Lieutenant-Commander, the hero of this novel, is axed from the Navy at the age of thirty-six, one of many thousands obliged to re-plan their lives as the result of cuts in the armed services. A widower with a small daughter, he has no experience or knowledge outside submarines and the Royal Navy.
His whole life had been that of a sailor since he joined up direct from school at the beginning of the war. This is not only the story of his struggles and adventures when he tries to find some way of earning his living; it is the story of his difficulty in adjusting himself to an unfamiliar civilian world.
Monica Dickens's novel is the story of all such men in any of the services who find themselves so rudely thrust into the ordinary life of their country which, though they have served unselfishly, they find they are ill-equipped to live in. Written with the lighter humorous touch of some of her earlier books, it is a sympathetic presentation of the human side of one of those mass adjustments forced on society by the changing nature of the world and its affairs.
Man Overboard was first published in 1958.