Book Reviews

Here are some book reviews two of which were submitted to Amazon and one from the newspaper "Telegraph" of Nautilus, the professional association of Merchant Navy officers for United Kingdom and Holland.
This review is about Water Under the Keel (Paperback) submitted to Amazon

There are numerous biographies and autobiographies written by or about captains from the days of the commercial sailing ship, and even more by those who served in predominately senior positions in the Royal Navy (and in other navies), but little has been published in English by those who served in the British Merchant Navy since 1950. This is probably because the 'sense of adventure', the lack of variety and the life on board ship were not and are not as inspiring or varied enough as they might have been in the past to make for an interesting read, particularly for the lay-reader.

However, those who followed a less traditional career at sea - whatever that is in todays more flexible environment - do have a story to tell and this is a good example. Besides or in addition to following a less than traditional sea-going career, this autobiography combines the very personal story of one man's life, from his childhood to his growing family, all under-pinned by a strong Christian faith, to his forty-one years at sea, first through the then usual four-year deck apprenticeship - all completed at sea - to taking command with the former Scottish Fisheries Protection Agency, now part of that cumbersomely titled Marine Scotland Compliance (a reflection, no doubt, of its cumbersome bureaucracy!).

Captain Beveridge does not skimp on detail. Far from it! Indeed, his travels as an apprentice, the experiences he had and his journey through 'the ranks' as he gained his all-important certificates, are here described in-depth, including the telling of numerous events and incidences at sea and, during his early years, on runs ashore in different countries around the world. It is a very personal story in that the author has no qualms about sharing his beliefs, his thoughts and his commitment to his wife and family with readers he will never know. Yet throughout is the attraction - the pull - of the sea.

In addition to being an autobiography of a career merchant sailor from the post-Second World War era, and therefore an historical record for that alone, this book also contributes, through the author's upbringing and family life, to the social history of Scotland in the period 1949 to 2007.

The book is profusely illustrated with family photos and photos of most of Captain Beveridge's ships. It comes highly recommended.


This review is about Water Under the Keel (Paperback) submitted to Amazon

Follow David Littlejohn Beveridge through 41 years.
From his early life in the '50's and 60's; to his travels around the world as a young seaman, on board the long distance cargo ships of the late 60's and70's; to his marriage, children, family life, promotion and finally, taking command as Captain in the fleet of the Scottish Fisheries Protection Agency.
If you're interested in the discipline of sailing and seagoing AND in a jolly good story, then this is for you!
A very enjoyable read- you can almost see and smell that fickle sea!
Highly recommended.

Anne Marie Corr

Book review by the Telegraph, the newspaper of Nautilus International, The professional association of Merchant Naval Officers in the United Kingdom and Holland.

Water Under the Keel – An autobiography of 41 tears at sea.
David Beveridge went to sea in 1966 and spent the next 41 working his way up to captain for the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for Scotland. This is his first self-published book and spans all 41 years.
Captain Beveridge is the son of a marine engineer and pays tribute to his parents and his upbringing in the early chapters of the book acknowledging that his happy childhood set him on the right path.
He had applied to the Royal Marines and the Army but hay fever and varicose veins kept him out, then some wise words from his father and a chance tour around a cargo vessel encouraged him to follow his family into the Merchant Navy.
He began his apprenticeship with T&J Brocklebank, where he sailed on both the Mangla and Maturata for two years as an apprentice, and then became acting third officer on the Mahronda without having set foot in a college – much to his pleasure.
The story of Capt. Beveridge’s first tri is much longer than the others, and after the first few chapters he skips along at a fair pace. That said he does not leave out the detail which brings any story to life. He describes his journey through the ranks alongside the ships he earned his stripes on and the people who helped and hindered him along the way.
It is a very personal story told in an honest and open style. He does not hold back on sharing his religious beliefs, his gratitude and commitment to his family, or his feelings about a life at sea and how it has changed.
As he says in the introduction, he is not there to impart every detail of his life as that would take another 65 years. What he does is “give you a flavour of it and try to let you feel it and recall some of the more exciting parts.”
As with many self-published books there are a few typos and errors, but on the whole it is well produced and well presented. There also seems to be plenty of scope for a second instalment going into more detail on the adventures that could not be squeezed into this collection.