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Two Years Before the Mast

A Personal Narrative of Life at Sea

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eBook published by Modern Library (Random House Publishing Group)

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Two Years Before the Mast, byRichard Henry Dana, is part of theBarnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features ofBarnes & Noble Classics:


    All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest.Barnes & Noble Classicspulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.
     
    When doctors toldRichard Henry Danathat an ocean voyage might halt his impending blindness, the nineteen-year-old Harvard undergraduate dropped out of school and became an ordinary deckhand on the brigPilgrim. The perilous journey from Boston, begun in 1834, took the ailing yet determined youth past Cape Horn and around the Americas, concluding in the Mexican territory California.

     

    This expedition inspiredTwo Years before the Mast, a first-hand account of “the life of a common sailor” and a work that combines history, philosophy, and personal experience. Published in 1840, the book convincingly re-creates life at sea—the beauty and adventure but also the cold, danger, and backbreaking labor. Dana’s depiction of the inhuman conditions suffered by seamen at the hands of capricious, brutal, and even mad captains and ship owners was so stark that the book fueled urgent cries for reform. It also was deeply admired by Herman Melville, Dana’s most famous literary confidante.

     

    Dana eventually became a lawyer, devoting himself to fighting for the rights of sailors—and slaves—in court. He went on to help form the anti-slavery Free Soil Party, work for the federal government during the Civil War, and serve on the Massachusetts legislature.
     

    Anne Spenceris the author ofAlone at Sea: The Adventures of Joshua Slocumand three books of sea stories and folklore for young adults. A documentary maker for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, she lives in Toronto.
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    Two Years Before the Mast, byRichard Henry Dana, is part of theBarnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features ofBarnes & Noble Classics:


      All editions are beautifully designed and are printed to superior specifications; some include illustrations of historical interest.Barnes & Noble Classicspulls together a constellation of influences—biographical, historical, and literary—to enrich each reader's understanding of these enduring works.
       
      When doctors toldRichard Henry Danathat an ocean voyage might halt his impending blindness, the nineteen-year-old Harvard undergraduate dropped out of school and became an ordinary deckhand on the brigPilgrim. The perilous journey from Boston, begun in 1834, took the ailing yet determined youth past Cape Horn and around the Americas, concluding in the Mexican territory California.

       

      This expedition inspiredTwo Years before the Mast, a first-hand account of “the life of a common sailor” and a work that combines history, philosophy, and personal experience. Published in 1840, the book convincingly re-creates life at sea—the beauty and adventure but also the cold, danger, and backbreaking labor. Dana’s depiction of the inhuman conditions suffered by seamen at the hands of capricious, brutal, and even mad captains and ship owners was so stark that the book fueled urgent cries for reform. It also was deeply admired by Herman Melville, Dana’s most famous literary confidante.

       

      Dana eventually became a lawyer, devoting himself to fighting for the rights of sailors—and slaves—in court. He went on to help form the anti-slavery Free Soil Party, work for the federal government during the Civil War, and serve on the Massachusetts legislature.
       

      Anne Spenceris the author ofAlone at Sea: The Adventures of Joshua Slocumand three books of sea stories and folklore for young adults. A documentary maker for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, she lives in Toronto.
      Product Details
      eBook
      Published: July 16, 2009
      Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
      Imprint: Modern Library
      ISBN: 9780307424877
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