Synopses & Reviews
Two Years Before the Mast
is a book by the American author Richard Henry Dana, Jr., written after a two-year sea voyage starting in 1834 and published in 1840.
While at Harvard College, Dana had an attack of the measles that affected his vision. Thinking it might help his sight, Dana, rather than going on a Grand Tour as most of his fellow classmates traditionally did (and unable to afford it anyway), and being something of a nonconformist, left Harvard to enlist as a common sailor on a voyage around Cape Horn on the brig Pilgrim. He returned to Massachusetts two years later aboard the Alert (which left California sooner than the Pilgrim). He kept a diary throughout the voyage, and, after returning, he wrote a book based on his experiences. Recognized as an American classic, Two Years Before the Mast was published the same year that Dana was admitted to the bar.
In 1834, Richard Henry Dana, Jr., went from Harvard student to common seaman, sailing from California to Cape Horn. This journal survives as one of the most vivid accounts of the relationship between man and sea—and still rings true as a portrayal of man's endurance.
About the Author
Richard Henry Dana, Jr. (1815-1882) was an American lawyer and politician from Massachusetts, a descendant of an eminent colonial family. He gained renown as the author of the American classic Two Years Before the Mast, a memoir of his time spent at sea as a merchant seaman. As a lawyer, he specialized in maritime law, defending many common seamen in court and writing The Seaman's Friend, a standard reference on the legal rights and responsibilities of sailors. He is also the author of To Cuba and Back, Journal of a Voyage Round the World, and Twenty-Four Years After. Kirby Heyborne is an accomplished actor, musician, and comedian. He has received critical acclaim for his starring roles in the award-winning World War II drama Saints and Soldiers, the lighthearted family comedy The R.M., the award-winning boy-band mockumentary The Sons of Provo, and the award-winning quixotic comedy Pirates of the Great Salt Lake. He has had starring roles in thirteen features and many short films. Kirby has also appeared on the WB's Everwood and many national commercials. Recently, Kirby was seen as a recurring character on the hit FOX sitcom Free Ride. Kirby has received a number of AudioFile Earphones Awards for excellence in audiobook narration. He has narrated such titles as Nick and Nora's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, Black Swan Green by David Mitchell, Breathers by S. G. Browne, and The Genius by Jesse Kellerman. Kirby is a cofounder and director of the celebrated Los Angeles–based improv comedy group The Society. Also a successful musician, Kirby has released four solo albums and has had his music featured in many films. Kirby has delighted audiences across the country with his ability to blend heart-warming stories, beautiful music, and comedic wit.