The Dictionary of Nautical Literacy

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9780071362115: The Dictionary of Nautical Literacy

The nautical world is a distinctive subculture with its own art, traditions, lore, literature, history, idioms...even its own legal canon. While the body of knowledge associated with the sea is vast, there is a core of information that is essential to understanding maritime history and popular culture.

The first book to fully chart the culture of the sea, The Dictionary of Nautical Literacy is a must-have reference for absolutely anyone with a nautical inclination—from professional mariners and serious students to the millions of casual sailors and fans of authors such as Patrick O’Brian, Alexander Kent, Sebastian Junger, and William F. Buckley, Jr.

Written by one of the most respected names in nautical journalism, The Dictionary is formidable in scope and scholarship, featuring more than 3500 concise entries covering the full spectrum of nautical knowledge in the categories of language, geography, history, engineering, commerce, warfare, sociology, law, literature, and art. Unlike other nautical dictionaries that focus on defining parts of a ship and sailor slang, this book also identifies critical ideas, events, and individuals and explains their significance in maritime culture.

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From the Back Cover:

"From A-1 to Zumwalt this incredible volume covers the waterfront--and all the world's seas and oceans. Besides all the famous vessels, all the important naval battles, all the noteworthy designers and sailors, included here are even the names of the characters and players in famous movies dealing with the sea. It is a truly remarkable feat of research and organization and is an invaluable resource for anyone with even a passing interest in nautical history."--Walter Cronkite

"One of those rare reference guides that is as much fun to read as it is useful. On every page this work offers fascinating testimony to the enduring importance of the sea to our culture."--Nathaniel Philbrick, author of In the Heart of the Sea

"The Dictionary of Nautical Literacy is a massive compendium of nautical knowledge and maritime minutiae that whets the appetite to learn more. It is loaded with facts and laced with wit and wry humor. This will be a useful resource for any maritime enthusiast--scholar or amateur."--J. Revell Carr, Director Emeritus, Mystic Seaport Museum

"A vital resource for anyone interested in the ships and people that stream across the pages of history. How did we ever get along without this book?"--Peter Stanford, President Emeritus, National Maritime Historical Society

Who is the only American president to hold a patent? What 1963 movie is credited with changing popular attitudes toward marine animals? Welcome to The Dictionary of Nautical Literacy--a compendium of 3,500 "points of entry" into the fascinating world of nautical language, geography, history, engineering, commerce, warfare, law, literature, art, film, and more. Robert McKenna identifies influential, decisive, and entertaining ideas, events, and individuals, and explains their importance in maritime culture. The Dictionary of Nautical Literacy is a unique reference to browse, contemplate, peruse, and consult again and again.

The nautical world is a distinctive subculture with its own art, traditions, lore, literature, history, idioms . . . even its own legal canon. While the body of knowledge associated with the sea is almost as vast as the sea itself, there is a core of information that is indispensable to anyone who works on the sea or who simply desires to understand and participate in maritime history and popular culture. The Dictionary of Nautical Literacy is the first book to fully chart the culture of the sea--a comprehensive and thoroughly entertaining desk reference for all those with an interest in things nautical.

Robert McKenna avoids both the overly trivial and the overly familiar. Consequently, unlike other nautical dictionaries, which tend to concentrate exclusively on defining parts of a ship and sailor slang, The Dictionary highlights significant (and sometimes humorous) ideas, events, and individuals, and explains their relevance in maritime culture. Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd, Admiral Nelson, Davy Jones's locker, the Loch Ness monster, Little Toot, scurvy, sea legs, and zebra mussels--it's all here. The Dictionary of Nautical Literacy is a must-have reference for absolutely anyone with a maritime bent.

About the Author:

Robert McKenna, a sailor on Long Island Sound from boyhood, graduated from the Coast Guard Academy in 1985. After five years as an engineer and deck officer aboard several 378-foot Coast Guard cutters, he left the Coast Guard to pursue a career in nautical journalism. He was the founding editor of Professional Mariner, associate editor at Ocean Navigator, and founder of Nautical World, a magazine dedicated to marine art, artifacts, history, and literature. In addition to his work as an editor and author, Mr. McKenna works at the Mystic Seaport Museum and is the marine art and antiques columnist for the Antiques Roadshow Insider.

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