n 1834, Richard Henry Dana, Jr., was just nineteen years old when he abandoned his life as a Harvard student to enlist as a seaman. Here is the awe-inspiring account of his travels from Boston, around Cape Horn, and to the California coast—an astonishing personal narrative brimming with unforgettable views of an arduous voyage. Vivid descriptions of fierce storms, close encounters with whales, bone-wrenching labor, and the ship's cruel captain mingle with discoveries of magical beauty and fascinating historical detail, including a rare portrait of California before the gold rush.
Originally written to expose "the life of a common sailor at sea as it really is," Dana's Two Years Before the Mast quickly became an American classic of maritime adventure. Crackling with realism, it remains one of the most eloquent and insightful depictions of life at sea in the early nineteenth century.