the World" is a solid pick for those who enjoy true-life nautical adventures.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who says you can't learn to be an expert sailor just by reading a book?, March 16, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Annotated Sailing Alone Around The World (Paperback)
Every sailor who dreams of blue water needs this book. Actually can enjoy much better understanding than just re-reading the original. So this is more armchair sailor fare than guide. . . But you will have the confidence needed just by conducting a thorough study of this book!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

Annotated Sailing Alone Around The World
Annotated Sailing Alone Around The World by Joshua Slocum (Paperback - March 1, 2009)
$19.95 $16.28
In Stock
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.