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Two years before the mast were but an episode in the life of Richard Henry Dana, Jr.; yet the narrative in which he details the experiences of that period is, perhaps, his chief claim to a wide remembrance. His services in other than literary fields occupied the greater part of his life, but they brought him comparatively small recognition and many disappointments. His happiest associations were literary, his pleasantest acquaintanceships those which arose through his fame as the author of one book. The story of his life is one of honest and competent effort, of sincere purpose, of many thwarted hopes. The traditions of his family forced him into a profession for which he was intellectually but not temperamentally fitted: he should have been a scholar, teacher, and author; instead he became a lawyer.


Two Years Before the Mast
Average rating
5 / 5
Two Years Before the Mast
July 29th, 2013
The book takes away some of the landlubber's romantic view of a sailor's life and reveals a career of hard, often dangerous work under strong discipline. Nevertheless, the adventure-loving soul would enjoy reading it and the vicarious experience of rounding Cape Horn in the worst of storm and cold is rewarding. Highly recommended for one who enjoys looking back to times long ago when steamships were about to replace sail and computers, cell phones and tablets did not even appear on the far-distant horizon.
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