Captains Courageous by Rudyard Kipling

Review by Edward Malnar

The bold, rich literary tradition of the naval genre awaits us, lost in a past when travel was hazardously arduous. Few of us today know what great skill was required to navigate both wind and waves. Rudyard Kipling graciously provided Captains Courageous as our maritime induction, excellent for all those not ready to dive into more detailed (and often jargon-ridden) exemplars of the genre. Through the eyes of Harvey Cheyne, a rich teenager lost at sea, he teaches us how to survive, sail, and fish the frigid North Atlantic beyond the Grand Banks. Cheyne’s maturation and growing appreciation for skilled labor help us as readers grow with him, as he experiences the dangers and joys of life at sea with his fresh, eager eyes. Enjoyable characterization of the rugged, reliable old salts who teach him the ropes frames his development through honest and hard labors. With swift plot and short chapters, both products of its serialized publication, Rudyard wrote for youth just as much as adults. I recommend this book for adventurers of all ages.

Review courtesy of Northfield Public Library

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