Two Years Before the Mast

  • by Richard Henry Dana
  • Narrated by Jim Killavey
  • 15 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Richard Henry Dana called this book a "a voice from the sea". It had an influence on both Joseph Conrad and Herman Melville, both of whom sang its praises. Dana was a law student at Harvard College who decided, in 1834, to take a break from his studies in order to experience the "real world" by signing on as a common sailor for a two year voyage from Boston around Cape Horn to California. He kept a journal which he turned into a book after the voyage. In it he gives a vivid and detailed account of his fantastic voyage. The book is many things: a history, travelogue, a social documentary and an adventure story. W. Clark Russell, one of the best writers of sea-stories in English, called it "the greatest sea-book that was ever written in any language", and Ralph Waldo Emerson said, it "possesses...the romantic charm of Robinson Crusoe".

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Audible Editor Reviews

This is a classic account of life at sea in the 1830s, written by a Harvard dropout determined to set sail and experience the "real world". Author Richard Henry Dana said his goal with the book was to "to present the life of a common sailor at sea as he really is - the light and the dark together." Performer Jim Killavey's deep voice and Yankee accent is a great match for these vivid stories, which don't shy away from the many cruelties and hardships experienced by sailors. While this is an older recording that lacks the precise sound quality of newer works, sailors and those who wish they were will appreciate its salt-drenched charm.

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What the Critics Say

"Possesses...the romantic charm of Robinson Crusoe." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A great book ruined by dreadful narration

I read the printed book some years ago and loved it. However I could not get past the first 15 minutes due to the expressionless deadpan voice of the reader. Lets hope a better version can be found in the future.
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- Nigel

Book Details

  • Release Date: 13-02-2006
  • Publisher: Jimcin Recordings