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Simple Courage: A True Story of Peril on the Sea
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Simple Courage: A True Story of Peril on the Sea

3.75  ·  Rating Details  ·  242 Ratings  ·  37 Reviews
–old folk prayer

In late December 1951, laden with passengers and nearly forty metric tons of cargo, the freighter S.S. Flying Enterprise steamed westward from Europe toward America. A few days into the voyage, she hit the eye of a ferocious storm. Force 12 winds tossed men about like playthings and turned drops of freezing Atla
Hardcover, Large Print, 480 pages
Published July 11th 2006 by Random House Large Print Publishing (first published January 1st 2006)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 544)
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Diane Meier
Sep 15, 2009 Diane Meier rated it it was amazing
Though the American Library Associations listed Frank Delaney's "Simple Courage" as one of the 10 Best Books of the Year, this is a stunning book with no promotion and no machine behind it. And readers are missing something vital and satisfying and directional in that loss.

A disaster at sea, the harrowing rescue of passengers and crew, and the courage and plain decent behavior of a sea-captain who stayed with his ship and the merchant marine who joined him on board.

This tale of 'doing the right
Gusto Dave
Feb 18, 2011 Gusto Dave rated it it was amazing
One man. A raging sea. A wounded ship.

Life and death.

I’d put “Simple Courage” right up there with Caroline Alexander’s “The Endurance; Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition” and Sebastian Junger’s “The Perfect Storm,” to name just two.

In addition to a terrific non-fiction account, the capper in this one is how well Frank Delaney weaves himself into the story. The events that comprise the core of “Simple Courage,” in fact, are a childhood memory for Delaney and the reporting becomes a both
Sean Wylie
Sep 13, 2012 Sean Wylie rated it liked it
This is a true story of post WWII shipping in the Atlantic centered around a slowly sinking cargo vessel, The Flying Enterprise. After being hit by 2 rouge waves, his ship going down in hurricane force winds, the captain orchestrates the safe rescue of all but one of the 50+ passenger and crew who were safely taken on another ship most by swimming to life boats. Worth the time for sure, if a little long. Wonderful story telling of an adventure at sea and the fascinating reaction the entire world ...more
Jun 09, 2014 Bob rated it really liked it
Shelves: sea-stories, history
A first class sea story -- Well researched, and superbly told!

The Flying Enterprise was a WW-II freighter, maybe a Liberty ship (?), that went into commercial use after the war ended. In 1952, during a fierce storm in the North Atlantic, she cracked and foundered. Her captain, Kurt Carlsen, got the crew and passengers off the ship, with the loss of one life, but stayed on board his boat. Even though the ship was severely damaged, with no power, he thought there was still a chance of towing her
Susie Nee
Aug 17, 2010 Susie Nee rated it liked it
Another author from the literary conference. This book was an amazing story of a ship wreck and how the captain saved everyone on the ship except one person and then stayed with the ship for days even though conditions were still terrible and all he had to eat was pound cake and beer to drink.
Mark Stevens
Feb 13, 2011 Mark Stevens rated it it was amazing
One man. A raging sea. A wounded ship.

Life and death.

I’d put “Simple Courage” right up there with Caroline Alexander’s “The Endurance; Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition” and Sebastian Junger’s “The Perfect Storm,” to name just two.

In addition to a terrific non-fiction account, the capper in this one is how well Frank Delaney weaves himself into the story. The events that comprise the core of “Simple Courage,” in fact, are a childhood memory for Delaney and the reporting becomes a both
Eamonn Gormley
Jun 10, 2008 Eamonn Gormley rated it it was amazing
Simple Courage
A true story of peril on the sea

Frank Delaney gives a gripping account of a story I remember reading about in primary school, the story of the Flying Enterprise. This was a stricken freighter that ran into trouble off the coast of Ireland in the new year of 1951 during several dramatic weeks that included attempts to tow her into port and some hair-raising moments in which there could have been major loss of life. Every wave that crashed over her cracked hull was splashed across th
Feb 27, 2013 Savannah rated it really liked it
This will scare the daylights out of anyone who has ever gone to sea, albeit in kind of a good way. While the author doesn't truly evoke the grinding work of heavy weather, he at least tries to reference it and keep the level of discomfort in the reader's mind, if not fresh and constant.

In addition to being a story of high seas disaster, however, this is secondarily a story of press coverage and narrative creep. Unfortunately, the author alludes to more mystery than he actually follows through
Pat Buzby
I had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Delaney at a book signing in Clinton, NJ just after I had finished his Ireland book. I bought a couple of his books and he signed this one for my husband. This week I took it off our book shelf and started reading. This summer I spent several days at a few New Jersey beaches which always re-affirms my love of the Atlantic. This adventure of peril on the sea back in 1951 was great. My Dad was a navy man and a Saturday morning fisherman. Being an only child...and ...more
Kathy Cwynar
Audio book is read by the author. I enjoyed the story once I got used to the heavy British accent. I found myself comparing the hero to the aviation Capt. Shullenberger and his heroic and honorable behavior when he landed his USAIR jet on the Hudson River. Both men became overnight heroes and the public could not get enough of them.
Feb 23, 2014 Jim rated it liked it
A decent account of a merchant marine captain who tries to save the passagers and crew of his stricken freighter (hit by two rogue waves), who then decides to try and stay alone with his floundering vessel in hopes of getting it towed to safety. Much of the world was riveted by the drama. A little too much of the author appears in the book.
Jan 21, 2010 Jerry rated it really liked it
This story is about much more than "Simple Courage". Captain Kurt Carlsen's courageous adherence to his own strict code of ethical behavior, in the face of overwhelming physical obstacles and personal danger, exemplifies so many positive attributes missing in today's world (especially in politics and big corporations) that it can best be summed up by saying he did what was right because it was the right thing to do.

Frank Delaney, in his smooth story telling style, weaves into the narrative a wea
Jane Considine
Jan 06, 2015 Jane Considine rated it it was amazing
this was a fascinating story that revealed much to me about the business of transoceanic shipping, maritime law, and life aboard a ship. If all goes well, a sailor's life onboard may even seem boring, but as the title says, this is a story about peril on the sea. Hold on.
Glenn Colucci
Apr 12, 2015 Glenn Colucci rated it really liked it
The first 3/4 of this book is really good. Interesting lead up and captivating story. The last 1/4 is a lot of stuff that was not needed and I breezed through many pages with just a glance.

Jonathan Hatch
Mar 06, 2016 Jonathan Hatch rated it it was amazing
I listened to this book on audible as I was driving to work. It is incredibly engaging. The author tied in the reason why he wrote this book very well into the story, creating an atmosphere of conversation. If you like a non-stop thrill ride of a book, check this one out.
Jan 29, 2012 Kathy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
I was sucked right into this man and boat against the sea thriller when the author mentions that four of the ten passengers aboard were Kurt and Ilsa Mueller, their 19 yr old daughter and 12 year old son, latter-day Mormon pioneers immigrating to Utah from Germany. I had to keep reminding myself that this took place in 1951 not 1851. What made it even more captivating was that while I was listening to the heroic efforts of Captain Carlsen to save his passengers, crew, and ship I was also hearing ...more
Jim Myers
Jan 02, 2014 Jim Myers rated it really liked it
I remember seeing news reel coverage in the cinema of the foundering of the Flying Enterprise in 1952. It was a big deal. It was exciting watching the grainy hand held movies taken from low flying planes and the decks of pitching ships. The story and adventure has intrigued me ever since. Great story of a broken ship, the sea and courageous men ... (Although they were a bit daft for trying to save the ship at a certain point.)
Renee Johnson
I loved this book! I could not put it down. Read it in 2 days. This book had me choked up; this book had me in tears. Before reading it, I had no idea about this event and now I find it very hard to believe, because this is SUCH an incredible story. I think that someone should have mentioned this to me along the way, even though I grew up in Michigan in the 70's and 80's.
Jan 21, 2016 Du rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history-govt
Three and a half would be a better grade. This book was very interesting, and well written. I hadn't heard the story before and enjoyed the drama and the storytelling. The imagery is really well played and the step by step narration works very well. After finishing I went online and saw news reels of the Flying Enterprise as it sat helpless in the North Atlantic. Amazing to think that it happened so quickly and so decidedly. You hear about the ships which hit ice bergs or sink for other reasons, ...more
Kathleen Kawakami
Apr 15, 2016 Kathleen Kawakami rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite
Great story-telling! I could picture the event as he told it.
Frank Delaney is a master storyteller; he knows precisely how to enchant his audience and keep them thinking "and what happens next?"

Plus he has a pleasant and professional voice, no doubt in part from years of working for the BBC. He is a delight for the listener.

I sincerely hope Mr. Delaney records the rest of his works. That will keep him busy and keep me happy for a very long time.
Aug 26, 2011 Olivia is currently reading it
I've discovered a benefit to nursing these past few weeks that unfortunately I'm missing out on. When you nurse, you can read a book. I haven't been able to figure out how to do that while I'm bottle feeding. As a result, I have a feeling it is going to take me a while to get through this book. So far, so good.
Jan 18, 2010 Tuck rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
pretty fascinating story of giant rouge wave, ship disablement, abandoning and the captain refusing to abandon the ship (but he does eventually, phew) damn frank delaney is a kick ass writer. he has some fiction, "ireland". this has lots of detail about freighters, the engine room, decisions at sea.
Denise White
Sep 11, 2013 Denise White rated it it was amazing
I very much appreciate true accounts of character and honor and this was an enjoyable read. Delaney has the rare ability to craft descriptions worth repeating just to hear them roll off the tongue again. I look forward to another book by this author.
Apr 30, 2012 Joan rated it really liked it
A real-life story that I knew nothing about before this book. Delaney captures the drama of the event and the people, and weaves a bit of himself into the book as well. Reminded me a bit of The Perfect Storm, with a happier ending.
Aug 24, 2013 Cindy rated it liked it
I liked this book, but it got old after awhile. After the people were rescued I was ready for the book to end. I enjoy true stories so I wasn't about ready to not find out what the ultimate outcome was, even if the people were rescued.
Mar 07, 2008 Gail rated it liked it
I read Ireland by Frank Delaney and enjoyed it so decided to read Simple Courage, A True Story of Peril on the Sea. Reminds me a little of Perfect Storm. Bollard and Hawser
Sep 04, 2012 Josh rated it liked it
The story was interesting enough to pass the time on a late summer's day. Delaney's writing was excellent at points and I'd be curious to read something else by this author.
Erikhart Hart
Mar 22, 2009 Erikhart Hart rated it liked it
A good read that starts off well and then grows somewhat sluggish in the middle. A great sea story and example of leadership that is sadly out of fashion in our time.
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'The Most Eloquent Man in the World', says NPR, about the writer, broadcaster, BBC host and Booker Prize Judge, Frank Delaney. Over a career that has lasted more than three decades, Delaney, an international-best-selling author himself, has interviewed more than 3,500 of the world's most important writers.

Frank Delaney has earned top prizes and best-seller status in a wide variety of formats, from
More about Frank Delaney...

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