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Rudyard Kipling’s famous novel, Captains Courageous, was based in Gloucester. Though it is fiction, this book provides an interesting and unique introduction to the maritime culture of historic Gloucester. There is also The Perfect Storm by Sebastian Junger, which dramatizes an incident involving a Gloucester ship that went down off the New England coast in 1991 and reflects the ever-present dangers in the lives of local fishermen. Other fiction featuring the seaport includes The Serpent Came to Gloucester by Anderson and Ibatoulline, a children’s storybook about Gloucester in the 19th century. Joseph Garland is one author has written several books about the city’s past and its role in shaping New England economy and culture, including Lone Voyager, The Gloucester Guide and The Fish and the Falcon.
For modern tips of what to do and see in Gloucester, get a map of Cape Ann or at least of Massachusetts. Gloucester is located in the far north of the state, not far from the New Hampshire border. There are not a lot of travel books specifically catered to Gloucester, but one of Cape Ann or Massachusetts will do. Two good ones are Gloucester and Rockport: A Curious Traveller Guide by David McAveeney and Massachusetts Hiking from Foghorn Outdoors.