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The Downeaster: Deadly Voyage Paperback – January 18, 2016
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This is a follow-up to my review of “The Downeaster.” I heard a review of J.D. Vance’s memoir, “A Hillbilly Elegy” on National Public Radio and bought the book. I’ll review when I finish reading it and feel I understand the book and its author. One thing has popped out! Both Fuhrman and Vance are from Middletown, Ohio and both are products of Appalachian culture. The two authors are from different generations and their experiences in Middletown, the home of ARMCO Steel, are from different economic eras, the 1950’s and 60’s for Fuhrman and the 1970’s and 80’s for Vance. Where both come together, I think, is in Fuhrman’s villain, Samuel Craig and also Priest’s search for manhood. “The Downeaster” paints a remarkable portrait of Appalachian culture, particularly its music as well as a brief glimpse into a Civil War era coal camp. Fuhrman’s biography on Amazon reveals his exposure to Appalachian culture. Both authors are amazing men who are witness to what this culture can achieve when it is an engine driving its sons’ ambitions. I said Mary Miley was correct. She is, Fuhrman obviously has read and understands, “Heart of Darkness.” Please read both Vance and Fuhrman.
I anxiously await the sequel to this attention getting novel. I look especially forward to following Nicholas Priest's journey to becoming a man!
"The Downester" is an epic tale of love, relentless curiosity and exploration, hardship and the overcoming of it, conflict and--utimately--stunning success at sea and in the hearts of the sailors.. I learned more factual and emotional details about battling long periods of calm, followed by transiiton into hurricane-force waters, than I have ever known before (and I have sailed some very wild seas!).. The author/narrator's most compelling character is the young Priestley, a sickly teenager who comes of age in every dimension during this arduous sea voyage. By the end of the journey, he has not only saved himself numerous times from threatening waters, but has also saved fellow sailors who were in jeopardy. at great risk to himself, The main character in the book--the Captain--ends up taking second stage to Priestly, who, when the ship finally comes to rest in San Francisco, goes ashore and has a proper hero's tatoo applied to himself to signify his new-found maturity, amidst cries of admiration and support from a rag-tag group of his fellow sailors. I would be hard-pressed to imagine another historical seagoing account that is as detailed and accurate as this one is, at the same time carrying the stories of deep, enthralling, and committed love... of man for woman, sailors for their brothers, and always--always--love and deep respect for the power of the sea.