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Song of the Sirens

4.41  ·  Rating Details ·  58 Ratings  ·  11 Reviews

Song of the Sirens is a classic. Newsweek

Few men have lived a life of such challenge and adventure as Ernest K. Gann. Most of all, this is the story of Gann's most beloved vessels, his seventeen sirens, from the beautiful 117-ton brigantine Albatros to the incredible Butterfly - hardly more than a raft with patchwork sails - and the diminutive and flawless Thetis, who coul

Paperback, 318 pages
Published 2000 by Sheridan House (first published 1968)
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Dec 17, 2009 Eric_W rated it it was amazing
Ernest Gann had a love affair with the sky; he was also infatuated with the sea. The Albatross was a former Dutch training vessel that required a crew of several hardy young windjammers. Her beam was twenty feet, and from stem to stem her length was either 117 feet (jibboom to stem) or 84 feet (waterline), depending whether Gann was paying docking fees or not. The idea was to sail her back across the North Atlantic and on to California with a crew of sail lovers, who had flown themselves to Holl ...more
Jul 27, 2013 Mallory rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I was immediately swept in to this glorious, intimate account of a man's time spent on the sea in his most favorite sailing ship, the Albatros. As Gann describes his adventures sailing the Albatros with a small crew across the Atlantic, along the West Coast, and into the South Pacific, he also recounts the many other "sirens" in his life, each ship having a special, unique meaning and memory. This is a beautiful book about a love affair unlike any other. Gann's writing is poetic and the pages ...more
Mar 14, 2009 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
Not the genre I usually go for. However, this is a masterful telling of the history of flight (which *is* one of my passions), coupled with the story of a man who was both very lucky and very good. Reading this book will take the reader through the skies of WWII and the growth of passenger aviation.

Gann places the reader squarely in the left seat, 50 feet above the roiling white-caps, and makes them feel everything that he did.
Jan 07, 2015 Ralph rated it really liked it
Gann's writing is wonderful - descriptive as well as introspective. His descriptions of life at sea aboard a relatively small boat are poetic as well as realistic.

One turnoff for me was Gann's occasional references to women that were unflattering and old school. He grew up in pre WW2 times and his attitudes reflect it.

Sad to hear of the end of his boat - Albatross. The sea can be cruel!
May 25, 2014 J.T. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Intelligently written account of the authors' seafaring experiences with sailing boats, floats, skiffs and schooners. If you have any interest in sailing, this is an essential book, and even if you don't, Gann's writing is highly readable, his observations sharp, and his turn of the phrase elevates this far above average.
Aug 03, 2010 Jenny rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, which tells of the different boats that Gann owned. He obviously loved them all in different ways and his life revolving around them was fascinating. I know he also flew aeroplanes, and wonder how he managed to fit it all in.
Jul 08, 2012 David rated it really liked it
For anyone who loves the sea, this is a must read.
It gets a little boring in the middle but the excitment of the story will carry tour through.
The Story is well named since the sea does call men to it. Men can also love the ships they sail on. They are called she.
Jan 26, 2009 Craig rated it really liked it
If you've ever been tempted to spend your life savings on a sailboat for to sail the south seas--read this book. If you think commercial fishing is your dream job--read this book.
Jan 04, 2009 Lorna rated it it was ok
I started reading this book some time ago and could not finish it. I found it very boring. Just not my cup of tea. My husband is currently reading it and is enjoying it very much.
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Ernest K Gann was an aviator, author, filmmaker, sailor, fisherman and conservationist.

After earning his pilot license, Gann spent his much of his free time aloft, flying for pleasure. The continuing Great Depression soon cost him his job and he was unable to find another position in the movie business. In search of work, he decided to move his family to California. Gann was able to find odd jobs
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