Two Years before the Mast

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Two Years before the Mast

Richard Henry Dana, Bernard Mayes


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Richard Henry Dana referred to this book as “a voice from the sea.” Influencing such authors as Conrad and Melville, it has become a maritime classic that has inflicted legions of men with a passion for the sea.

Dana, a law student turned sailor for health reasons, sailed in 1834 on the brig Pilgrim for a voyage from Boston around Cape Horn to California. Dana Point was named as a result of this journey. Drawing from his journals, Two Years before the Mast gives a vivid and detailed account, shrewdly observed and beautifully described, of a common sailor’s wretched treatment at sea, and of a way of life virtually unknown at that time.

This is a breathtaking true story of adventure on the high seas.


Richard Henry Dana:

Richard Henry Dana Jr. (1815-1882) was an American lawyer and politician from Massachusetts. A descendant of an eminent colonial family, Dana gained renown as the author of Two Years before the Mast, a memoir which became an American classic. Both as a writer and a lawyer, Dana was a champion of the downtrodden, from seamen to fugitive slaves.

Bernard Mayes is a teacher, administrator, corporate executive, broadcaster, actor, dramatist, and former international commentator on US culture. He is best known for his readings of historical classics.