Richard Henry Dana referred to this book as “a voice from the sea”. It influenced Conrad and Melville, and has become a maritime classic that has inspired legions of men with a passion for the sea.
Dana, a law student turned sailor for health reasons, sailed in 1834 aboard the brig Pilgrim on a voyage from Boston around Cape Horn to California. (Hence the city name Dana Point.) 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.