Two Years Before the Mast (an American classic for smartphones and tablets)

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Two Years Before the Mast is a memoir by American lawyer Richard Henry Dana Jr. of his two-year voyage from Boston to California as a common sailor on board a merchant ship. The term "before the mast" refers to the sailors' quarters located in the forecastle (the ship's bow). This book was first published in 1840 when Dana was still a law student at Harvard Universiy. In his Introduction, Prof. Homer Eaton Keyes explains why it is an American classic: We read it to-day not merely for its simple, unpretentious style; but for its clear picture of sea life previous to the era of steam navigation, and for its graphic description of conditions in California before visions of gold sent the long lines of "prairie schooners" drifting across the plains to unfold the hidden destiny of the West. (381.3 KiB, EPUB format)

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