Simple Courage: A True Story of Peril on the Sea

Frank Delaney, Author . Random $24.95 (300p) ISBN 978-1-4000-6524-0

Crippled by two monstrous waves during a 1951 North Atlantic hurricane, the freighter Flying Enterprise was left wallowing on its side and looking as if it would sink at any minute. The subsequent rescue, in mountainous seas, of 10 passengers and 40 crew by lifeboats from responding ships was indeed harrowing—and it's over by page 92 of this overblown maritime-distress yarn. The rest of the book is about the Enterprise 's captain, Kurt Carlsen, who insisted on staying aboard to await a tugboat to tow the floundering ship to harbor. Carlsen certainly went beyond the call of duty, but heroism is measured by the stakes involved, which in this case were neither lives nor justice but merely the ship owner's investment. Delaney embellishes the tale with glances at Carlsen's family's anxiety, soggy reminiscences of his own family following the story on the radio and fulsome tributes to the Danish skipper's flinty Nordic resolve (which are rather undercut by the knowledge that Carlsen could have transferred at any time to one of the ships babysitting the hulk). Carlsen's story generated a lot of breathless press hoopla at the time, and it still has the feel of a trumped-up media sensation. Photos not seen by PW . (July 12)

Reviewed on: 05/15/2006
Release date: 06/01/2006
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-0-7393-3368-6
Paperback - 300 pages - 978-0-8129-7595-6
Hardcover - 459 pages - 978-0-7393-2662-6
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 213 pages - 978-1-58836-531-6
Show other formats
Discover what to read next