At the end of last year, I participated in a “roundtable review” for The Man Who Thought Like a Ship. I’d never done anything like it before, and I must admit, I’d never even heard of this sort of thing until I was approached about doing it.
The International Journal of Maritime History asked eight scholars around the world to review the book and then asked me to respond to their reviews collectively. In all my years as a writer, I’ve never publicly critiqued someone else’s critique of my work. At first, I felt a little uncomfortable with the idea. I’ve always preferred to let my writing speak for itself. If readers got the wrong idea, I saw it as my own failing for not conveying my message more clearly.
I must admit, though, the roundtable was interesting and I enjoyed doing it. For one thing, it was gratifying having so many esteemed experts devote so much time and effort into reviewing my book. For another, I found the process gave me a chance to offer some insights into why I wrote certain parts of the book the way I did.
The result was a very lengthy discussion, about 50 pages in all: