Book Reviews

Anthony Allison

This book is packed with information, a treasure chest of photographs, anecdotes, portraits of key people and boats and shipyards.  The part about Barry Fisher and the joint venture is vivid and accurate.”

Anthony Allison
CEO, Marine Resources Company International (Retired)

Bruce J. Cole

There is a lot to like about the book, “With Two Nickels to Rub Together,” published this year and authored by Bo Shindler.

For anyone who was part of the North Pacific commercial fishing industry in the 1970s and 1980s, reading this book is going to seem like a homecoming. During most of that time period, I had the privilege to serve as Pacific Editor of National Fisherman, working out of Fishermen’s Terminal in Seattle, and I went on to hold the Publisher position, based on the coast of Maine, until 1994. Looking through the pages of “Two Nickels,” I read with pleasure about old friends and acquaintances alike.

“Two Nickels” is really one of those great American stories that document the building of the nation by risk takers—men and women willing to put their reputations and lives on the line to accomplish very difficult goals. in this case, Ed Freeman hops a freight train in Nebraska near the end of the Great Depression to travel west to Oregon to find a better life, nearly losing his life as the train crossed the Rocky Mountains.

By 1969, Ed and his son, Dugie, would form a new company that would build custom, all aluminum boats for the North Pacific fishing industry. During the relatively short life of the company, Freeman Howard boatyard would build some of the most sophisticated boats in the industry from the small Oregon town of Gold Beach.

The story that Shindler weaves together is a mixture of entrepreneurship, risk-taking, human creativity, and a history of west coast boatbuilding and how this boatyard did its work and thrived. Shindler is an excellent story teller. The book is a highly entertaining and the illustrations and photos are outstanding. And through all the story of Ed and Dugie Freeman and their boatyard, there is a blue-collar approach of getting things done no matter the cost.

Also, scattered throughout the book are nuggets of information on how to run a successful, complex business, told with a blue-color spin which the Freemans were known for.

You are not likely to find Ed and Dugie’s approach to accountability and customer service (as told by Shindler) in the Harvard Business Review: “They make plans, stay on task, implement decisions, accept responsibility, learn from mistakes, rarely hesitate, rebound from hardship, and when the bell rings they’re ready to come to the center of the ring even if it includes the possibility of taking a good ass-whipping. At their core Ed and Dugie Freeman were these kinds of people.”

I would highly recommend this book to anyone connected to the North Pacific fishing industry, or interested in its history and people. The book is also an excellent read for anyone interested in how to successfully develop a business in a challenging niche market.

August 29, 2021

Bruce J. Cole
National Fisherman Magazine Publisher & Editor (1975-1994)

Terry Moore

All who closely knew these people, as I have, would come to admire them. This is a true story of hard-working individuals who had vision, ethics, and the tenacity to persevere through various challenges in starting a company on a shoestring. With little more than the desire to provide for themselves and those that worked for them, the reader is exposed to perils faced along the way as well as personal and economic hardships.

For this reader, a mariner himself who lived through these times, and having known and had business dealings with many of those mentioned in the book, I found the author’s presentation of Ed and Dugie Freeman’s story to be a terrific read. The book is especially accurate and informative with historical events during the decades and filled with motivation for others who would aspire to similar paths.

Terry Moore
Retired, well known lifelong Puget Sound shipbuilding industry veteran, USCG licensed Marine Engineer (any ocean/unlimited horsepower)

Kerry Tymchuk

I became fascinated by a new book that recently crossed my path. In With Barely Two Nickels to Rub Together, author Bo Shindler tells the remarkable story of Ed Freeman and his son Dugie, who in the 1970s in Gold Beach, Oregon, would build the largest aluminum commercial fishing boat constructed in the United States. It is a colorful story that blends all that was and is iconic about life on the Oregon coast — timber, fishing, boats, the call of the Pacific, creativity, persistence, colorful personalities, and hard work. At 350 pages with 280 photographs and illustrations, it is a true coffee table book that will provide many hours of enjoyment.

Kerry Tymchuk, OHS Executive Director
The Oregon Historical Society

Rick Francona

I received a copy of this fascinating history of boat building on the southern Oregon coast from author Bo Shindler – many thanks.

I thought it was going to be pretty specialized, but it encompasses an entire saga of an American family from its roots to the move to Oregon and the creation of an industry, especially aluminum commercial fishing boats.

It’s a large book, and beautifully made.

Rick Francona
Retired USAF officer and Amateur Historian