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A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea
A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea
A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea
Audiobook8 hours

A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars



About this audiobook

"I share the country's admiration for the bravery of Captain Phillips and his selfless concern for his crew. His courage is a model for all Americans." -President Barack Obama

It was just another day on the job for fifty-three-year-old Richard Phillips, captain of the Maersk Alabama, a United States-flagged cargo ship that was carrying, among other things, food and agricultural materials for the World Food Program. That all changed when armed Somali pirates boarded the ship. The pirates didn't expect the crew to fight back, nor did they expect Captain Phillips to offer himself as a hostage in exchange for the safety of his crew. Thus began the tense five-day standoff, which ended in a daring high-seas rescue when U.S. Navy SEALs opened fire and picked off three of the captors.

"It never ends like this," Captain Phillips said.

And he's right.

A story of adventure and courage, A Captain's Duty provides the intimate details of this high-seas hostage-taking-the unbearable heat, the death threats, the mock executions, and the escape attempt. When the pirates boarded his ship, Captain Phillips put his experience into action, doing everything he could to safeguard his crew. And when he was held captive by the pirates, he marshaled all his resources to ensure his own survival, withstanding intense physical hardship and an escalating battle of wills with the pirates. This was it: the moment where training meets instinct and where character is everything. Richard Phillips was ready.
PublisherTantor Audio
Release dateApr 19, 2010
A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea

Stephan Talty

Stephan Talty is a critic and journalist who has contributed numerous pieces on race and American culture to publications such as the New York Times Magazine, Vibe, George, Chicago Review, the Irish Times, and Playboy. Originally from Buffalo, New York, he now lives in Brooklyn.

Reviews for A Captain's Duty

Rating: 3.3380281690140845 out of 5 stars

71 ratings12 reviews

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  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    I enjoyed this book. It gave me insight into the Merchant Marine as well as the piracy and attitudes towards it. This was an quick story to read and held your attention throughout. Captain Phillips saved his crew at great risk to himself and his crew did not let him down. I am glad I read this book before seeing the movie.
  • Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
    Phillips' memoir primarily covers the time when he was being held hostage in his container ship's lifeboat by Somali pirates.

    But an unexpected pleasure is that Phillips also relates stories of his past and family life that help explain how he found himself in such a situation, how & maybe why he behaved as he did when pirates boarded his ship, and what was happening back home during his ordeal.

    toward the end, he explains the significance of a Kenyan priest's saying from a homily the family heard & repeated often back in the usa: "God is great" & it's refrain: "always" !

    this simple call and refrain lifts both phillips & his wife, and reading about that amidst the otherwise rather grueling and brutal circumstances of his captivity was like finding the pearl in the oyster bed for me !
  • Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
    Great account of Capt. Phillips and his capture by Somali pirates in 2009. Interspersed in the account is the story of his life and his family along with the training of the Merchant Marines, of which he was trained. Even though the information of the ship was technical, it was written in a very readable fashion. I would recommend this for anyone interested in non-fiction accounts of strength and heroism.
  • Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
    This is an interesting, well-written book. I saw that some reviewers didn't like the way Phillips started with his background - what his youth was like and how he got into the Merchant Marines - but I not only found it interesting, I thought that it made it easier to understand who he was, how he ended up where he was, and how and why he made his decisions.

    Thank goodness most of us will never face a life-or-death situation like this -- much less have the lives of others depending on our decisions and choices -- and I appreciated the opportunity to vicariously share Captain Phillips' experience.
  • Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
    I only read this because it was our book club pick. I liked the history of the Merchant Marines--I had no clue how integral they are to everything I enjoy on a daily basis.

    The description of Phillips' experience is harrowing, and the writing isn't anything to get excited about. But the story is definitely compelling, and for our book club meeting we saw the movie (I wouldn't have chosen to see the movie otherwise) and it wasn't bad.
  • Rating: 1 out of 5 stars
    Like one of the reviewers says 'he makes himself out to be the toughest man on earth'. Really annoying. Added to this, his regular description of himself as Irish and Irish personality traits was quite irritating also.