McPhee is an excellent writer and has written an excellent book. It is a non-fiction historical narrative about life aboard a U.S. merchant ship in the waning days of both the merchant marine and the S.S. Stella Lykes, the cargo ship on which he travelled down the west coast of South America. Both his characters and scenic descriptions are exceptional. The narrative ends in a peculiar way, apparently in the middle of the return journey to the U.S. The ship had become “dead in the water.” He explains why, but what happened then?
I read this author´s non fiction book about the geology of the northeastern USA: ¨In Suspect Terrain.¨ Very good writing, if a little dated in the discussion of the new theory of plate tectonics.
McPhee's writing is direct, accessible, packed with facts and well organized; one learns much.
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