The Sailor's Bookshelf
Fifty Books to Know the Sea
Adm. James G. Stavridis, USN (Ret.)
Admiral Stavridis, a leader in military, international affairs, and national security circles, shares his love of the sea and some of the sources of that affection. The Sailor's Bookshelf offers synopses of fifty books that illustrate the history, importance, lore, and lifestyle of the oceans and of those who “go down to the sea in ships.” Stavridis colors those descriptions with glimpses of his own service—“sea stories” in popular parlance—that not only clarify his choices but show why he is held in such high esteem among his fellow sailors. Divided into four main categories—The Oceans, Explorers, Sailors in Fiction, and Sailors in Non-Fiction—Admiral Stavridis’ choices will appeal to “old salts” and to those who have never known the sights of the ever-changing seascape nor breathed the tonic of an ocean breeze. The result is a navigational aid that guides readers through the realm of sea literature, covering a spectrum of topics that range from science to aesthetics, from history to modernity, from solo sailing to great battles. Among these eclectic choices are guides to shiphandling and navigation, classic fiction that pits man against the sea, ecological and strategic challenges, celebrations of great achievements and the lessons that come with failure, economic competition and its stepbrother combat, explorations of the deep, and poetry that beats with the pulse of the wave. Some of the included titles are familiar to many, while others, are likely less well-known but are welcome additions to this encompassing collection. Admiral Stavridis has chosen some books that are relatively recent, and he recommends other works which have been around much longer and deserve recognition.