Cleared for Action

Book cover: 'Cleared for Action'
Stephen Meader
Bethlehem Books
Number of pages: 
639 pages
Grade / Age level: 

This "Budget Book" offers four full-length stories in one volume...

Clear for Action by Stephen Meader (copyright 1940)
Clear for Action tells of American sailing at the beginning of the War of 1812. Jeff Robbins is a young sailor from Maine, taking his first voyage aboard a cargo schooner bound for the Carribean. All aboard are nervous about being overtaken by British vessels who have been intercepting ships, blocking harbors and making trouble all along the Atlantic Coast. Jeff's world is turned upside down when their schooner is apprehended and he and several of his shipmates are forced into service on a British frigate. Clear for Action is an interesting and worthwhile adventure story that provides all kinds of insightful angles on the War of 1812 and offers a unique contrast to very-British Midshipman Quinn collection. The story wraps up amidst interesting plot-twists - a deserted island, buried treasure and big plans.

Reviewed 4-29-02

Whaler Round the Horn by Stephen Meader (copyright 1950)

Stephen Meader's "whaling yarn" brings to life the exciting and dangerous adventures of a New England whaleboat sailing all the way around Cape Horn (at the tip of South America) to the Pacific Ocean. Young Rodney Glenn, an orphan from New Hampshire, has always wanted to be a whaler, and we follow him aboard his first time at sea. Everything is new and exciting to his young eyes and young people of today will readily relate to his adventures.

Historically speaking, it's nice to find a story that gives an honest look at the interesting but sometimes ugly world of whaling without the politically correct shock and contempt with which whalers of the past are generally treated today. This was uniquely important to me in that one of my great-great-great grandfathers was a Portuguese whaler from the Azores. The first time I told my daughter about this ancestor (who was also a third order Carmelite) she reacted with disgust, given her great interest in whales and the number of books and shows on whales she had eagerly digested.

In addition to the whale theme which contains undercurrents of Moby Dick, 19th Century Hawaii provides a unique contrast with the home port in New England and the main character's adventures through massive storms (the Perfect Storm has little on this), harrowing escapes from the "jaws of death" and adventures on a deserted stretch of one of the Hawaiian Islands make for a memorable and engaging story.

Reviews of the other two stories in the Budget Book Cleared for Action by Stephen Meader will be forthcoming.

Additional notes: 

Copyrights 1940-1950

This book was donated for review by Bethlehem Books

Review Date: 
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