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Lifeboat Paperback – August 29, 2007

4.1 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: University of Virginia Press (August 29, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0813926939
  • ISBN-13: 978-0813926933
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,197,541 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As John R. Stilgoe explains, a voyage is a journey by sea in which a passenger returns to the point of departure. If a passenger departs from one place, and arrives at another, this is a passage. Lifeboats make passages. In reading a book as masterful and comprehensive as Lifeboat, so does the reader.
The theme of Lifeboat transcends its title. The book has a lot to say about lifeboats, but most of all it chronicles a loss of wisdom: wisdom bought, often at a dear ransom, by direct observation of sea and sky, and mostly squandered since sail gave way to steam. Stilgoe's motif, in apparent continuity with his other works, is how social and economic forces under the umbrella of "industrialization" conspire to destroy precious human knowledge of centuries, knowledge that made us who we are-- or were.
A lifeboat may be a metaphor, but foremost it is a material vehicle for the saving of lives. In Stilgoe's hands, a lifeboat is a powerful focusing lens, a window into undiscovered history. He stunned me repeatedly with tales of horrific 20th Century shipwrecks now wholly forgotten. His account of the Lusitania disaster turns the tidy propaganda tale on its head. Likewise, his account of WWII U-boat activities in the North Atlantic gives the lie to the simple moral equation favored by the Allies. Were you aware that WWII U-boats ravaged American merchant vessels along the Eastern Seaboard? That the US Government struggled mightily to cover this up? That government refusal to acknowledge what many knew to be true bred public cynicism toward official war accounts? Any lessons for today?
Exploring the history of the lifeboat, Stilgoe retrieves the ancient wisdom cast off in the transition from sail to steam.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A great readable exploration into something you might want to think about on your next cruise. I would have given him five stars but even John Keegan only gets five stars upon occasion. Well worth the read, especially for any one who is a boater, a cruiser, or into prepping and survival.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
converting a life boat,have john lewis book from 1950,s,who mentions this book.brilliant top book,very impressed by the research and breadth of the subject,it has envigorated my own project,have already recommended this book
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By p0km on March 18, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
fascinating history and stories about the humble lifeboats
truly makes one appreciate them
and nostalgic for the old seafaring culture not lost with motorization
also great bibliography and references to other interesting reading!!
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Format: Hardcover
Looking for a handy catalogue of disasters and survival at sea, this book proved to be much more. I can understand the impatience of one reviewer with the author's nostalgia for the passing of true (un-powered and unplugged) seamanship but his point is that the resort to lifeboats --at least the classic whaleboat-styled kind--is a test of true seamanship which has been neglected in the era of digital wizardry that disappears with the loss of power--both wired and battery. The most telling passages, and there are many, are those that show how in an instant a passenger is transported from luxuriant accommodations, where the sea is a pleasant panorama, to a battle against a malevolent nature, where the sea is a treacherous enemy.
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