Steaming to Bamboola: The World of a Tramp Freighter

by Christopher Buckley. Congdon & Lattès, $14.95. It has been said that only fools and drunkaids go to sea, but the claim is false. Most people go to sea because they have nowhere else to go, a revelation that gives an undertone of melancholy to Mr. Buckley’s sympathetic account of his shipmates on a tramp steamer. Character sketches, marine reminiscences, and events of the voyage are neatly mingled. The ship did indeed carry her fair share of drunks, drug addicts, feuding officers, and plain maniacs, without whom life aboard would have been safer for the author but less entertaining for the reader.