Books by Michael S. Sanders

NON-FICTION
Released: April 12, 2005

"A refreshing portrait of wine not as an elite mystery, but as a product wrung from the earth by honest labor."
With great respect and admiration, Sanders (From Here, You Can't See Paris, 2002, etc.) pores over the convivial and welcoming wines of southern France. Read full book review >
NON-FICTION
Released: Nov. 12, 2002

"A good and leathery year abroad, an honest and deeply enjoyed experience that avoids skimming off only the fruity bonbons while neglecting the ruck of daily life."
A French village, a good restaurant, and a year's worth of time to spend in both add stock to the lives of Sanders and his family. Read full book review >
HISTORY
Released: Nov. 1, 1999

An unhurried, meticulous, character-rich portrait of the Bath Iron Works, where the navy's destroyers are built, is the subject of Maine writer Sanders's first book. The massive complex of ways, cranes, and hangars along Maine's Kennebec River, the Bath Iron Works, has been fashioning grand and enormous ships for over a century. It's more than just an economic mainstay of the state, as Sanders's history and tour of the works makes plain: it's an institution that has as much to do with the art and pride of shipbuilding as it does with employing 5,000 workers: pipe fitters, marine architects, braziers, draftsmen, tinknockers, riggers, anglesmiths, straighteners, and blasters. These days the works feels fortunate to be one of only six remaining active naval shipyards in the US—commercial ships are built at subsidized yards in Korea, Finland, Russia, and Japan—and as the navy downsizes, it's a precarious existence. Sanders follows the building of the destroyer USS Donald Cook, from first torch cut to commissioning, a massive enterprise where welders become performance artists, smithies pound red-hot steel in cavernous penumbral furnace buildings like something out of Norse mythology, crane operators nurse into position steel slabs weighing hundreds of tons, sometimes by increments of an inch and not by computer control, but by the delicate touch of experienced hands on levers. And as this ship is a fighting vessel, there is included a short course on modern warfare at sea, in which naval engagements are carried out at great, and what feel like anesthetizing, distances. Sanders chooses his words caringly, working with an engineer's precision, a formal elegance, whereas the comments he records from the shipbuilders are more casual and a relief. Sanders depicts the works as part of a remarkable and increasingly rare industry that fuses technological innovation with proud craftsmanship and a work ethic that makes a shipfitter's affectionate patting of a 9,000-ton hull a very natural gesture. (photos, not seen) Read full book review >