Overall a good book, but not an easy one to read. It delves in to the topic of, obviously, The Law of the Sea, both from ancient times, such as the Le...moreOverall a good book, but not an easy one to read. It delves in to the topic of, obviously, The Law of the Sea, both from ancient times, such as the Lex Rhodia, into modern times and the development of the modern International Law of the Sea. It is a good book on these topics, but you do need to keep in mind the time, location, and environment (1950's America) it was written in, as there's a good bit of social commentary in some sections related to communism and the spread of International Law. All in all it's a useful book on the subject, with the caveat that it WAS written in 1950, so contains nothing on more recent issues of law. That said, in regards to the background and theory underpinning much of modern law pertaining to the sea, it is still quite valid. (less)
All in all it's an inspiring story of daring to dream the big dreams, constantly looking forward, and not being put off when things reach their most difficult or downbeat, but continuing to try even harder. Clearly, Mike isn't done with the records yet, as since his trip around the world in 2009 he's taken on a new challenge, learning to fly so he can attempt to be the first person to both sail and fly around the world solo. Considering the recent solo attempt of another young sailor, Abby Sunderland, that ended in her being dis-masted at sea and required her to be rescued from the middle of the Indian Ocean, his feat is that much more impressive, and he doesn't shy away from talking about the risks and controversy over the recent attempts by younger sailors to take on some of these incredible challenges.
A good book overall, I would give it 4.5 out of 5 stars. Well worth a read for anyone who enjoys stories of the sea, sailing, adventure travel, or teenagers going after great dreams. (less)
I was very impressed with Unsinkable: A Young Woman's Courageous Battle on the High Seas, both with the quality of the writing and even moreso with Ab...moreI was very impressed with Unsinkable: A Young Woman's Courageous Battle on the High Seas, both with the quality of the writing and even moreso with Abby Sunderland herself. It takes quite a lot to hold to a dream for long enough and as tightly as she had to in order to make her trip a reality, especially in the face of the sort of organized opposition that she encountered at many points. The fact that, in the end, she didn't set any records isn't in itself a failure -- as with so many things it isn't really the destination that's the most important, but the journey you take to get there.
I'm not a sailor, although I've been interested in the subject for some time, so I quite enjoyed the level of detailed sail information she provided in the book, but I can see how someone who isn't interested in the subject might feel that it was excessive and be turned off by it. Some people may also have an issue with the way the story is told - it's written from a couple of different points of view, and although this is well noted it may confuse the casual reader or someone listening to it on audio alone. The bulk of the book is Abby's first-person narration, but the earlier sections dealing with her background and family is written in the third-person, and the latter chapters dealing with her rescue are written partly from the first-person POV of a member of the rescue flight. While each shift is clearly marked in the text if you're listening to the book on audio it may not be as clear. I didn't have a problem with it personally, but others might.
Abby Sunderland's story should be a must read for high school age children. It's an excellent example to everyone that no matter how out-there some of their dreams may be they're not impossible as long as you're willing to constantly work towards them. In addition she demonstrates that failure isn't the end of the world. If you let a fear of failure hold you back from your dreams then you'll never achieve your full potential. As she makes clear, even without completing the journey she's a better, stronger person than she was before starting out. The preparation, the journey itself, even the ordeal of the rescue melded together to make her the woman she became in the end, and that's what matters most.
All told, I absolutely loved the book. It's an easy read and because of the pacing once you get through the first couple of chapters, which deal mostly with her background and family, it's also a very quick read. I spent most of the time I was reading it not wanting to put it down and definitely would've stayed awake reading if I had just picked it up for a chapter or two at bedtime.
If you have any interest in stories of survival against long odds, (wo)man struggling against nature, sailing, travel, children (or in fact anyone) struggling and focusing to achieve their goals in spite of opposition, or people being alone for long periods of time then you should definitely put Unsinkable: A Young Woman's Courageous Battle on the High Seas high on your list of books to read. (less)
There's a reason the first advice given to anyone thinking of trying to write something in the second-person POV is generally "find another line of wo...moreThere's a reason the first advice given to anyone thinking of trying to write something in the second-person POV is generally "find another line of work."
I had to give up 10 pages in. Just can't follow the author's continuing use of second person. Looks like it might be an interesting period travel book, if you can stomach the POV issues, so if you feel daring or you happen to like the second-person perspective give it a shot. Otherwise, best steer clear.(less)