Best Nautical Books Of 2016-2017

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May 30, 2017

Photo by /pimthida/ via Flickr

The year’s notable nautical fiction and nonfiction books of 2016-17 as selected by gCaptain’s editors. This list represents books we have read or reviewed in the past year (or so).

P.S. If you think we’ve missed an excellent book published this year then email us [email protected] or leave a comment via Facebook. 

Nautical Fiction

PUSH BACK by R.E McDermott

Push Back: After the EMP (The Disruption Series Book 2)In UNDER A TELL-TALE SKY , McDermott provided readers a very credible example of a post-apocalyptic/dystopian world caused when an EMP generated by a solar flare takes down the power grid in the port city of Wilmington, Delaware . In the much expected sequel PUSH BACK, merchant mariner Captain Jordan Hughes and the ragtag group of seamen and ex-Coastguardsmen we came to care for in the first book carry on the struggle against opportunists, criminals, and a world gone mad. These books, like all from R.E. McDermott (a Kings Point alumni), are page turners that will keep you awake at night. (Published July 26, 2016)

Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War by P.W. Singer

Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World WarWritten by national security experts P.W. Singer and August Cole, Ghost Fleet: A Novel of the Next World War is a page-turning imagining of a war set in the not-too-distant future. Navy captains battle through a modern-day Pearl Harbor; fighter pilots duel with stealthy drones; teenage hackers fight in digital playgrounds; Silicon Valley billionaires mobilize for cyber-war; and a serial killer carries out her own vendetta. Ultimately, victory will depend on who can best blend the lessons of the past with the weapons of the future. (Published May 24, 2016)

ODESSA SEA by Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler

ODESSA SEA by Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler Curently #3 on the New York Times Bestseller List, ODESSA SEA by Clive Cussler and Dirk Cussler follows the legendary Dirk Pitt as he responds to a mysterious Mayday signal from a deserted ship that will draw him toward a deadly secret leftover from the Cold War arms race. (Published November 15, 2016)

The North Water: A Novel by Ian McGuire 

The North WaterBehold the man: stinking, drunk, and brutal. Henry Drax is a harpooner on the Volunteer, a Yorkshire whaler bound for the rich hunting waters of the arctic circle. Also aboard for the first time is Patrick Sumner, an ex-army surgeon with a shattered reputation, no money, and no better option than to sail as the ship’s medic on this violent, filthy, and ill-fated voyage. In The North Water by Ian McGuire a nineteenth-century whaling ship sets sail for the Arctic with a killer aboard in this dark, sharp, and highly original tale that grips like a thriller. (Published March 15, 2016)

Nautical Non-Fiction

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania by Eric Larson

Dead Wake Cover This book is not only a #1 New York Times Bestseller but is the best-selling book of the year! And it’s about ships… or, to be precise, one ship, the Lousitania. From the bestselling author Erik Larson, Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania is the enthralling story of the sinking of a ship by a German submarine in which changed the course of World War I. (Published March 22, 2016).


American Dunkirk: The Waterborne Evacuation of Manhattan on 9/11 by  Kendra and Wachtendorf

american dunkirk coverThe great New York boatlift of September 11th, 2001, is one of the less well-known and least understood of the events of 9/11. In around 10 hours, the mariners of New York harbor evacuated an estimated 300,000 to 500,000 people trapped in Lower Manhattan by water. It has been called the largest rescue by sea in history and is often compared to Dunkirk, where a roughly comparable number of soldiers and civilians were rescued over a period of eight days. Now in their new book, American Dunkirk: The Waterborne Evacuation of Manhattan on 9/11, Professors James M. Kendra and Tricia Wachtendorf look at how and why this nearly miraculous evacuation was accomplished and what lessons can be learned in the case of future disasters.

Tugboats Illustrated by Paul Farrell

tug boats illustrated coverIn Tugboats Illustrated, Paul Farrell traces the evolution, design, and role of tugboats, ranging from the first steam-powered tug to today’s hyper-specialized offshore workboats. Through extensive photographs, dynamic drawings, and enlightening diagrams, he explores the development of these hard-working boats. Whether making impossible turns in small spaces, crashing through huge swells, pushing or pulling or prodding or coaxing or escorting, we come to understand not only what tugs do, but how physics and engineering allow them to do it. Tugboats Illustrated is a gorgeously detailed guide to the evolution, design, and role of tugboats, from the earliest days of steam to today’s most advanced ocean-going workboats. (Published November 29, 2016)

Into The Raging Sea by Bernie Webber 

Into The Raging Sea by Bernie Webber Into a Raging Sea by Bernie Webber is a personal memoir by a Coast Guardsmen who truly knew his purpose and then some. This Coast Guardsman is Bernard Webber, coxswain of motor lifeboat CG-36500, from Station Chatham, Massachusetts. His and his station’s story will be featured on the big screen when The Finest Hours premieres later this month. Until then, you can hear directly from Webber himself in raw, candid text about his role in the Pendleton rescue and what life was like at Station Chatham in the 1950s.

 Brilliant Beacons: A History of the American Lighthouse by Eric Jay Dolin

beacons Lighthouses exist only because of those who built them, operated them and maintained them. Bestselling author of Leviathan Eric Jay Dolin’s Brilliant Beacons: A History of the American Lighthouse  tells the story of how these iconic structures came to be and how they helped shape the commerce and the future of our young nation. (Published Apr 18, 2016)


Crossing the Bar: The Adventures of a San Francisco Bay Bar Pilot by Paul Lobo

unknownThere is nothing placid about San Francisco Bay. Its raucous waters have hosted brutal storms, daring rescues, horrendous accidents, and countless hours of drama and tension. Captain Paul Lobo knows that better than most people, Lobo piloted nearly 6,500 boats in a thirty-one year career—everything from mega-yachts to the USS Enterprise to the Love Boat. Each trip tells its own story, and Lobo shares many in his new book Crossing the Bar: The Adventures of a San Francisco Bay Bar Pilot. Here readers will find gripping, tense adventure stories, all well told. (Published September 6, 2016)


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