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Mr. Midshipman Easy (Heart of Oak Sea Classics) Hardcover – October 1, 1998


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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Details

  • Series: Heart of Oak Sea Classics
  • Hardcover: 412 pages
  • Publisher: Owl Books (NY) (October 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805059881
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805059885
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,217,860 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

With this duo, published in 1829 and 1836, respectively, McBooks launches its new "Classics of Nautical Fiction." Marryat was a skipper in the British Navy, and the action here is based on his real experiences before the mast. When all your Patrick O'Brians are out, recommend Marryat.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Review

"Marryat has the power to set us in the midst of ships and men and sea and sky all vivid, credible, authentic."  —Virginia Woolf


"[Marryat's] greatness is undeniable."  —Joseph Conrad, Notes on Life and Letters
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Bob Carpenter on February 17, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book's an odd kettle of fish. It focuses on Jack Easy, starting at his birth, following him through school and into the Navy. He joins to press his socialist philosophy of the "equality of man". The book was first published in 1836, when Karl Marx was 18. Zeitgeist, perhaps?

In tone, the book's half nautical fiction along the lines of O'Brian, Forester, Pope, etc., and half 17th century romantic farce that sees a rival found out in women's clothing, diabolical happenings at a costume ball, the come-uppance of a conniving father-confessor, a hilarious three-way duel, and more. The situations will be all the funnier if you've read more "serious" nautical fiction before this.

Oddly, even though the author was himself a retired British naval post-captain (who served under Cochrane when he was himself a midshipman!), there is relatively little focus on the nautical details, and a whole lot of focus on the characters. Sure, there's a gale (and quite a good one), and some beam to beam broadside action, but mostly it's about the characters. In every situation, there's little tension as we know our hero will make good a Hornblower-like escape by some indirect means.

The author jumps in as the omniscient narrator from time to time. For instance, there's one chapter that's an odd repetition of an argument made in a previous book against overly harsh punishment in the service.

The wisdom's along the lines of "spare the rod, spoil the child" and the character "development" sees Mr. Easy move from channeling Marx to channeling Ayn Rand. As the earlier positions are argued as hard as the latter, it's actually hard to see the author's position here, which is quite interesting.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on October 16, 2000
Format: Paperback
Great book in that it doesn't take itself too seriously. Great tongue-in-cheek view of life aboard a British man-of-war. Of course its not too realistic, which O'Brian attempts and Forrester accomplishes, still, a real hilarious adventure tale. Easy leads an unbelievably charmed life, to the point of delightful reading but not incredulity. Characters are real yet outstandingly rich and beautiful. Find yourself putting your head back now and then and laughing in a most horse-like fashion... In regard to sea stories of this nature, I put C.S. Forrester 1st (He is the master, and will always be 1st just as Tolkien will always be 1st for fantasy readers), Marryat 2nd, O'Brian 3rd (too much pontificating...) and Alexander Kent and others a distant, distant, distant 4th.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By E. Tobias on December 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
While digging through the treasure trove of nautical fiction available, I found this gem.
Written in the 1830s, this story is a sharp social commentary combined with the adventure of a midshipman in the Royal Navy. I found this a delightful observation of society, which from today is even more humorous than it might have been 200 years ago.
The language isn't far off from today's (the sailing vocabulary hasn't -obviously- changed). A good read for just about any age. Footnotes (in the Heart of Oak edition) to help those unfamiliar with some 19th C. idioms or semi-obscure sailing terminology.
If you haven't read Marryat's work yet, this is a good one to get your feet wet.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
If you like the more modern Patrick O'Brian novels you will most likely like enjoy "Mr Midshipman Easy" even more. The author, Frederick Marryat, was a real Post Captain on a British man-of-war and an excellent writer as well. The days of ship warfare in the Napoleanic era come alive as does the day-to-day life onboard a man-of-war.
I very much very much recommend this book.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Kory Bockman on February 25, 1998
Format: Paperback
Extremely witty book! The story follows "Equality Jack" Easy, a Midshipman with a rather unusual philosophy. Yet, while you're laughing, you get a good taste of what life was really like on a British man o'war. Marryatt lived these times, so writes of them better than any of the others. But you should also read: Horatio Hornblower, Dewey Lambdin, and Patrick O'Brian.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By James C. McDowell on December 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed reading this book. Despite the fact that the book was written over one hundred years ago, Marryat's creation is entertaining to this day. One thing that made it such a good book was Marryat's experiences as a participant in the actual war. Writers of other Maritime books do not have as clear an understanding of what life was like on the ocean because they were never there. While Marryat can describe life on the ocean well and tell an entertaining story, he cannot be counted among the great authors of the english language. His book is entertaining and exciting, but not outstanding
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 8, 1999
Format: Paperback
While awaiting O'Brian's next book, I discovered Marryat. Easy is the third of his books I have read, and possibly the most enjoyable for I was a midshipman myself at one time. Although the mid of 1808 and the mid of 1960 have little in common in terms of the Navies involved, they are of one mind when it comes to wine, women, adventure, and a questioning disdain for the rules. Although the adventures may seem a bit farfetched at times, who can say that in 1808 they were not every bit as likely to happen exactly as Marryat relates.
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