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Way of a Ship a Square Rigger Voyage in the Last Days of Sailby Derek Lundy
Synopses & Reviews
When, as a young man in the 1880s, Benjamin Lundy signed up for unimaginably hard duty aboard a square-rigged commercial sailing vessel — one destined for a treacherous, white-knuckle passage around that notorious "graveyard of ships," Cape Horn — he had no idea that his experience would also provide a window into an epochal transition that would fundamentally change man's relation to the sea.
A century later, Derek Lundy, author of the bestselling Godforsaken Sea and an accomplished amateur seaman himself, set out to recount his forebear's journey. The Way of a Ship is a mesmerizing account of Benjamin's life on board the square-rigger Beara Head, a remarkable reconstruction of a harrowing journey through the most dangerous waters, furling sails 150 feet aloft in heavy weather; enduring cold and danger; sleep-deprived and malnourished, at times half-starved; fighting each day to save the ship and his crewmates. In the process, Benjamin "learns the eternal lessons of the sea, which is to say that he finds out the sort of man he is."
But The Way of a Ship extends beyond the dramatic narrative of the voyage itself, evoking both the romance and brutality of a bygone era, illuminating the history of square-rigger seamen and the last days of the "beautiful, widow-making, deep-sea" sailing ships, above all demonstrating how the ascendancy of the steam engine led to the end of a centuries'-old tradition. Derek Lundy's masterful account reminds readers of what Melville and Conrad expressed so well: that the sea voyage is an overarching metaphor for life itself.
"An exceptionally rich and satisfying weave. Hoisting sail aboard his ship Beara Head in 1885, Lundy sails her on an enthralling voyage through maritime literature, history, sociology and folklore. Heir to the tradition of Dana, Melville, Conrad, Lundy is so intelligent and vivid a writer that The Way of a Ship earns its place as a worthy twenty-first century descendant of such classics as Two Years Before the Mast and Typhoon." Jonathan Raban
"A saga of life under sail that touches to the quick." Kirkus Reviews
"Derek Lundy's new and marvelous The Way of a Ship is a work of non-fiction, but in the way that the best novels always are. The setting — the sea — ultimately becomes the principal character in this gorgeous book and, as a protagonist, Lundy's ocean is as real and nuanced and true as Emma Bovary." Toronto Globe and Mail
?Armchair adventurers will devour this book about a trip around Cape Horn during the last days of great sailing ships.... Lundy knows the beauty of the sea as well as its malign influence.... A terrific read — tough, hardy and strong.? Alan Hustak, The Gazette (Montreal)
?The strength of the book lies in Lundy?s use of the skills that made his 1988 Godforsaken Sea a bestseller?. He understands the lore and has a passion for the material, delivering powerful and occasionally poetic descriptions, sprinkled with the musings of the best writers about the sea.? The Toronto Star
?Agreeably discursive?.There is also plenty of lore?.He succeeds, for the voyage ends with us knowing precisely what a sailor meant when, meeting yet another heartbreak, he exclaimed, ?Who?d sell a farm?? It was the short way of crying ?Who?d sell a farm and go to sea??? National Post
"The Way of a Ship serves well as a story of what life was like for thousands of nameless seamen, many lost to sea, and until now to history.? Edmonton Journal
About the Author
Derek Lundy is the author of Godforsaken Sea: The True Story of a Race Through the World's Most Dangerous Waters. He lives in Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, with his wife and daughter.
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