Tim Madge delves deep into the early part of this century to discover why the sea has always been such a lure, and why such romance has grown up around it when conditions on board were truly appalling for the men, and little better for the officers.
First-hand accounts vividly describe the hardships of the life of a seafarer, both in peacetime and at war, contrasting the experiences and treatment of men from 1900 to the present. Madge charts the dramatic decline in the fortunes of the British fleet, both merchant and naval, and examines the psychological and economic implications for Britain, accustomed as she once was to 'ruling the waves'.
Long Voyage Home captures the voices of a breed of men who are now all but extinct, as technological change rips though a way of life, and sailorless ships become a reality.
Praise for Long Voyage Home
“This fascinating book uses the voices of the men working ships to chart (a) tragic decline. This collection of compelling first-hand stories show just what it was like to work on Navy and civilian ships, outlining both the excitement, the boredom, and the constant draw of the sea.” - Hull Daily Mail
“This is a sad, disturbing, nostalgic challenging book. It is not for sailors – to them the tale is too depressingly familiar – but for the great British public, who have forgotten, if they ever knew, that we were once the greatest maritime nation the world is ever likely to know. Long Voyage Home should be required reading.” - Admiral of the Fleet, Lord Lewin, Mail on Sunday
Tim Madge is a social historian, lecturer and journalist. He is the author of a number of books, including Maiden (with Tracy Edwards) and White Mischief, subsequently turned into a BBC Radio Four documentary series which he wrote and presented. Dr Madge is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.