Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Book review: "A Voyage for Madmen" by Peter Nichols

In "A Voyage for Madmen, " author Peter Nichols lures the reader from the start by offering careful descriptions of the nine men who will attempt to sail nonstop around the world alone. By the middle, you'll find yourself engaged and trying to guess how it will all turn out. By the end, it became a gripping page turner that I could not put down.

This is more than a sailing story; it's a story of people and personalities. Nichols has thoroughly assembled all the pieces but he's coy about not giving away the ending. Indeed, there are some jolting surprises along the way.

The one quibble I have concerns the use of sailing terminology and I give Nichols half-credit on this. Some authors of sailing books and articles bury the reader in so much yachting jargon that it can be incomprehensible to the average person.

Nichols does slightly better. At some points, he stops the narrative to carefully explain sailing principles. But at other times he's not as vigilant and the reader can get lost amid sailing phrases and terms.

Still, you can easily work you way through that, and follow the race as it develops. Even if you're not a sailor, you'll feel like you're along for this highly engaging ride.


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