Preview: Three Good Books You Should Consider

December 6, 2014

Maynard Bray

Three books, two of them recent, came to my attention recently. I enjoyed them and thought that you might like them as well.

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Just about everyone knows what a tugboat looks like and what they do—generally.   And there are numbers of books about them. I'd known about Tugboats of New York—An Illustrated History for some time but just recently got around to buying a copy. The book is unusual because of its being written by a tugbot skipper who knows what he's talking about when it comes to describing how tugs actually do their work—how they hook up to their tows, how they extract a barge from a nest of them even if it's way inside, and what maneuvering in a congested place like New York Harbor is like. But the book is more than the experiences of a tug's skipper. It covers the history of towing and puts it into context with the emergence of the port of New York as well as with the evolution of tugboat technology. What I especially like besides the no-wasted-words writing style is how clear the photographs are. It's a fabulous job of printing even though all the images are black-and-white. George Matteson is the author, and New York University Press published it in 2005. The album-bound book measures 9 x 12" and has 271 pages. Amazon lists it used for around $15, soft cover, and has it rated 4-1/2 stars.

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