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

4.5 out of 5 stars 494 customer reviews

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By Richard A. Madden on April 6, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are very few books that I've "had" to have the first day out - this was one - and it didn't disappoint! This book is a good window into the life of a merchant seaman in general and specifically into life on a ship running along the East coast of Africa. It was very interesting to understand the thought process of Capt Phillips while under attack and during his time as a hostage. Best wishes to Captain Phillips and his family!

Rich Madden
Chief Mate, Maersk Alabama
Anchored off Djibouti
07 April 2010
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Format: Hardcover
This is a great book on several levels.
1 - It shows you how much you depend on the Merchant Marine whether you know it or not. That TV from China did not get here by itself.
2 - It shows what you can accomplish when you have a strong sense of duty, no matter the risks.
3 - It shows that a SEAL team is not a group of people to be trifled with (I hope you already knew that)

I read this book cover to cover in two sittings. My dad was in the USCG and the Merchant Marine so I connected with it right away. I also had a good friend that went to Massachusetts Maritime Academy before he died much too young. When I read Captain Phillips book, I could hear the New England accent and my friend's laugh. Just from the picture on the cover you get the idea that this is a guy when he tells you something you probably should listen. He was not operating with false bravado, nor was he trying to show off - he really was performing A Captain's Duty. He also generously doles out praise for his crew, the Navy, the SEAL team, and everybody that said prayers for him and his family. This is the story of a remarkably composed guy thrown into an awful situation and what he was able to accomplish by not giving in to fear and panic. I hope two things after reading this book. One is that I am never in a situation that resembles anything like this and second, if I am that I can be at least half as composed as Captain Phillips.
He does not claim to be a hero, he does not claim to have done anything that anyone else could not do - as a matter of fact he points out that anybody could do what he did if put in the same situation. I beg to differ, but I will take him at his word. It is good to know that there are still a few REAL MEN left.
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Format: Hardcover
I, too, watched with rapt attention last year when this situation went down, wondering how in hell this would be resolved. I cheered when the crawler came across the screen on Larry King Live that Richard had been rescued and that the amazing Navy Seals had done their gig to perfection.

This book was very well-written and entirely suspenseful even though the reader already knew the outcome. Kudos to Mr. Phillips and his crew for holding it all together during the horror. Kudos to the co-writer for weaving Mr. Phillips' background, his family story, and his emotional ordeal into a compelling, cohesive narrative.

I have to say, as a salty New Englander myself, now transplanted to the South, I miss the likes of the Richard Phillipses - the men who say what they'll do and then do what they've said. Men (and women, of course) of personal integrity are a dying breed.

A great read. Just unfortunate that any of these players had to live through this to give us this book.
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Format: Hardcover
On April 8, 2009 four Somalian pirates took over an American flagged cargo ship by the name of "THE MAERSK ALABAMA". The name of the Alabama's captain was Richard Phillips... and this is the story of his life leading up to... and including the takeover of the ship... and what eventually became a fight for his life... when he deftly maneuvered the pirates... who the captain nicknamed "LEADER"... "TALL GUY"... "MUSSO"... and "THE-CRAZY-EYED-YOUNG-GUY"... into giving up the ship and its entire crew... with the end result being that he was the lone remaining hostage. Richard grew up in the New England area in an Irish-American family and was one of eight kids. (Four boys and four girls.) His life was built around a love of sports and he states: "HELL, I LEARNED EVERYTHING BY PLAYING SPORTS." One of his favorite athletes was Larry Bird whose toughness he respected. His explanation of the inner workings of his family are not unlike many families in his generation: "MY FATHER PROVED HIS LOVE BY GOING OUT AND WORKING LIKE HELL. YOU WANTED THAT *AND* A HUG EVERY NIGHT, TOO? GO TALK TO YOUR MOTHER." Perhaps one of the best quips in the book is delivered when he describes life with his Father. "IT WAS LIKE GROWING UP WITH VINCE LOMBARDI IN A BAD MOOD."

Richard wound up quitting sports... doing some drinking... getting in some fights... and among other jobs drove a taxi. His life changed and his future was truly started when he applied for and got accepted at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy. It was here he expanded and polished the inner drive to never let anyone get him down... he proved to himself and others... regardless of rank or position that they could never make him quit. A trait that obviously serves him well to this day...
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