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Powder Monkey (Adventures of a Young Sailor)

3.83  ·  Rating details ·  335 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
Thirteen-year-old Sam Witchall has always dreamed of being a sailor, but he never realized how dangerous and gruesome life at sea could be until he is pressed into service aboard HMS Miranda. Beginning his naval career as a "powder monkey"--assisting the gun crews on the warship--Sam learns the ropes of sailing and how to cope with enemies both foreign and onboard the Mir
Paperback, 304 pages
Published October 1st 2006 by Bloomsbury USA Childrens (first published October 3rd 2005)
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Mar 25, 2011 rated it liked it
It seems that Dowswell is primarily an author of nonfiction. It shows. He's done his research, in spades, and includes a helpful bibliography for anyone who'd want to do the same. I think more than a few of his readers would be interested in reading more about the Royal Navy in the 19th century after reading Powder Monkey. The descriptions he gives of everyday life aboard ship are vivid (graphic, even, at times) and absorbing. The best of the book is in these shipboard moments, entirely lacking ...more
Apr 03, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: children-teen
I didn’t care for this book much. If you want a more interesting youthful account of the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic wars I would recommend the Bloody Jack series. This book was dry with uninteresting characters, too many dull, directly stated facts, and a surprising amount of poorly written gore consisting of blood and guts being blown here and there in a very uncreative manner.
May 16, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: kid-books
I read this to my friend's son, who was 10 at the time. He loved it. It is a bit gory and gross in parts because Dowswell is a historian, so he definitely attempts to keep things as realistic as possible. But in an age when kids are rarely choose to read instead of watch a movie, this series can be counted on to hold the attention of young boys...although you may want to read it first. There are some parts that are bit graphic. I found reading it aloud allowed me to edit as I went along. We are ...more
Oct 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is a great book. It is about a young boy who joins the Royal navy in the 18th century and all that happens throughout his life. This only the first book and I recommend reading them all.
Oct 27, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a total journey in to the unknown for me. It was suggested to me by a friend who recognised the title and suggested I give it a go (I later found out that they had totally misread it and thought it was something else)..

Anyway what I found was a fast paced and often quite candid glimpse in to the Royal Navy Frigate Miranda, a fictitious but well researched vessel of the Royal Navy of 1800s.

I think what caught my eye about this story was that along with the usual coming of age story
May 04, 2017 rated it liked it
This book read so easily, the thing is though, a lot involving ships happens and I was at a loss at most of the time and had to flip to the map provided in the book (Thank god otherwise I wouldn't even know half of what happened). Also, this was a story with little to no plot, not until the end anyway, the book was made up from things happening but without a clear line besides him being on a ship and the friends he had, I wished the plot would've sneaked in a bit earlier. 3 stars
Jan 29, 2014 rated it really liked it
The book I read is called Powder Monkey by Paul Dowswell. It was published by Bloomsbury publishing in 2005. This is a story about a boy that goes out to sea aboard a navy ship back in the 1800,s. He has to stay strong as he fights in battles against enemy ships just to stay alive.

This book is about a kid named Sam that wants to join the navy and become a sailor. Sam argues with his parents for a couple weeks until his parents agree to let him board a merchant ship. This is all destroyed when he
Mar 06, 2015 rated it liked it

This book is the story of a boy who wants to go to sea. the only problem is that he is 'pressed' from his merchant ship onto a Royal Navy frigate HMS Miranda.

I started reading this book hoping for something kind of like Bloody Jack: Being an Account of the Curious Adventures of Mary "Jacky" Faber, Ship's Boy, however, it ended up rather disjointed with the chapters being a series of barely related events. Furthermore, the characters weren't very memorable I can hardly remember a single name (it

Feb 07, 2011 rated it liked it
(This review was originally written for my Young Adult Literature class and I'm reposting it here).

The bio on Dowswell says that this book is his first work of fiction, though he has written historical YA non-fiction before, and it shows. Dowswell's background in non-fiction is evident in this book, as much of it reads like a factual book on British Naval history. As a narrator, Sam does not mince words when it comes to describing the cramped and often unsanitary conditions of his voyage on the
Jan 04, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
To begin, let me state I think this book is readers who are pre-teen or teenage of age. It's about a boy named Sam who is "pressed" into service on a Royal Navy frigate during the times of wars with French and Spanish navies. The author does a excellent job of creating a authentic atmosphere aboard a navy ship back in those days. He doesn't skip any of the nasty or gory parts, he let's the readers know what the real daily life of a powder monkey consisted of. A great adventure read and filled wi ...more
Jul 01, 2010 rated it liked it
Though not a big historical fiction fan, I was immediately caught up in the life of 13 year old Sam, pressed into service for the British navy as a powder monkey-the one who runs back and forth between the gun powder room and the artillary. Very well written, a real glimpse into life at sea with its thrills and horrors aptly described.
Jun 10, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Obwohl es ein Jugendbuch ist, ist es eines der realistischeren dieses Genres. Der Autor hat sich wirklich alle Mühe gegeben, das Leben (und Sterben) in der britischen Navy zu Nelsons Zeiten so lebensecht wir möglich zu schildern. Für Liebhaber der nautischen Literatur und solche, die es werden wollen, sehr zu empfehlen.
Aug 12, 2012 marked it as to-read
I'm sure it's fine and all, but apparently I need something more in my royal navy books to keep me interested. A more interesting main character, people outsmarting people, humor, slash, crossdressing girls, something.
Aug 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
The author does a good job conveying the life and atmosphere of a powder monkey pressed into Naval service. The ending had me wondering if my copy was missing pages. A good read from a historical fiction perspective.
Jul 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
My son is reading this and I decided to pick it up too. Great way to learn about the British Navy from an adolescent boy's perspective. If you like movies like Master and Commander, you will probably like this.
Feb 02, 2008 rated it liked it
This is a young adult/teen level book about a young boy who's pressganged onto a British Man-o-War and the adventures that ensue. Quick read but there are many better, deeper versions of the same kind of story.
Varsha Seshan
Aug 05, 2012 rated it liked it
A book about a young boy who becomes a sailor, it explores the way dreams change. The boy who had dreams of going to sea discovers how different his imagination is from reality. Reality is cruel and harsh, but he embraces it, loving it despite how sordid it is.
Oct 15, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: child-lit, 2007
Story of a young sailor who is impressed into the British Navy in the 19th century and how much that sucks. Very enjoyable.
Raphael Paulian
Feb 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
I would recommend it to anyone who likes a good adventure!
May 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: covers-i-love
This was a really good book. It was hard to read because of the small print but I didn't skip any pages and it was really intresting.
Bonnie Cheng
Aug 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing
this is fun
Travis Murray
Nov 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I read this book and loved it, it got me from the start.
I spent nights awake reading this amazing book.
Abbie Wagner
Aug 17, 2010 rated it liked it
The Powder Monkey was really good. I really enjoyed reading it however it was a slow read.
Amara Patton
Mar 04, 2010 rated it really liked it
A very good historical book. The main character is faced with many difficulties not by choice because of a forced situation of being forced into the Navy. Great ending.
Nov 26, 2009 rated it liked it
The only thing that kept this from being a 4 star book was the ending. The rest of the story was so powerful that the ending was a little anticlimatic
Mar 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Young Sam Witchall yearns for a life at sea on a merchantman. However, he is soon pressed and becomes a British Tar
Jul 20, 2008 rated it liked it
this was a good book and i love it because it took me in a i was so into it that i didnt even want to put it down
Dennis Hurd
Dec 16, 2014 rated it liked it
Checked out by accident and had fun reading it.
Apr 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
es ist ein sehr gites buch aber das grausigste, dass ich bis jetzt gelesen hab.
Apr 08, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kidlit
Sort of a Horatio Hornblower or Master and Commander for the younger reader. Lots of good detail.
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Madison Mega-Mara...: Powder Monkey 1 5 Jan 07, 2013 05:36AM  
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