Two Years Before the Mast

Two Years Before the Mast

A Personal Narrative of Life at Sea

By Richard Henry Dana, Jr.; Gary Kinder (Introduction by)

Modern Library, Paperback, 9780375757945, 544pp.

Publication Date: October 9, 2001


Tracing an awe-inspiring oceanic route from Boston, around Cape Horn, to the California coast, Two Years Before the Mast is both a riveting story of adventure and the most eloquent, insightful account we have of life at sea in the early nineteenth century. Richard Henry Dana is only nineteen when he abandons the patrician world of Boston and Harvard for an arduous voyage among real sailors, amid genuine danger. The result is an astonishing read, replete with vivid descriptions of storms, whales, and the ship's mad captain, terrible hardship and magical beauty, and fascinating historical detail, including an intriguing portrait of California before the gold rush. As D. H. Lawrence proclaimed, "Dana's small book is a very great book."

About the Author
Dana was a student at Harvard when he spent time as a common sailor, sailing around Cape Horn to California and back. Later, after admittance to the bar, he became quite distinguished in maritime law.

Gary Kinder is the author of the best-selling books Victim and Light Years. He began researching this story in 1987 and was aboard the "Arctic Discoverer" in 1989, when Thompson announced his find to the public. Gary Kinder lives in Seattle with his wife and two daughters. He teaches advanced writing seminars to lawyers across the country.

Praise For Two Years Before the Mast

"Possesses . . . the romantic charm of Robinson Crusoe."
--Ralph Waldo Emerson