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Extended Audio Sample Simple Courage: A True Story of Peril on the Sea Audiobook, by Frank Delaney Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (133 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Frank Delaney Narrator: Frank Delaney Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2006 ISBN: 9781415935224
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In late December 1951, laden with passengers and nearly forty metric tons of cargo, the freighter S.S. Flying Enterprise steamed westward from Europe toward America. A few days into the voyage, she hit the eye of a ferocious storm. Force 12 winds tossed men about like playthings and turned drops of freezing Atlantic foam into icy missiles. When, in the space of twenty-eight hours, the ship was slammed by two rogue waves–solid walls of water more than sixty feet high–the impacts cracked the decks and hull almost down to the waterline, threw the vessel over on her side, and thrust all on board into terror.

Flying Enterprise’s captain, Kurt Carlsen, a seaman of rare ability and valor, mustered all hands to patch the cracks and then try to right the ship. When these efforts came to naught, he helped transfer, across waves forty feet high, the passengers and the entire crew to lifeboats sent from nearby ships. Then, for reasons both professional and intensely personal, and to the amazement of the world, Carlsen defied all requests and entreaties to abandon ship. Instead, for the next two weeks, he fought to bring Flying Enterprise and her cargo to port. His heroic endeavor became the world’s biggest news.

In a narrative as dramatic as the ocean’s fury, acclaimed bestselling author Frank Delaney tells, for the first time, the full story of this unmatched bravery and endurance at sea. We meet the devoted family whose well-being and safety impelled Carlsen to stay with his ship. And we read of Flying Enterprise’s buccaneering owner, the fearless and unorthodox Hans Isbrandtsen, who played a crucial role in Kurt Carlsen’s fate.
Drawing on historical documents and contemporary accounts and on exclusive interviews with Carlsen’s family, Delaney opens a window into the world of the merchant marine. With deep affection–and respect–for the weather and all that goes with it, he places us in the heart of the storm, a “biblical tempest” of unimaginable power. He illuminates the bravery and ingenuity of Carlsen and the extraordinary courage that the thirty-seven-year-old captain inspired in his stalwart crew. This is a gripping, absorbing narrative that highlights one man’s outstanding fortitude and heroic sense of duty. 

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joan | 1/15/2014

    " A real-life story that I knew nothing about before this book. Delaney captures the drama of the event and the people, and weaves a bit of himself into the book as well. Reminded me a bit of The Perfect Storm, with a happier ending. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Erikhart Hart | 9/26/2013

    " A good read that starts off well and then grows somewhat sluggish in the middle. A great sea story and example of leadership that is sadly out of fashion in our time. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Tuck | 4/17/2013

    " pretty fascinating story of giant rouge wave, ship disablement, abandoning and the captain refusing to abandon the ship (but he does eventually, phew) damn frank delaney is a kick ass writer. he has some fiction, "ireland". this has lots of detail about freighters, the engine room, decisions at sea. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Josh | 2/11/2013

    " The story was interesting enough to pass the time on a late summer's day. Delaney's writing was excellent at points and I'd be curious to read something else by this author. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Susie Nee | 1/20/2013

    " Another author from the literary conference. This book was an amazing story of a ship wreck and how the captain saved everyone on the ship except one person and then stayed with the ship for days even though conditions were still terrible and all he had to eat was pound cake and beer to drink. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 J. G. Burdette | 9/7/2012

    " A superb story written in an excellent manner. A very entertaining read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 James Hansen | 9/6/2012

    " This book is engaging from start to finish. It is a harrowing story of danger and disaster on the open sea and the courageous efforts by a captain to save his ship. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 John | 8/22/2012

    " Another great book by Frank. Exciting telling of an adventure at sea. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gail | 6/11/2012

    " I read Ireland by Frank Delaney and enjoyed it so decided to read Simple Courage, A True Story of Peril on the Sea. Reminds me a little of Perfect Storm. Bollard and Hawser "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Marcel | 11/2/2011

    " True story of the fight of one man against the sea against long odds. Was just not able to wade through the entire book, however,due to the writing style. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Cathy | 10/17/2011

    " Interesting account of what happened to a freighter in route from Europe to US. Remarkable actions by captain and crew to save everyone and the ship. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Laure | 4/21/2011

    " Couldn't get into this book so gave up around page 100. The story seemed to lag a lot and by page 100 I still wasn't sure where it was going. I didn't particularly "get" the characters, either. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary | 3/28/2011

    " I enjoyed this book.
    delaney is a wonderful story tell. The tale was strange and long--but kept me reading. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sharon | 3/14/2011

    " Frank Delaney is a consumate Irish storyteller and this book, which is a sequel to Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show, is just a treat to read! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bridgett | 3/12/2011

    " I saw the sad ending coming, but still... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tricia | 3/8/2011

    " It is a better book if you first read Delaney's previous book - Venetia Kelly's Traveling Show. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Denese | 3/2/2011

    " Hard to get into but then hard to put down.Ben led by Kate completely til the end. Set in WWII. "

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About the Author
Author Frank Delaney

Frank Delaney is the author of the New York Times bestselling novel Ireland, as well as The Matchmaker of KenmareVenetia Kelly’s Traveling Show, Tipperary, Shannon, and Simple Courage: A True Story of Peril on the Sea. A former judge for the Man Booker Prize, he enjoyed a prominent career in BBC broadcasting before becoming a full-time writer. NPR has called him the “most eloquent man in the world.” Born in Tipperary, Ireland, he now lives in New York City and Connecticut.