Review: Seized by Max Hardberger

Title: Seized
Author: Max Hardberger
Source: ARC-B&N Sneak Peak

“Seized” is subtitled “A Sea Captain’s Adventures Battling Scoundrels and Pirates While Recovering Stolen Ships in the World’s Most Troubled Waters.” And that it is! The book will be available in hardback on April 6, 2010. I received the book from Barnes & Nobles’ [“Sneak Peak” program](

Back Cover:

Seized throws open the hatch on the shadowy world of maritime shipping, where third-world governments place exorbitant liens against ships, pirates seize commercial vessels with impunity, crooks and con artists reign supreme on the docks and in the shipyards—and hapless owners have to rely on sea captain Max Hardberger to recapture their ships and win justice on the high seas.

A ship captain, airplane pilot, lawyer, teacher, writer, adventurer, and raconteur, Max Hardberger recovers stolen freighters for a living. In Seized, he takes us on a real-life journey into the mysterious world of freighters and shipping, where fortunes are made and lost by the whims of the waves. Desperate owners hire Max Hardberger to “extract” or steal back ships that have been illegitimately seized by putting together a mission-impossible team to sail them into international waters under cover of darkness. It’s a high stakes assignment—if Max or his crew are caught, they risk imprisonment or death.

The 12 chapters of Seized tell amazing stories of Max Hardberger’s adventurers. These are the kind of stories you would love to hear first hand, sitting at a bar or, better yet, at a family get together. ‘Stealing’ a ship out from under the nose of foreign governments is not a job for the average guy. A number of times the author tells of doing these jobs for his ‘day rate’ which is implied to not be excessive. I hope that the day rate he charged was enough to compensate for the risks taken.
How much do you need to offset the possibility of 15 years in a Venezuelan prison?

Although the lines are blurred when the ‘repo man’ is working against a local government, the only story that seemed to cross the line was Captain Hardberger’s assisting a friend buy planes from some East Germans a week prior to reunification by flying them covertly to a shipping yard and then having the planes snuck out of the country in shipping containers.

His marriage finally did fall victim to his lifestyle. Extended absences are never easy on spouses. You might think the stories would include mentioning girlfriends in each port? You would be wrong. I did not know a sailor story could be told without that element. If this is ever made into a movie, I wonder if the producer will have to add some fiction?

Overall this was a good read. It could definitely use a little more editing by a professional writer to smooth the captain’s stories, but if you imagine you are in a bar with a favorite uncle recounting his adventures, you can ignore the occasional rambling.


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One Response to “Review: Seized by Max Hardberger”

  1. cc cultota says:

    Just read it and having frequented most of the areas encompassed by the book find it very entertaining and true to life.
    Highly recommended.

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