Ships and Memories
Merchant Seafarers in Canada's Age of Steam
Canada is a great maritime nation. Although ships and the sea havebeen part of its history for centuries, very little is known about themen and women who have worked in its coastal and lake fleets. Shipsand Memories is a fascinating account of life at sea during theage of steam. In it, seafarers tell ther own stories and remember thegood times as well as the bad, in peace and war and during thedepression.
Eric Sager draws on interviews with master mariners, engineers, ableseamen, cooks, stewards, and many others who worked aboard steamshipsfrom 1920 to 1950.
Ships and Memories reads beautifully. Sager has deftly woven together these reminiscenses into a narrative that with human passion and energy documents the historic course of Canadian merchant shipping over a 40-year period. As one of the seafarers put it: readers shun "dry fact, one fact after another" (p. 8); history needs "anecdotes, and interesting happenings to make it readable" (p. 9). Ships and Memories does this admirably.
Here is a book that provides a fascinating, detailed and authoritative account of Canada's merchant marine, coupled with memorable years told by seafarers who served in these ships during the three decades from 1920 to 1950 when the Age of Steam witnessed the final demise of sail and the advent of diesel-driven merchant ships ... a worthy and genuine documentation of the oral history of a bygone era.
The design of this book will do much to attract a working-class readership as much as it will academics. Lavish use of illustrations and boldfaced type of quotes from the seafarers' own words set this book apart from the often monotonous presentations of more pedantic efforts. Ships and Memories may be brief in content, but it is not superficial in intent. The purpose of this book is not to give readers a dry study of workers in the shipping industry, but rather to set a new course by encouraging seafarers and other workers to value, and build on, the memories of their own experiences.
2. Going to Sea
4. Officers and Masters
Sources and Collaborators
Suggestions for Further Reading
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