Count von Luckner, Seeteufel, and Lowell Thomas

Dear Mac: 

I came across your website while doing a keyword search for Felix Luckner. It is a great site with abundant interesting information. I also enjoyed Blaine's tidbits about his book on von Luckner. I read the Lowell Thomas book, "Count Luckner the Sea Devil" when I was a kid and was fascinated by it. It was one of many books that enticed me to go to sea and enlist in the U.S. Navy in the 1950's (I never did as I they found out I could type and I spent the rest of my enlistment on air stations). Many years later I found the 1926 German language version (autographed in 1927) of von Luckner's own book, "Seeteufel" in a used book store in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Strangely in this old German-settled U.S. city the book languished on the foreign language shelf. I picked it up immediately and read von Luckner's own account of his life. Later I purchased the 1927 edition of Lowell Thomas' book on von Luckner. Out of curiousity I compared Thomas' book to von Luckner's and found much of Thomas's book to have been a direct translation of von Luckner's German. Clearly much of it had been plagiarized from the original for the U.S. market but under Lowell Thomas's name. The only hint of his use of von Luckner's words in his book appear at the end of Chapter I with the words, "With me the story lies close as a companion piece to the story of Lawrence of Arabia, and I pass it on to you in the words of the Sea Devil and, I hope, with something of the tang of the sea." Thomas also notes that he does not "precisely" follow the chronological order of events in von Luckner's narrative. Even the photos in the Thomas book are taken directly from von Luckner's "Seeteufel". It certainly would have been nice had Thomas been a bit more forthcoming. In any event, even though my impression of journalists like Thomas has been diminished, I still have an autographed copy of von Luckner's own version which was a prize and eye opener.
Curt Larsen
Lusby, Maryland
on the shores of Chesapeake Bay

Hello Curtis,

My thanks for your interesting mail, and your kind words on Ahoy, it is an amalgam of my research and scribblings and my friend and Web Master   
Terry Kearns in Atlanta Georgia, without whom our site would not exist.

The Count was a fascinating character and a fine seaman, the likes of whom are unlikely to strut the world stage again.

He has generated more comment from across our globe than anything else I have written about.

I too have a copy of Thomas' book,
If you go to this URL from Ahoy:
http://luckner-society.com/  it will take you to the von Luckner Society in Halle Germany, amongst other things, there is a Bibliography on the Count that I did some time ago,  that could well be of interest to you Curtis.

The book by Professor James Bade from New Zealand " von Luckner A Reasssessment " is well worthy of study should you be able to access a copy.

I will mail separately part of his introduction which deals with Thomas and his book.

Again my thanks for getting in touch, your response is what is so wonderful about the net, the way it puts people in touch from many places in this  great world of ours.

With best wishes fro Australia.


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