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Seized: A Sea Captain's Adventures Battling Scoundrels and Pirates While Recovering Stolen Ships in the World's Most Troubled Waters

3.81 of 5 stars 3.81  ·  rating details  ·  203 ratings  ·  32 reviews
Seized throws open the hatch on the shadowy world of maritime shipping, where third-world governments place exorbitant liens against ships, pirates seize commercial vessels with impunity, crooks and con artists reign supreme on the docks and in the shipyards—and hapless owners have to rely on sea captain Max Hardberger to recapture their ships and win justice on the high s ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published April 6th 2010 by Broadway Books
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Community Reviews

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The Erika was not the first ship Hardberger had stolen (actually retrieved) from under the noses of the authorities. The Patric M had been interned in Venezuela by the receiver for shortage of cargo. There are four entities involved in ship traffic: the owner, the charterer (who charters the ship to carry a cargo), the shipper and the receiver (the actual intended entity for the cargo.) Anyone of these four can screw over the crew, or each other. A common practice was for the receiver to claim h ...more
Damn you, Max Hardberger! (view spoiler) You better be working on your next book!

Seized is a unique memoir that tells a one-of-a-kind story about a pretty scary, hard way to make a living.

In Genghis I read that:
Courage cannot be left like bones in a bag. It must be brought out and shown the light again and again, growing stronger each time. If you think it will keep for t
Rick Spilman
Max Hardberger’s Seized, a Sea Captains Adventures – Battling Scoundrels and Pirates while Recovering Stolen Ships in the World’s Most Troubled Waters is a fascinating account of one man’s remarkable career and personal journey. In addition to working professionally as a crop-duster, school teacher, lawyer, and ship’s captain, Max Hardberger developed the rather unusual specialty of returning stolen property, very large stolen property. He steals back ships wrongly seized in foreign ports and re ...more
John Pedersen
This was a hard one to classify. Very interesting, but not the best writing. Compelling stories showing an industry, and actually the underbelly of an industry, that few of us know anything about directly but all of us depend on. The world of shipping and independent / small-time freighters is apparently not just dangerous thanks to the work, but thanks to the precarious nature of law and relationships between the shippers, the owners, the crews and the officials in charge of the docks.

Fans of c
Adventure on the high seas and in dangerous ports. Clandestine meetings and plans. Max Hardberger writes the true story of some of his adventures regaining control of seized ships. Each chapter gives details relating to a new adventure, making the book easy to read. At times you will wonder who are the good and bad guys, wondering is prison or death awaits the rescuers. The characters and danger are real, but many of their names have been changed to protect them.

I had the opportunity to read thi
A dangerous profession is what I call that of Max Hardberger. He has allowed us into his world of retaking of seized ships of all types and sizes from the not so friendly waters of some seemingly brutal countries in the world. Mr. Hardberger also interjects some humor into what could be called one of the most dangerous professions known, and maybe not so well known. The taking of a ship with no power and allowing it to drift into international waters without being detected is something this read ...more
This book had me wondering whether the author was the good guy or the bad guy. I did enjoy some of the insight into maritime law and the book had a lot of interesting tidbits about the inner workings of large ships. The ending was heartwrenching.
This book is really a page turner. You will not want to put it down once you start it. It is easy to forget that it is a true story because the tale the author tells has you sitting on the edge of your seat. When you do remember that it is a true story you are aghast and struck with awe for this man who has enormous courage and fortitude and manages to defy all odds while operating in a corrupt maritime world in many dangerous third world countries. At times the choices he makes seem cruel or he ...more
Lance Charnes
May 27, 2012 Lance Charnes rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Fans of intrigue or nautical adventure
Shelves: nonfiction-other
Max Hardberger -- "Captain Max" to his legion of friends and accomplices around the world -- is part action hero and part pirate. Seized is his account of his adventures in hellhole ports around the world, "extracting" ships that have fallen afoul of shady operators and crooked judges.

Many of the episodes recounted here fall into the category of "too strange to be fiction," such as moving fifty East German cropdusters out of pre-unification Germany before the West German government can seize the
I love finding books that are so compelling that I just can't stop reading until I'm done. That does make for some bleary-eyed mornings. Max Hardberger's work, Seized: A Sea Captain's Adventures with Scoundrels, Con Artists, and Pirates in Recovering Ships from the World's Most Troubled Waters , did help fill out the puffy bags under my eyes.

This book is authentic and riveting, a real page turner, telling the story of how Hardberger got into the very risky business of reposssessing freighters
Jonathan Lu
full of fascinating stories about shady maritime activities... Max Hardberger sounds like a great guy to sit down with over a beer. none of his stories are quite of dramatic hollywood-esque proportions, but still very interesting to hear about the various (and highly practical) ways that he has managed to sneak into shipyards in order to recover seized ships. equally lucky as he is skilled (with a very unique field of expertise), it is a wonder that he is not in a jail somewhere in Venezuela or ...more
James Targett
An enjoyable series of accounts of maritime adventure. The pirates in this are corrupt judiciary, grey areas of legal process, and "enterprising" businessmen. This isn't about firefights, hostage taking, or the kind of piracy practiced off the coast of Somali.

Finishing the book, I was disappointed in that I don't understand why Max found himself in this profession. I understand the how, but not what motivates him. Given the tragedy mentioned in the last few pages, the time the book spends on cl
This is the true life story of Max Hardberger. He has led an amazing life with many thrilling adventures. He is a unique individual with the job of taking back ships that have been seized under false means. His work is filled with many dangers including foreign ports, weather and people. He does a very good job of explaining each scenario, I could feel the tension of each situation. The book is composed of several short stories but on the whole it flows together well. I'll admit that the second ...more
Seized is quite an exciting and enlightening read! I had no idea that there were ships being detained unlawfully let alone rescued from these unlawful detentions. My maritime knowledge is quite miniscule but with Max's descriptions I was able to follow along with his adventures quite well. Every chapter was another adventure from Max's life and by the end of each chapter I would find myself on the edge of my seat hoping the job would end safely. I felt as though I was on board along with Max and ...more
Mar 27, 2010 Carolyn rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Carolyn by: Barnes and Nobles
Shelves: bn-sneak-peek
I wasn't quite sure I'd like this book but, Max Hardberger introduced me to some things that I wasn't aware were going on in this day and time, and kept me interested. His writing style was easy and had just enough technolgy about ships and the ports they landed so that I could understand what was going on and the problem. There was just enough personal information that I could empathize and sympathize with him. This book could also be styled as not just current events but a modern day thriller.
Oct 08, 2013 Karen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone that enjoys a great sea adventure
Seized I'm still reading this book and so far it's a great book, almost done. It is full of exciting/scary life adventures on the sea and different countries that surround the sea. I don't know how his wife put up with him always being gone and seemingly in danger of being put in prison in a far off country for who knows how long. The characters are great and are developed very well throughout the book. It'd be very interesting/exciting if they made a movie out of this one.
Hardberger's account of how he became someone who recovers detained and stolen ships. He also details his personal ups and downs. There's a lot of sneaking a lot of boats out of a lot of shady ports. Most of the chapters are pretty same-y. It is still an interesting look into a world I wouldn't otherwise know anything about.
Ryan Chapman
Hardberger's essentially the Indiana Jones of the shipping world. And whereas similar memoirs fall into the trap of boastfulness, this one finds the right tone and keeps its focus on the characters and intrigue. The author's MFA from Iowa might have helped there.

Anyways: an excellent page-turner.

This is a collection of amazing tales of stealing back stolen ships, and risking life and limb, written by a man who clearly has a zeal for adventure and daring. Max is a man who has been hired numerous times to rescue stolen ships from literal pirate bays, negotiating deals, and even dealing in East German planes. His knowledge is vast, and his experiences fascinating.

Max is not a professional author, but his stories are heartfelt and real, and can whisk one away into the world of shipping and
Janet Rupp
Love and learn

I love the sea. To be a captain on a freighter on the Great Lakes as my great grandfather was would be my life's dream come true. Maybe in my next life. In the meantime I am reading every sea story I can get my hands on or download. I learn so much from the author's experiences.
Nancy Zorn
Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed reading this book. If I could, I would probably rate it between "it was OK" and "liked it"...2.6 stars. Having worked many years in the steamship industry, it was a part of that world I knew nothing about. Captain Max is the repo man of the high seas, but I found his stories bled from one to the next. I didn't care so much about the shipowners as I did about some of the crew put into horrible situations. One story, in particular, seemed irresponsible and could have ...more
I will be the first to admit that after reading the first 40 pages I was ready to put the book down & not read it. For me, it was dragging & a bit repetitive. I usually don't like to not finish reading a book so I decided to give it a second chance & I'm glad that I did. I normally wouldn't have picked up this book on my own but since it was a B & N's first look book I decided to give it a chance. By the way, this is a true story. I couldn't believe all that goes on in the shippi ...more
Gabriel Kent
Real life adventures. Capt. Max is a badass. Recommended.
Sep 09, 2010 Beleth rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2010
When i started the book i had a strange feeling. At the beginning i didnt like it but i went on reading. Luckily i did that because few pages later i started to like it a lot.
The fact that the stories that are told are real things that happen to him is something that really impressed me. I was able to discover the world that surrounds ships and it was amazing.
John Branney
The book was a series of stories from Max Harberger's career as ship rescuer. Most of the stories were not that relevant for a reader like me who does not know starboard from port. The one story I found interesting was his adventure in Russia, the others were not that interesting.

Two out of five stars.
It's interesting. Learning about maritime law and the process of reclaiming a ship that has been seized on dubious grounds. The chapters get kind of repetitive though.
What do you get when you combine Robin Hood + pirates + MacGyver, and sprinkle it with some pure coolness chips?

This guy.

Go read the book.
Beau Smith
More on modern day piracy and the "repo man" sea captain that hunts down stolen ships.

Beau Smith
The Flying Fist Ranch
Great stories! ...not the best writer... but an exciting read!
Eye opening story of ships and pirating.
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Max has a B.A. in English from the University of New Orleans. As a post-graduate, Max attended the “Writers’ Workshop” at the University of Iowa. In 1972 he received a Master of Fine Arts in Fiction and Poetry.

At various times in his life, Max has worked as a ship captain, newspaper reporter, English and history teacher, crop duster, private investigator, maritime lawyer, flight instructor, ship s
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