WEST HARTFORD ——The solace is on the wall, framed, hanging above a bookshelf and tabletop stereo in the Reza family's living room.
It is a citation from the Connecticut legislature last September, honoring Abu Thair Mohd Zahid Reza for his "quick thinking" and actions aboard the hijacked cargo ship Maersk Alabama in April 2009. It might be the only official document that calls A.T.M. Reza a hero.
>>Pictures: Maersk Alabama Cargo Ship Hijacking
That distinction has largely gone to merchant marine Capt. Richard Phillips, who was in charge of the ship when four Somali pirates hijacked it off the Horn of Africa. Phillips has met with President Barack Obama at the White House, been lauded on TV and, just recently, released a book called "A Captain's Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea."
"He hijacked my story," Reza, 45, said Thursday.
>>Read NPR's story on Capt. Richard Phillips
>> BurlingtonFreePress: Capt. Richard Phillips writes book on hostage drama
His wife, sitting nearby in their Maplewood Avenue apartment, holds a copy of the book. It refers to Reza as "ATM Mohammed" of Pakistan. The wiry sailor is originally from Bangladesh.
"It's fiction, and it's being presented as if it's nonfiction," Elizabeth Pond Reza said. "It's insulting."
"We didn't get fair recognition," A.T.M. Reza said later. "Everybody fight back. Not just Phillips. He took credit from everybody."
Phillips, of Underhill, Vt., could not be reached for comment Thursday. But in a Boston Herald story this week, he defended the book while conceding that he got Reza's name wrong. As for a key argument from Reza — that Phillips did not volunteer himself as a hostage to save his crew — Phillips told the Herald that it was the media who crafted him into a hero.
The young Somalis were armed with AK-47s; the crew had high-pressure hoses and knives to defend themselves against the first pirate attack on an American merchant vessel in more than 200 years. His book, Phillips said, describes how the pirates captured him and the ship; there was no volunteering.
In the book's acknowledgments, Phillips first thanks the U.S. Navy and Navy SEALs for saving his life and ending the five-day hostage situation with sniper bullets that killed three of the pirates. The fourth, alleged leader Abdulwali Muse, is awaiting trial in New York on federal charges that include kidnapping.
Phillips then thanks the crew "for their ability to come together, think on their feet, and do the best job they could."
Sixteen of the 20 crew members who were on the Maersk Alabama have banded together again — this time to criticize Phillips' handling of the ship and to claim that he didn't take the piracy threat seriously until the Somalis were firing at them. They have a lawyer from Pennsylvania and call themselves the Alabama Shipmates.
Pond Reza, who is working with the Shipmates, mentions "possible litigation," but refuses to say against whom.
She also won't let her husband discuss how the past year has been for him, though she said "he's had a difficult time."
A.T.M. Reza nodded his head. He was seated on the couch, dressed in a collared shirt, slacks and sandals. Their 7-year-old son, Isa, relaxed in a room close by. Reza's demeanor was calm, his voice steady.
But his anger toward Phillips seeped through: "I don't want to see his face anymore," Reza said at one point. "For the rest of my life."