This book is a collection of classic sea fairing short stories dating as far back as the 5th century with excerpts from the Chronicles of St. Brenden the Voyager. The stories are from a few well-known authors like Dickens, Melville, London and many other lesser-known authors of the 18th -20th century.
Interestingly enough, many of the stories have little to do with the act of sailing. All of the stories are interesting on their own merits and give insight about the brutality of life at sea, social mores, and human drama that happen to play out on (or near) a boat in previous centuries. The book contains a good mixture of pure fiction, embellished non-fiction, and a few recollections of historical fact. As an avid sailor, I was disappointed that there were no entries from the likes of Joshua Slocum, Tristan Jones, Thor Heyerdahl, Sir Francis Chishester, or Sir Ernest Shackelton. All of whom lived to tell of their exploits and misadventures sailing the oceans of the world.
In the end, I enjoyed the book for what it is; a nice collection of classic stories that would make a good primer for a literature class. It is an easy read that would be appealing to those that enjoy historical fiction or for those that love stories about the sea. Due to the fact that the entries were vastly tails of fiction, I question the appropriateness title of the book as being the “best sailing stories”. But that is the nature of story-telling. There is always a bigger tail to tell and it is up to the reader to decide if it is truly the BEST.
Rating: 3 out of 5 non-opposable digits
The Best Sailing Stories Ever Told
Edited by Stephen Brennan