The first reaction to this book is jaw dropping. The publisher has a well deserved reputation for producing outstanding, heavily-illustrated large format books with the highest quality production. The author has produced fine text from extensive research and the illustrations have been executed by Mark Myers who demonstrates great ability in producing the vital images. The cover price is aggressive for a book of this quality, although it will inevitably restrict access for many readers who would greatly enjoy the work. Traditionally this is the type of book that used to reach a wider audience through public lending libraries but many of these important sources of information and education are being closed, with the survivors facing a totally inadequate funding for the purchase of new books. This may be addressed eventually with public access to the new British Library Copyright database for electronic books, but there are many issues to be addressed before that becomes practical with adequate protection of intellectual rights. So the best this reviewer can offer would-be readers is: sell your grannies, beg, borrow, or steal the cover price and snap up a copy. This is fantastic book, that opens the mysteries of seamanship in the age of sail. It is comprehensive and although the period covered is 1600 to 1860, the lessons in seaman ship apply to earlier vessels and to those magnificent survivors, the USN Frigate USS Constitution and the US whale ship Charles W Morgan, both of which have been restored to full sailing capability. Very Highly Recommended.