A Talk On New Edition Of The Riddle Of The Sands

On 14 April 2011, Erskine C. Childers, gave a talk at Glucksman Ireland House of New York University on the new 2011 edition of The Riddle of the Sands. His great-grandfather, Erskine Childers’s book. The talk spoke on the competition for naval power among European empires to control the sea. The book’s plot concerns the growing arms race during the build up to the first World War. Germany and England at that time were in a tight rivalry for supremacy. Erskine Childers, the author, wanted to use the novel to warn the British Government about a possible invasion by Germany through the North Sea. My son read from two sections of the book and summarized parts of the content from his “introduction” in the new edition. He also explored the complicated life of his great-grandparents, their love of sailing, and their struggle and fight for the independence of Ireland. The talk included  family photos of his great-grandfather, with old maps of northern Europe to illustrate the setting of the story. My son shares in the love of sailing. In his introduction, he described his great-grandfather’s love of the sea: “Sea salt was on his brain at all times, and it was becoming his meditation. On the water, he felt most at ease; the bliss of the skipper and its sense of control. On the sea he had to answer to no one. There, it was his world, and his decisions.” As a young boy my son went on several cruises in many parts of the world with his father, Erskine B. Childers. At the age of seven, he went with his father to the Navy Docks in Dublin to pay a visit to the Asgard; the famous 1914 Howth gun-running yacht belonging to his great-grandparents (see my photo below). Years later, as a young man, he continued sail training at an Australian school off the coast of Thailand. This new 2011 edition of his great-grandfather’s spy thriller and sailing novel is available now at all major bookstores worldwide in paperback, and also in digital e-book format for iPad readers. This is a book for anyone that loves the sea, and adventures upon it.

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