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The Grey Seas Under: The Perilous Rescue Mission of a N.A. Salvage Tug

4.15 of 5 stars 4.15  ·  rating details  ·  226 ratings  ·  28 reviews
The hair-raising rescue missions of a deep-sea salvage tug that saved hundreds of lives during two decades of service in the North Atlantic.
Paperback, 360 pages
Published April 1st 2001 by Lyons Press (first published 1958)
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The Endurance by Caroline AlexanderSailing Alone around the World by Joshua SlocumEndurance by Alfred LansingMaiden Voyage by Tania AebiKon-Tiki by Thor Heyerdahl
Sailing Cruising
57th out of 178 books — 120 voters
Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana Jr.The Boat Who Wouldn't Float by Farley MowatAdrift by Steven CallahanThe Perfect Storm by Sebastian JungerThe Long Way by Bernard Moitessier
True Nautical Stories (Non-Fiction Only)
10th out of 26 books — 5 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 431)
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Nice, this one. I read Mowat's "The Serpent's Coil" for the first time several years ago, and it's one I pick up quite often to re-read. This book, which covers events prior to that in TSC, isn't as rich in character as the other, but Mowat still captures the essence of the subject well and with his language transports the reader aboard the Foundation Franklin, predecessor to the Josephine, star of TSC.

I think part of what makes this a less rich read is that there are far fewer quotes. Obviously
Sarah Sammis
In recent days I've read books that seem to defy genre. First there was Outside the Lavender Closet by Martha A. Taylor (review coming) that makes a convincing nonfiction (except it's a novel). Now Grey Seas Under by Farley Mowat is just as equally convincing as historical fiction, except that it's nonfiction.

Grey Seas Under chronicles the career of the Foundation Franklin, a salvage tug, a salvage tug that worked in the rough seas off the eastern coast of Canada from 1930 to 1948. It had begun
Thrilling nautical non-fiction filled with affection for this special tug and her crews. I found the book on the shelf of a hotel on Winslow AZ some years ago, read it in one sitting, bought copies to give away.
You have to like sea stories. This has a lot of nuts and bolts about salvage and rescue operations, and also bunkersful of suspense. Imagine towing a sinking ship at about 2 kt in heavy seas where U-boats roamed. Will she make it?
Ed Renehan
I returned to this book after many years upon hearing the news that Farley had left us. A brilliant man, and this one of his best offerings. Highly recommended.
Carl Meinzinger
Classic nautical yarn.
Jim Puskas
A wonderful real life series of adventures at sea by a great story teller. Many parts were simply gripping and as a whole the book stands up well to caomparison with works of the great writers of the sea such as Peter Freuchens and Joseph Conrad (exalted company!)
The levels of human endurance and raw courage displayed by the officers and crew are almosrt beyond belief, and yet the book rings of truth in every page.
A great read!
Andy Howell
Dec 23, 2007 Andy Howell rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everybody
Grit! Guts! Steel and the Sea! This little book is two-blocked with incredible tales of heroism in the midst of the worst weather that the North Atlantic can boil up. The main character is the Foundation Franklin, a daring little ocean-going salvage tug to which countless sailors owe their lives. Hurricanes! Explosions! German U-boats! These sea stories have it all. One of my very favorite books.
terrific adventure of the the tug boats that sail out of Newfoundland, Wooden Ships and Iron Men and all! In the period between the Wars.
But more than that - the story of Steam powered ships and the rescues in the North Atlantic under maritime law and Lloyd's Open Form.
These are the sailors that don't leave the docks until the weather is at least a Force Five,
P.D. Callahan
Early Mowat, but you can see how he developed his sense of pace. You cannot read the first four pages without feeling absolutely compelled to continue. One of the great masters of the page turner in non-fiction. Along with The Serpent's Coil (also quite early), The Grey Seas Under is one of the best non-fiction sea stories.
David Loewen
Awesome, daring, dangerous, and exciting.. Imagine the wind howling, the waves washing over the decks, and the spray coating everything with ice. Now step below into the stoke hold of the Foundation Franklin where the stokers are stripped to the waist shoveling coal into the boiler and the temp is around 120..
Dec 09, 2009 Samweller rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: nautical fans
This was the second book I read by Mowat. I was surprised to see that it didn't get as good ratings as Serpents Coil. I thought the stories were as well told and action oriented as Serpents, although there was more than one in this book. Another great read, especially for short jaunts at the reading chair.
Jc Parman
This is great read of courage on the high seas. The Salvage Tug Foundation Franklin and her crew is an amazing story. If you are a sailor or ever dreamed of being one this is a story that you must read.
I would have never chosen this book just by the title, but since I liked other books by Farley Mowat I decided to give it a try. Very interesting! Made me want to explore Nova Scotia.
Awesome book about the life and death of a Canadian sea going tug and crew. Well written and organized. If you like stories of the sea, then this true story is for you.
The main problem with this book is that there is no single story. Instead, it is more of a history of the activities of the Canadian salvage ship Foundation Franklin.
Jeff Morgan
The history of a salvage tug, which does not sound like a thriller at first, but as the story unfolds, it becomes one of the classic sagas of the sea.
Rusty Wright
Absolutely wonderful. I've read this book at least three times. It's the perfect book to read during the winter and during stormy weather.
Having commercially fished the North Pacific; this is one of the finest reads about the perils of the sea I have ever read; gripping!
G.L. Snodgrass
This is one of my favorite books of all time. The story of a Canadian Tug pre WWII. And the rescues it conducts in the Canadian Maritime.
Read this book years ago. Farley Mowat does a wonderful job of portraying the maritime life of a sea-going salvage tug.
Mar 20, 2008 Maya rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: ocean inhabitants/admirers, adventurers, salty dogs
Recommended to Maya by: dad
Bravery was a concept that I didn't realize wasn't clear to me, until I read this. Crystal. I want to go to Newfoundland!
Tim Morrison
I think this is a must read if you are a fan of Farley and want to learn a bit of Canadian history.
Lindsey Doolan
Story of a salvage tug that worked out of Halifax in the 1930s and 40s. Great story, crazy stuff.
Mi-sA-lê Fransen
Absolutely gripping. So true and well written. An excellent tribute to life at sea.
I LOVE this book. It was recommended to me by a captain who I sailed for a number
One of the best, true adventure tales I've ever read. This man knows how to write!
Excellent account of courage and humanity.
May 13, 2010 JoDean marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
DI find.
Joleen Hasker
Joleen Hasker marked it as to-read
Jan 25, 2015
Lauren marked it as to-read
Jan 19, 2015
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Farley McGill Mowat was a conservationist and one of Canada's most widely-read authors.
Many of his most popular works have been memoirs of his childhood, his war service, and his work as a naturalist. His works have been translated into 52 languages and he has sold more than 14 million books.
Mowat studied biology at the University of Toronto. During a field trip to the Arctic, Mowat became outrag
More about Farley Mowat...
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