PHILIP DOSSICK

Peaches and Plumbs Booksellers

Two Years Before the Mast

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cover.jpg

Two Years Before the Mast

4.99

Two Years Before the Mast is the exhilarating 19th century personal narrative by Richard Henry Dana, Jr. that provides readers with an realistic understanding of America’s maritime heritage in the great age of sail: perhaps the most accurate picture yet of the life of seamen of that time, including the cruelty and abuse onboard ships.

The book was written after Dana, who suffered weakened eyesight after an attack of measles, dropped out of Harvard in 1834 and signed on for two years as a common seaman “before the mast” on the brig Pilgrim.

Dana’s masterful account deftly explores such themes as adventure and survival, status and social class, freedom and individuality, maritime life, and exploitation.

After publication in 1840, it was influential in improving the living and working conditions of seamen around the globe.

RICHARD HENRY DANA Jr. (1815-1882), a young man from an influential Boston family, came down with measles while a junior at Harvard College. The illness affected his eyesight, and he left college in 1834 because he had been told that a sea voyage would aid his failing eyesight. He procured a berth as a common seaman on board the brig Pilgrim bound, by way of Cape Horn, for California - then a province of Mexico. His sight restored, Dana re-entered Harvard, graduated in 1837, and went on to study law

 

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