Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Five Years at Sea by James V. Lee

Five Years at Sea by James V. Lee is a unique book. It’s part memoir, part travelogue, part insider’s view of being on board Navy ships, and all interesting.

Lee spent five years, from 1989 to 1994, traveling the world aboard 13 different Navy ships as a civilian teacher of English as part of the Navy College Program for Afloat College Education. Since he was former Navy, he presents a unique perspective on shipboard life.

He enjoyed his years teaching students under difficult circumstances, and he talks about these men who, having found purpose and structure in their lives, are eager to learn. He also took advantage of the opportunity to visit places all over the world and interact with the people who lived there. He takes readers along on his many journeys to places most tourists don’t go. Those years also provided him with a front-row seat to some historical events.

I’ve never been in the Navy or even on a ship, but I enjoyed reading and looking at all the pictures Lee includes in Five Years at Sea. His book has been endorsed by some big names, including two Rear Admirals. An article in the Dallas Morning News recently talked about Lee attending the commissioning of the USS New York by invitation of one of those Rear Admirals.

I recommend it for yourself or as a gift to someone who has served aboard a Navy ship or who likes to travel. Lee’s perspective on this time and on life in general is fascinating. It didn’t take long for me to get into the book, and then I wanted to keep reading long after I should have been doing other things.

You can go to Salado Press to read more about Five Years at Sea. If you’d like to purchase Five Years at Sea, you can go to Barnes & Noble. And if you’d like to read the Dallas Morning News article, click here.
Helen Ginger is an avid reader who loves discovering interesting new books. She’s also a freelance editor, book consultant, blogger, and writer. She teaches public speaking as well as writing and marketing workshops. In addition, her free ezine, Doing It Write!, which goes out to subscribers around the globe, is now in its tenth year of publication.

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  1. Good to see another EFL teacher doing well at the writing game. James Joyce, JK Rawlings and now Mr. Lee. Maybe I'll have a go!

  2. Paul, after reading Lee's book, teaching aboard Navy ships seems like an ideal position, as long as you don't mind cramped quarters.

  3. This book sounds fascinating. I will have to think of someone who might enjoy it this Christmas.

  4. Maryann, James is also something of a fitness nut. He walked everywhere and even jogged on the ship. That's another reason why he's a good read if you like to go to out of the ordinary places. He would set out hiking across the landscape in places I've never heard of.

  5. This sounds like a great book. I love to travel, love reading biographical texts and thoroughly enjoy exploring out of the way places. I'll have to put it on my personal wish list.


  6. This series of book recommendations has really been fun and interesting, but I have found more books I would like than books I want to give away. :-)

  7. Sounds like a real adventureer, someone who does something I'd be afraid to do.

    Morgan Mandel


The Blood-Red Pencil is a blog focusing on editing and writing advice. Some of our contributors are editors, some are authors, and some are writing sheep. Yes, sheep.


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