About the Author
Gilson was born into a Gloucester working class family in the
depths of the “Great Depression”. He was raised in Ward II’s Dog
Hill neighborhood and introduced to the waterfront at an early age.
Gilson operated the harbor’s only fresh water boat, learning the ways
of the waterfront, as one would say, “early on, from the bottom up”. He
has fished the vessels, worked the wharves, and insured the fleet. He
graduated from Boston University and served honorably in the U.S.
Marine Corps, returning to his native Gloucester in 1961.
an authority on the great fleet buildup of the ‘40s and ‘50s, he
relates in this memoir his first-hand experiences on the Gloucester
waterfront. He writes graphically of a bygone era, spiced with personal
anecdotes, taking the reader into the heart of Gloucester’s historic
anchor industry. Gilson offers a “gull’s eye” view as only he
lived the experience. This is a must-read for the ambitious historian
thirsting for insight into the Gloucester that was once both myth and
GLOUCESTER in the
1940s was a self-contained "city", an island, literally, the ocean
separated us from the outside world. We were a complete entity,
supported mainly by our anchor industry — fishing. United and focused on
a common goal, harvesting the sea, our workforce was akin to an
army marching to a deafening cadence. As a young boy, I thought this
fantasy would go on forever; it was a magical time!