Two Years Before the Mast

Richard Henry Dana Jr.

Two Years Before the Mast, by Richard Henry Dana Jr. - click to see full size image

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Two Years Before the Mast is a memoir written by Richard Henry Dana Jr., first published in 1840. The book recounts Dana's experiences as a common sailor aboard a merchant vessel, the Pilgrim, from 1834 to 1836. Dana embarked on this voyage to alleviate health issues and to gain practical experience as a sailor. The narrative provides detailed descriptions of life at sea, including the harsh conditions faced by sailors, the demanding labor involved in sailing a ship, and the various ports and cultures encountered during the journey from Boston to South America and around Cape Horn to California. Dana also highlights the mistreatment of sailors by some captains and the challenges of navigating the complex social dynamics aboard a ship. Through his observations and experiences, Dana provides insight into the maritime trade of the early 19th century, as well as commentary on the social and economic issues of the time, including the exploitation of labor and the injustices faced by sailors. The book is celebrated for its vivid portrayal of life at sea and its contribution to maritime literature. This edition is based on a 1916 reprint of the 1909 Macmillan Company publication, with the addition of an epilogue 'Twenty-Four Years After,' which chronicles Dana’s return to California in 1859. Also included are notes on the text by Homer Eaton Keyes, Assistant Professor of Art at Dartmouth College.

Part of the Harvard Classics set.

This book has 165,844 words, 234 pages in the PDF version, and was originally published in 1840. This edition was first published in 1916.

Production notes: This ebook of Two Years Before the Mast was published by Global Grey on the 20th February 2024. The artwork used for the cover is 'Under full sail' by Friedrich Emil Neumann.

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