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Biography & Autobiography Personal Memoirs

Boxing the Compass

A Life of Seafaring, Music, and Pilgrimage

by (author) Michael L. Hadley

Heritage House Publishing
Initial publish date
Apr 2024
Personal Memoirs, Naval, Social History
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2024
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Jun 2024
    List Price

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An award-winning historian and mariner takes readers on an engrossing international journey of self-discovery that explores timely themes of human conflict, ethics, and reconciliation.

A member of the so-called Silent Generation, Michael Hadley has a great deal to say in his twilight years. Opening with his Depression-era childhood on a lonely lighthouse on the west coast of Vancouver Island, this remarkably nuanced memoir spans decades, countries, and oceans.

Hadley’s reflections move through his years growing up in wartime Vancouver in the 1940s, his concert tours on the British vaudeville stage in the 1950s, and his early teaching career in Manitoba in the 1960s. He shares his naval service on both coasts and on the Great Lakes, and his professional experience in Germany, where unexpected friendships with former submariners trigger an interest in how countries deal with difficult wartime pasts. Human conflict, ethics, and multi-faith engagement in criminal justice reform and Restorative Justice shape Hadley’s understandings of reconciliation, taking him on prison visits across Canada, the UK, and Uganda.

Whether examining ancient historical sites and battlegrounds, navigating at sea, or riding camels in the desert, he seeks universal patterns of human experience. At once a deeply personal chronicle of a fascinating life and a measured, mature reflection on some of the most cataclysmic events of the past century, Boxing the Compass is an unforgettable journey that will leave readers reflecting on the experiences that affect us all.

About the author

Michael L. Hadley is an award-winning writer, scholar, yachtsman, retired naval officer, international traveller, and lecturer. He is the author and editor of several books on naval and maritime history, including Spindrift: A Canadian Book of the Sea (co-edited with Anita Hadley) and Citizen Sailors: Chronicles of Canada’s Naval Reserve, 1910–2010 (co-edited with Richard H. Gimlett), and his work has won such prestigious awards as the John Lyman Prize of the North American Society for Oceanic History and the Keith Matthews Award of the Canadian Nautical Research Society. He is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Victoria and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

Michael L. Hadley's profile page

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