"It is said that some people are born with a silver spoon in their mouths. I was born with an anchor in mine." This quotation is at the core of this book, and speaks volumes about the life and times of its author, Nicholas F. Starace II. With heart-wrenching honesty, he shares the tragedies that befell his family, and how they survived by virtue of a strong determination to fulfill their destiny in America.
Starace saw the world—over eighty countries— from quaysides and ship-decks. But it took the miniature version—model ships—for him to see his family. His grandfather was a boat builder and seaman from Procida, an island near Naples, who immigrated to Brooklyn in the late 1800s. He brought with him an unusual passion that he would pass on to his grandson: model-ship-building. His grandfather’s teachings and a shared passion for all things nautical had a profound effect on Starace’s career path. His grandfather’s old hobby would also help him form a crucial bond with his son Nicky, before his untimely death at twenty-six. Nicky’s death woke the family—and especially Starace—to the chaotic nature of life, and to utter despair.
Starace began to look for his family’s identity as a way to make sense of not only loss, but terrorism, divorce, near-death accidents, earthquakes, cancer, military death in the family, and even the pleasant trauma of retirement. Notwithstanding the many setbacks, you will see the author living life to the fullest with an insatiable thirst for travel, challenge, and adventure.
White Sails Became Me is a gripping adventure of a life spent around ships, boats, and the sea. And while the central theme is nautical, it truly has something for everyone. It has strong themes of terrorism, survival, family saga, and the military. Starace’s travel experiences offer an abundance of cultural treasures for all to savor, not least of which are his fascinating safari exploits and life while living in Europe and Asia for eleven years. His enthusiasm in writing this book was not driven by financial gain, but a sincere desire to make a positive difference in the lives of readers.
Even if you are a very discriminating reader with little or no interest in seafaring, you owe it to yourself to read this book—you will almost certainly find it enthralling.