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Book Launch: Michael Hadley (Boxing the Compass: A Life of Seafaring, Music, and Pilgrimage)

April 5 @ 3:30 pm 5:00 pm

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.

Included in admission to the Maritime Museum of BC, this event will run in the museum gallery. There will be a Q&A period and a book signing, with copies available in the museum gift shop.

Walk-ins are welcome, but registering ahead ensures you get a spot!

About the Book

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 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, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and was awarded the Lieutenant-Governor’s Award for Maritime Achievement in 2023.

744 Douglas Street
Victoria, British Columbia V8W3M6 Canada
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