The Last Schoonerman, Joe Russell
The remarkable life of Captain Lou Kennedy
This is the page-turning story of a man who walked out of college, went to sea, and lived life on his own terms. From the 1920s until the 1980s, Captain Kenedy mastered ships delivering cargo while supporting a family and doing what was necessary as he sailed up and down the eastern seaboard of North America from Nova Scotia to the Caribbean. The incredible life of Captain Lou Kenedy was framed by the 10 vessels he owned and skippered. Preferring sail to engine power, even after the middle of the twentieth century, he made a profit hauling cargo between the Caribbean, Canada, and the northeastern United States. He lost vessels in raging hurricanes and once at the hands of a German U-boat captain during World War II. He was there during the Cuban Camarioca Boat Lift, and also chartered vessels for use in motion pictures. Through it all, Lou Kenedy's character was shaped by the hard necessities of the way of life he'd chosen, but tempered by great humor and an unsinkable zest for life. While this can certainly be termed a "nautical book," the casual observer may make the mistake of identifying The Last Schoonerman as a book only for those interested in boating and the sea. And while it is true that ships and the sea are the backdrop upon which this story is painted, the book is actually the account of the life and times of an incredibly interesting and multi-dimensional man. It doesn't take long for the reader to realize that Captain Kenedy was a unique and masterful problem solver. This characteristic, combined with his intriguing personality and the independent lifestyle he chose, created the opportunity for a talented writer to put it all together in a compelling narrative that meritsthe reading time of people of all stripes. This combination is what keeps the reader engaged page after page, asking "What will happen next? And what will Lou Kenedy do about it?" The Last Schoonerman is a book worth reading and a book both landlubbers and sailors will certainly find interesting, educational, and above all, enjoyable.