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Joshua Slocum is believed to be the first man to sail single-handedly around the world. After a distinguished nautical career, during which he worked his way up from cabin boy to captain, Slocum wrecked his ship off the coast of Brazil. Turning this catastrophe to his advantage, he built a sailing canoe from the wreckage and sailed back to New York. Moreover, he wrote Voya Joshua Slocum is believed to be the first man to sail single-handedly around the world. After a distinguished nautical career, during which he worked his way up from cabin boy to captain, Slocum wrecked his ship off the coast of Brazil. Turning this catastrophe to his advantage, he built a sailing canoe from the wreckage and sailed back to New York. Moreover, he wrote Voyage of the Liberdade, a chronicle of his trip, and earned some literary success. This spurred him to attempt his perilous voyage. Having lost his fortune in the shipwreck, Slocum began his voyage on a shoestring. He was given the Spray, a century-old oysterboat in need of repairs. Two years and $500 later, he had rebuilt the wreck into an oceangoing wonder. On his 40,000-mile, three-year voyage, Slocum visited six of the seven continents, where he met cannibals, presidents, outlaws, and ambassadors. Amazingly, throughout his travels he lived off the land, fishing, trading, and giving lectures to keep his pantry full. He also met some remarkable people, including Mrs. Robert Louis Stevenson and Paul Kruger, who, believing the world was flat, warned Slocum not to fall off! This adventure will captivate sailors and landlubbers alike.


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Joshua Slocum is believed to be the first man to sail single-handedly around the world. After a distinguished nautical career, during which he worked his way up from cabin boy to captain, Slocum wrecked his ship off the coast of Brazil. Turning this catastrophe to his advantage, he built a sailing canoe from the wreckage and sailed back to New York. Moreover, he wrote Voya Joshua Slocum is believed to be the first man to sail single-handedly around the world. After a distinguished nautical career, during which he worked his way up from cabin boy to captain, Slocum wrecked his ship off the coast of Brazil. Turning this catastrophe to his advantage, he built a sailing canoe from the wreckage and sailed back to New York. Moreover, he wrote Voyage of the Liberdade, a chronicle of his trip, and earned some literary success. This spurred him to attempt his perilous voyage. Having lost his fortune in the shipwreck, Slocum began his voyage on a shoestring. He was given the Spray, a century-old oysterboat in need of repairs. Two years and $500 later, he had rebuilt the wreck into an oceangoing wonder. On his 40,000-mile, three-year voyage, Slocum visited six of the seven continents, where he met cannibals, presidents, outlaws, and ambassadors. Amazingly, throughout his travels he lived off the land, fishing, trading, and giving lectures to keep his pantry full. He also met some remarkable people, including Mrs. Robert Louis Stevenson and Paul Kruger, who, believing the world was flat, warned Slocum not to fall off! This adventure will captivate sailors and landlubbers alike.

30 review for Sailing Alone Around the World, with eBook

  1. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

    Check out how awesome this Joshua Slocum dude is. He's old, he's on a boat, he's got a badass straw hat. He doesn't care that he looks like a doofus with it on, which makes him that much cooler. He was the first person to circumnavigate the world alone (and that means to sail all the way around it, for you greenhorn scallawags out there). When he was nearly a few scores old, he shoved off from Newport, Rhode Island (without his wife/cousin Henrietta or his many children) in his trusty Spray to re Check out how awesome this Joshua Slocum dude is. He's old, he's on a boat, he's got a badass straw hat. He doesn't care that he looks like a doofus with it on, which makes him that much cooler. He was the first person to circumnavigate the world alone (and that means to sail all the way around it, for you greenhorn scallawags out there). When he was nearly a few scores old, he shoved off from Newport, Rhode Island (without his wife/cousin Henrietta or his many children) in his trusty Spray to reenact some of the Robert Louis Stevenson and Daniel Defoe novels he loved. He Old Man and the Sea-ed it up, if you'll allow me the liberty of verbing nouns. There are people today who do cool stuff like this. But they don't do it with nearly the style of this guy. Katie Spotz is a person, barely a score old, who rowed across the Atlantic Ocean by herself. But the difference is that she is merely accomplishing a feat of endurance. If she ever writes a memoir, this is what it will be: "I rowed across the Atlantic and it was really hard. My arms got tired and I got sunburned and I was really thirsty too and lonely." But this guy... Let me just try to summarize a few of the highlights: "I was married to my cousin and I left everyone to sail around the world by myself. I tried to keep a goat on board but he ate the only map I had. I met a group of savages who had never seen a white guy and some of them wanted to eat me and some of them wanted to worship me. I met up with Fanny Stevenson (wife of Robert Louis Stevenson) in Samoa. I don't even use a compass; I just point myself in the direction I think my destination is and hope I get lucky." What happened to that pure sense of adventure? Is there nothing left to explore in the world? P.S. I almost forgot to mention one of the most compelling things about this dude. In 1909, he joined the People Who Have Disappeared Without a Trace Club. He was on a routine voyage (alone) to South America and he never returned. Everyone thinks his ship must have been sunk by a whale, because he was too great a sailor and his boat was too seaworthy for any other explanation to be conceivable. But my guess is that he just decided he didn't want to come back. I'm willing to bet that he's still out there, sailing the seas and if you were to run into him today, he'd be 169 years old, but he'd look no more than a day over 120.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    From "Sailing Alone Around the World" -- "But where, after all, would be the poetry of the sea were there no wild waves?" I was taken sailing once in Bahstan Hahbah and it was not a pleasant experience. All I remember is it was very windy, and crowded with boats; I did not enjoy the company of our hosts and for all I know I had cramps. So I never set foot on another sailboat. But my GR friend Numidica, who sails, recommended the book and sailing with Joshua Slocum via the memoir of his solo sail From "Sailing Alone Around the World" -- "But where, after all, would be the poetry of the sea were there no wild waves?" I was taken sailing once in Bahstan Hahbah and it was not a pleasant experience. All I remember is it was very windy, and crowded with boats; I did not enjoy the company of our hosts and for all I know I had cramps. So I never set foot on another sailboat. But my GR friend Numidica, who sails, recommended the book and sailing with Joshua Slocum via the memoir of his solo sail around the world -- he was the first person to do it -- was a revelation and a treat. Knowing nothing about boats (except Titanic, so I knew the most basic terms such as "hull" and "davit," like a child who knows the alphabet but can't yet make words) -- let alone sailboats, with their many parts, with all the jargon, and with Slocum using his own spelling for some words so the Kindle and Google couldn't help me, many times I repaid my GR friend Numidica's great rec with an ocean of DMs. Roughly 927 -- feel free to correct me if I'm underestimating -- to which he patiently responded. Having him as a resource enhanced my experience of the book. I came away with a deeper understanding of the love of the sailor for his boat and the symbiotic relationship they have, which I'm guessing explains why ships of all sorts are referred to as "she" and not "it." There were so many parts to and on The Spray (and that's before engines and electronic equipment) and Unpredictable Things happened to them. So even when I had no idea what Slocum was referring to I went with it and was simultaneously at sea, so to speak, and rapt. This started from the beginning, as Slocum described building The Spray from the bones of another boat, and I have no idea what I'm talking about so I'll let Wikipedia do it -- "In Fairhaven, Massachusetts, he rebuilt the 36 ft 9 in (11.20 m) gaff rigged sloop oyster boat named Spray" -- because I wouldn't know a "gaff rigged sloop oyster boat" from a teredo worm. Thanks to an answer to the possibly 926th DM I sent Numidica, I am now familar with teredo worms which are gross but also cool worms that live in the ocean and eat boat-bottoms. Just as boat owners do today, Slocum painted the bottom of The Spray with copper paint and touched it up at various ports to foil these foul yet adorable creatures. Okay, then! If you know what a gaff-rigged sloop oyster boat is you've probably read the book or don't want to. If you haven't a clue and think this language is a deal-breaker, surprisingly it is not. That's because Slocum is very good at relating his story and there is so much else to enjoy besides the technical aspects and details. Joshua Slocum comes across as a superbly capable, intelligent, cranky, joyful curmudgeon, full of wit and sarcasm. This is an adventure story a la Robert Louis Stevenson (whose widow he met in one port) for anyone who enjoys any sort of adventure. He's in love with the sound of his own words; this is a man who spent a lot of time talking to himself and those conversations are interesting, and he knows it, which for this reader increased his charm. I can't imagine how much confidence it takes to sail alone at all let alone around the world, so to me he earned his conceit. A humble man could not have written this great book, but possibly he's more humble than he lets on. There are gales and hurricanes, high winds, huge waves: "On this day the Spray was trying to stand on her head, and she gave me every reason to believe that she would accomplish the feat before night. She began very early in the morning to pitch and toss about in a most unusual manner, and I have to record that, while I was at the end of the bowsprit reefing the jib, she ducked me under water three times for a Christmas box. I got wet and did not like it a bit..." Stand on her head, reefing the jib, Christmas box -- I have no idea what he's talking about but enjoy the telling. That was the case many times. It frightened me to imagine winds and waves whipping The Spray about like in the above passage, but it was also exciting. Here it's Man against Nature: Slocum luffing and taffing repeatedly, fighting for his life, caught in an unexpected gale. Thrilling to read about him living it, knowing others every day do so too -- although now with the benefit of engines and other electronic equipment. The book is harrowing and also fun. There were pirates. There were thieves, men waiting for him to leave the boat to socialize or give a talk at some port in this wide world to steal his stuff. So when he left Spray he'd strew carpet tacks all over the deck to protect his minimal possessions. Once when he felt threatened by men in another boat he went below and came back up having changed his clothes twice trying to make them think he was a crew of three. He didn't fool them but points for ingenuity. There were torn sails, essential Things breaking. There were beautiful sunsets, spare meals he savored, dolphins and flying fish, the latter a lovely spectacle and a welcome dinner when they'd fly right onto the deck of The Spray. He met people of all cultures, visited every continent except Antarctica. In his quiet moments alone with the waves and wind and stars he read, he loved to read and brought along a lot of books. His book chronicles a remarkable undertaking and exciting adventure. The reader feels the love and respect Slocum had for The Spray, this vessel he re-built and continuously worked so hard on that freed him from land, pit him against the ocean and his own skill and ingenuity, took him places most of us will never see, his ceiling most often the starry sky somewhere on the water with not another soul in sight. A man and his boat. And a man and his goat. He was gifted a goat in one port. It did not go well. "Clark, the American, in an evil moment, had put a goat on board, 'to butt the sack and hustle the coffee-beans out of the pods.' [whatever that means; sounds intriguing] He urged that the animal, besides being useful, would be as companionable as a dog. I soon found that my sailing-companion, this sort of dog with horns, had to be tied up entirely. The mistake I made was that I did not chain him to the mast instead of tying him with grass ropes less securely, and this I learned to my cost. Except for the first day, before the beast got his sea-legs on, I had no peace of mind. After that, actuated by a spirit born, maybe, of his pasturage, this incarnation of evil threatened to devour everything from flying-jib to stern-davits. He was the worst pirate I met on the whole voyage. He began depredations by eating my chart of the West Indies, in the cabin, one day, while I was about my work for'ard, thinking that the critter was securely tied on deck by the pumps. Alas! there was not a rope in the sloop proof against that goat..." The goat ate his chart hahaha. Not to be condescending but I found Slocum cute when he was mad, especially at the goat: "No sooner had it got a claw through its prison-box than my sea-jacket, hanging within reach, was torn to ribbons. Encouraged by this success, it smashed the box open and escaped into my cabin, tearing up things generally, and finally threatening my life in the dark...Next the goat devoured my straw hat, and so when I arrived in port I had nothing to wear ashore on my head..." That's what made him a captivating narrator; he writes as though he was more upset about his hat than having his life threatened in the dark. As playful as he was, though, for all the frivolity and rants small and large this is serious and a terrific adventure book. As Joshua Slocum wrote, so beautifully: "To face the elements is, to be sure, no light matter when the sea is in its grandest mood. You must then know the sea, and know that you know it, and not forget that it was made to be sailed over."

  3. 5 out of 5

    GoldGato

    This is the type of book that reaches out to you. I am not a sailor and much as I love and respect the sea, I usually get sea-sick. But it was an adventure to read this book, which is written with a precision and candidness that draws one to the tale. Slocum didn't just accomplish an incredible feat, he left a written record of an age long gone. He writes of cultures that have now disappeared amidst the wave of consumerism. When he is at sea, I swear you can smell the salt air and hear the ocean. This is the type of book that reaches out to you. I am not a sailor and much as I love and respect the sea, I usually get sea-sick. But it was an adventure to read this book, which is written with a precision and candidness that draws one to the tale. Slocum didn't just accomplish an incredible feat, he left a written record of an age long gone. He writes of cultures that have now disappeared amidst the wave of consumerism. When he is at sea, I swear you can smell the salt air and hear the ocean. His tortuous trip via the Straits of Magellan is particularly spellbinding. I justify five stars for a book when I get so absorbed, my meal turns cold. Such a book is this. Thar be splendor here. Book Season = Summer

  4. 4 out of 5

    Joshua Rigsby

    In a word, this book is delightful. The author, Joshua Slocum, did something truly remarkable. He was the first human being to ever sail alone around the world. Yet, perhaps the best part of this story is his style of presentation. Slocum is laid back, self-effacing, and actually quite funny. Some of the great lines were, "My singing has never inspired envy in others." and "He was a bearish man, and I've met a bear before." Upon coming across an uncharted island, Slocum promptly named it after a In a word, this book is delightful. The author, Joshua Slocum, did something truly remarkable. He was the first human being to ever sail alone around the world. Yet, perhaps the best part of this story is his style of presentation. Slocum is laid back, self-effacing, and actually quite funny. Some of the great lines were, "My singing has never inspired envy in others." and "He was a bearish man, and I've met a bear before." Upon coming across an uncharted island, Slocum promptly named it after a friend of his, and installed a sign on it that read, "Keep off the grass," which, he explains, "as discoverer, was within my rights." He makes several remarks about his ship's crew, which of course, consists of only himself, talking about how fine the cook's meal was, or what needed to be done once all hands were on deck. Even though he has done something amazing, something no one had ever done in history, he credits most of the success to his craft, the Spray, personifying her and congratulating her when things go well, and blaming himself when they do not. He also personifies the sense of good luck and fortune he experiences on several occasions in the captain of the Pinta who comes to his aid on several occasions. Slocum just seems to be an all around great guy. Children flock to him, heads of state entertain him, and friends give him gifts wherever he goes. He can spin a good yarn, and has every right to make up grandiose sea stories along with the best of sailors. As I've said, this book was delightful. http://joshuarigsby.com

  5. 4 out of 5

    Owlseyes

    HIS LUCKY NUMBER WAS THE 13... "My voyages were all foreign. I sailed as freighter and trader principally to China, Australia, and Japan, and among the Spice Islands. Mine was not the sort of life to make one long to coil up one's ropes on land, the customs and ways of which I had finally almost forgotten." "Perhaps he had heard of my success in taking a most extraordinary ship successfully to Brazil with that number of crew" "To be alone forty-three days would seem a long time, but i HIS LUCKY NUMBER WAS THE 13... "My voyages were all foreign. I sailed as freighter and trader principally to China, Australia, and Japan, and among the Spice Islands. Mine was not the sort of life to make one long to coil up one's ropes on land, the customs and ways of which I had finally almost forgotten." "Perhaps he had heard of my success in taking a most extraordinary ship successfully to Brazil with that number of crew" "To be alone forty-three days would seem a long time, but in reality, even here, winged moments flew lightly by" "My diet on these long passages usually consisted of potatoes and salt cod and biscuits, which I made two or three times a week" "I should mention that while I was at Melbourne there occurred one of those extraordinary storms sometimes called "rain of blood," the first of the kind in many years about Australia." "On the 23d of June I was at last tired, tired, tired of baffling squalls and fretful cobble-seas. ... And now, without having wearied my friends, I hope, with detailed scientific accounts, theories, or deductions, I will only say that I have endeavored to tell just the story of the adventure itself" This is a must-read, to be devoured; because it’s the first solo circumnavigation of the globe waters, by Captain Joshua Slocum. He departed from the USA in 1895, when he was 51. The boat he used, he himself had fixed; a not brand new one, the “Spray”. Azores, Gibraltar, Brazil and other South America nations, then the Pacific ocean and Australia, are the initial itinerary landmarks. Next, back to the west, till Saint Helena isle where Napoleon had been in prison. The trip ended in Fairhaven (USA). Yet he never made it back to the USA, as of 1909, when he set sails for the West Indies; he intended to explore the Orinoco, Rio Negro and Amazon Rivers. He just “disappeared”. Only in 1924, was he declared "legally dead".

  6. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Zapata

    May 15, 215pm ~~ Review asap. May 16 ~~ This book, which tells of Captain Slocum's three years sailing around the world alone beginning back in 1885, is one of those magical volumes that help me go where I know I never will in real life. I am a rotten traveler and I would be the seasickest sailor ever, but oh, I do love a good sea voyage, and this one was fantastic. Captain Slocum writes in such a friendly, down-home way. He doesn't try to dazzle you with his knowledge; he makes you feel like a p May 15, 215pm ~~ Review asap. May 16 ~~ This book, which tells of Captain Slocum's three years sailing around the world alone beginning back in 1885, is one of those magical volumes that help me go where I know I never will in real life. I am a rotten traveler and I would be the seasickest sailor ever, but oh, I do love a good sea voyage, and this one was fantastic. Captain Slocum writes in such a friendly, down-home way. He doesn't try to dazzle you with his knowledge; he makes you feel like a partner in a grand and glorious adventure. For that is exactly what this was. Back in those days no one believed it possible to sail around the world alone. He proved them all wrong with his beautiful boat Spray. The Captain had spent his life on the ocean, from the time he was eight years old when he had been "...afloat with other boys on the bay, with chances greatly in favor of being drowned." He was a cook on a fishing-schooner (until the crew tasted his first meal) and then joined the crew of a 'full-rigged ship on a foreign voyage' and over the years worked his way up to commander. He knew what he was doing, and he had been all over the world on his many voyages, so he was very qualified to undertake such a daring journey. Sometimes books that describe ocean voyages are annoying to read. Perhaps the author doesn't fill his pages with enough personal items to allow the reader to make an emotional connection. Perhaps there is too much technical information or data about safe harbors, or the writing style feels like it was copied almost word for word from a logbook. I finished a book like that just before reading this one. I was ready to mutiny during that book, but I would willingly follow Captain Slocum wherever he sails.

  7. 5 out of 5

    James Elliot Leighton

    This was one of the most influential books that I have ever read. I read it while still in my teens. Growing up in a seafaring (Naval) family I was able to sail from age eight. At eighteen, when other teens were looking for their first car, I bought (from an eighty-two year old widow) my first yacht, a 1928, wooden hulled A Class gaff rigged sloop that had sunk at its moorings during a storm. With a lot of help, I raised it, refurbished it, and lived on it for the next eighteen months. I then jo This was one of the most influential books that I have ever read. I read it while still in my teens. Growing up in a seafaring (Naval) family I was able to sail from age eight. At eighteen, when other teens were looking for their first car, I bought (from an eighty-two year old widow) my first yacht, a 1928, wooden hulled A Class gaff rigged sloop that had sunk at its moorings during a storm. With a lot of help, I raised it, refurbished it, and lived on it for the next eighteen months. I then joined the Navy and during my enlistment it once again sank during a storm. This time it was past salvage. After leaving the Navy I bought a Roberts Ketch and lived and sailed on it for twelve years. I have not circumnavigated the world in one pass, but I have sailed the Coral Sea - Pacific, North and South, the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic and ventured (but not thoroughly explored) into the Antarctic. I doubt that I would have done any of this if not for the influence this book had upon me. I love the book and respect and admire Joshua Slocum. Like most of his era, he writes well (good schooling) and tells a good story. Well worth reading.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    This used to be required reading for Massachusetts high school students. Joshua Slocum was the first to sail solo around the world. Still crazy to this day. The story was great in detail and local interest for the places it dealt with. I love Slocum's writing at points, but like Moby Dick, at other times I feel I'm just pushing through to get to the good parts again. His historical detail and places he visits is not only a good story worth reading, but if you think about it for a moment, the tim This used to be required reading for Massachusetts high school students. Joshua Slocum was the first to sail solo around the world. Still crazy to this day. The story was great in detail and local interest for the places it dealt with. I love Slocum's writing at points, but like Moby Dick, at other times I feel I'm just pushing through to get to the good parts again. His historical detail and places he visits is not only a good story worth reading, but if you think about it for a moment, the time at which he visits some of these islands is a record which was thereafter erased by modern progress. He is a unique character, and if you grew up on Cape Cod, or have ties to Nova Scotia, the story should hold special interest because of Slocum's origins. It also deals with the tragic death of his first wife, later his son, something he never overcomes and in his later years is probably still a motivating force for him to fly solo in the end.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Alan

    One of the great maritime autobiographies, beginning in New Bedford--well, across the harbor in Fairhaven where Slocum reworked an unpromising old 34' oyster sloop (for a year or slightly more). It had been out of commission since 1885 when seven years later Slocum was offered it for free, moving it from Poverty Point up to his house on the Acushnet River, and renaming it eventually the Spray. He shiped out for the world in 1895. I taught Sailing Alone a couple times to my Freshman Comp class at One of the great maritime autobiographies, beginning in New Bedford--well, across the harbor in Fairhaven where Slocum reworked an unpromising old 34' oyster sloop (for a year or slightly more). It had been out of commission since 1885 when seven years later Slocum was offered it for free, moving it from Poverty Point up to his house on the Acushnet River, and renaming it eventually the Spray. He shiped out for the world in 1895. I taught Sailing Alone a couple times to my Freshman Comp class at a community college with many students from Fairhaven, the last in a five book course that would include one Shakespeare play--usu a feminist one like Measure for Measure (because 2/3 of my students were women)-- a book of poems and songs, a book of short stories (often all by one author, like Vonnegut, VS Naipaul, Flannery O'Connor, Joyce or Katherine Mansfield) and one sustained narrative like Alice in Wonderland, Confederacy of Dunces, or Slocum. Slocum is a first-class ironist, and he parodies such voyage stories as RH Dana's: "I found no fault with the cook...There was never s ship's crew so well agreed"(43). Many passages are well known, such his politically incorrect (but life-saving) use of tacks, and his adding a rear mast to sail N from Magellan Straits into the Pacific. Then there are the barrels of fat he picked up and used to produce and sell donuts to the Islanders, at Valima, Samoa where R L Stevenson had lived. The Samoans thought he must have had other sailors with him, whom he'd eaten (153). Local descendants of Slocum vehemently denied that he'd ever made donuts; but I had taught the book several times, while they must not have completed it. Slocum needed money to continue his voyage, once catching a shark and charging the Melbourne Aussie residents to come aboard to view it. Many things we learn from Slocum's voyage include: how a wounded dolphn avoids sharks (along with yellowfin, darting in different directions), the author sometimes shooting their pursuers (59); flying fish caught on deck at night, picked up from the lee scuppers; where the island was upon which Defoe based Robinson Crusoe; the Sydney Yacht Club's requirement barring the Spray's recognition because no letter from an American yacht club--and despite Slocum having caught and saved one of their members in a barrel; a dizzying variety of nautical terms of which I have a separate dictionary, with depictions; and, human threats to the author, such as Terra del Fuegian Black Pedro, whom Slocum asks, "'Do you know Captain Pedro Samblich?' said the villain, 'Yes, he is a great friend of mine.' 'I know it,' said I Samblich had told me to shoot him on sight."(116) But Slocum shared his beef jerky and other food with the women who accompanied Black Pedro, and Pedro feared the other three men Slocum had impersonated with multiple rifles out of portholes when they first sailed by the pirate a week earlier. Late Victorian ceremonial aspects: even sailing Slocum dresses in a suit, sometimes with bowtie, his salutes to his vessel and the sunset. Chased by pirates off N Africa, a strong wind blew away his boom, but it entirely dismasted the pirates. On steep, rocky Ascension Island he learns from a Canadian and wife living near the top, "One cow would sometimes hook another over a preipice to destruction, then go on feeding unconcernedly"(260). He becomes a vegetarian, pitying the creatures in desolate waters around Cape Horn, and later Mrs Robert Louis Stevenson in Samoa agreed with him that were he to carry chickens on the Spray "to kill the companions of my voyage would be next tomurder and cannibalism"(256). Arriving back three years later at Newport Harbor on June 27, 1898, the harbor was mined for the Spanish American War which began a couple months earlier and ended a month later. But at night, he was also worried about being fired upon. When someone hailed him from the guardship at entry, "Spray ahoy!" he knew it to be the voice of a friend, so he could sail slower until anchoring.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Lost Planet Airman

    For a trip with so much time at sea and so little ashore, Captain Slocum paints with some amazing words. This was, in my mind, so much easier to read (and enjoy) than either Gulliver's Travels or Robinson Crusoe, and at least as adventurous. Of related interest, I am now reading Pole to Pole and looking forward to Around the World in 50 Years: My Adventure to Every Country on Earth. Seasonal Reading Challenge 2018 Fall/au'TUM'n Task 5.2- The Tour de France (Wanderlust list) and URC-50 book "over 1 For a trip with so much time at sea and so little ashore, Captain Slocum paints with some amazing words. This was, in my mind, so much easier to read (and enjoy) than either Gulliver's Travels or Robinson Crusoe, and at least as adventurous. Of related interest, I am now reading Pole to Pole and looking forward to Around the World in 50 Years: My Adventure to Every Country on Earth. Seasonal Reading Challenge 2018 Fall/au'TUM'n Task 5.2- The Tour de France (Wanderlust list) and URC-50 book "over 100 years old"

  11. 5 out of 5

    mark…

    # Finished this tday. It is a revelation for those who love to sail in th same way Harry Potter was a revelation to those who love casting spells and flying sports. Plenty of technical information and jargon in both books for things most of us will never do. If a story of adventure danger bad characters and savvy escapes and big hats is appealing — both books are for you. You don’t have to sail or do magic to enjoy either one. But if you do both you’re in for a treat with this true story… See al # Finished this tday. It is a revelation for those who love to sail in th same way Harry Potter was a revelation to those who love casting spells and flying sports. Plenty of technical information and jargon in both books for things most of us will never do. If a story of adventure danger bad characters and savvy escapes and big hats is appealing — both books are for you. You don’t have to sail or do magic to enjoy either one. But if you do both you’re in for a treat with this true story… See also: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show... Awesome review, cool book. AMAZING HAT. [spoiler alert involving th hat and a goat 🐐 avoid review above if you want to be surprised ;~} .

  12. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I picked this book off the shelf a few years back, because I realized it was the story behind a song that loved. This book really didn't do anything for me. There was enough technical jargon to be confusing to a newbie like me to the sailing world, but not enough to give any real information on how he sailed. In fact, I'm not fully sure how he filled so many pages, because it felt like he hadn't said anything by the time I reached the end. It seemed to mostly be a story of hopping from port to p I picked this book off the shelf a few years back, because I realized it was the story behind a song that loved. This book really didn't do anything for me. There was enough technical jargon to be confusing to a newbie like me to the sailing world, but not enough to give any real information on how he sailed. In fact, I'm not fully sure how he filled so many pages, because it felt like he hadn't said anything by the time I reached the end. It seemed to mostly be a story of hopping from port to port and meeting with the local dignitaries in each one. Where there could have been adventure, his "modesty" kept him from going into detail aside from making it clear all troubles were easily dispatched. There were occasional great anecdotes, such as the gift of a goat proceeding to gobble up his lines and charts, or the use of carpet tacks as defensive fortifications. This must have been a hell of a voyage. Clearly he is an incredible sailor. I could only wish he were as good a writer.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Villines

    One person's adventure is not necessarily another person's adventure.Sailing Alone Around the World is Joshua Slocum's self-narrated account of his solo voyage around the world in the 1890's. Everything about his voyage is worthy of being told. His voyage was made without radio, radar, GPS systems, or aircraft at the tail end of 19th Century. When Slocum sailed out over the horizon he was alone, known to no one, and to perish meant that he would simply disappear. But his narrative comes across a One person's adventure is not necessarily another person's adventure.Sailing Alone Around the World is Joshua Slocum's self-narrated account of his solo voyage around the world in the 1890's. Everything about his voyage is worthy of being told. His voyage was made without radio, radar, GPS systems, or aircraft at the tail end of 19th Century. When Slocum sailed out over the horizon he was alone, known to no one, and to perish meant that he would simply disappear. But his narrative comes across as blasé and matter-of-fact. Slocum was too good at sailing. He avoided many hardships and mishaps due to his experience. The overall result is a narrative full of story but short on the types of insights that can only be gained through through adversity. The human abilities to learn, adapt, and overcome are the things that make an adventure. Overall, this is a wonderfully historical book, just not wonderfully adventurous.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    Joshua Slocum, a New England sea captain, in his retirement built a sloop that he named the Spray. In it he set out in 1895 on a solo journey around the world. Three years later he again landed in New England having traveled some 46,000 miles circumnavigating the globe. This little book is his account of the journey. The style of the man and his writing is direct, humble, educated and thoughtful, the account of a man with oceans of schooling but little of the carefully prescribed learning prized Joshua Slocum, a New England sea captain, in his retirement built a sloop that he named the Spray. In it he set out in 1895 on a solo journey around the world. Three years later he again landed in New England having traveled some 46,000 miles circumnavigating the globe. This little book is his account of the journey. The style of the man and his writing is direct, humble, educated and thoughtful, the account of a man with oceans of schooling but little of the carefully prescribed learning prized today. His journey, his knowledge, his character connect him to the people, places, and creatures - and especially the sea itself - as he finds these at every point along his winding path. Even after more than a century, Slocum's journey and his tale give us a glimpse of the vast spaces of this remarkable planet and the remarkable human itch across its weathered skin.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Silvana

    This would have been a great book if it focuses more on the sea and sailing part instead of the land activities, meeting with island governors, natives and whatnots. The writer was clearly a great sailor and that is why I wished the seamanship part was explored more. He spent three years and two months sailing. How did he get through all those storms, gale, sleet and gigantic waves and the ever changing, redoubtable, mischievous winds? Any recommendation of a sailing book that focuses only on the This would have been a great book if it focuses more on the sea and sailing part instead of the land activities, meeting with island governors, natives and whatnots. The writer was clearly a great sailor and that is why I wished the seamanship part was explored more. He spent three years and two months sailing. How did he get through all those storms, gale, sleet and gigantic waves and the ever changing, redoubtable, mischievous winds? Any recommendation of a sailing book that focuses only on the sea part?

  16. 5 out of 5

    Willow Anne

    This was one of the most boring, uninteresting books I've ever read. I really had to force myself to get through it, and it was only because I was stuck on a plane with no other books available that I could do it. The event that this was based around was actually quite interesting, but this novel was written in a journal-esque form, and what's more is it was written by a sailor. Now, of course, I have nothing against sailors, but as a non-sailor who knows absolutely nothing about boats, it was r This was one of the most boring, uninteresting books I've ever read. I really had to force myself to get through it, and it was only because I was stuck on a plane with no other books available that I could do it. The event that this was based around was actually quite interesting, but this novel was written in a journal-esque form, and what's more is it was written by a sailor. Now, of course, I have nothing against sailors, but as a non-sailor who knows absolutely nothing about boats, it was really hard to read because of all the nautical terms that were used. I just couldn't fully understand what was happening when words like "yaw", "stanchion", "jibe", and "gaff" were used. Yes, I could look them up, but knowing what some boat part is from reading a definition and knowing what it is from experience are two very different things, and I feel as though a more nautically-inclined person could enjoy this book much more than I did. Besides the fact that there were a lot of nautical descriptions throughout the novel, all the events that could have actually been exciting were almost made boring because of the way in which they were told. This guy actually saw and experienced some really amazing things, but his narration of them was so lackluster that even the exciting parts were ploddingly dull to read about. I do think that what Joshua Slocum was able to do is incredible, that is, to sail around the entire world on a small boat he built with only himself as the crew. But I also think that it would have been more entertaining to read about in a history textbook than in this novel, and in the end, I would only recommend this book to someone with an extreme love of sailing.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Joshua Slocum is exactly the sort of person you want to sit down and have a drink with. He is humble, hilarious, and full of great stories. Considering this is a book about navigation, it is remarkably understandable and intriguing. I would highly recommend this one to teenage boys who like adventure and any adult who loves a good, true, seafaring story. Well worth the time. (Though I enjoyed this as an audio book, I think it might have been easier to physically read it, as I could have used a m Joshua Slocum is exactly the sort of person you want to sit down and have a drink with. He is humble, hilarious, and full of great stories. Considering this is a book about navigation, it is remarkably understandable and intriguing. I would highly recommend this one to teenage boys who like adventure and any adult who loves a good, true, seafaring story. Well worth the time. (Though I enjoyed this as an audio book, I think it might have been easier to physically read it, as I could have used a map or picture of the boat)

  18. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    I'm not going to say much about this book because I don't have enough superlatives. Simply said, if you want to read (or listen, in my case) to an adventure memoir that takes you around the world, is narrated by a grandfather-like character and has dry wit, this is your book. I loved it! I would not be surprised if I picked it up again. I'm not going to say much about this book because I don't have enough superlatives. Simply said, if you want to read (or listen, in my case) to an adventure memoir that takes you around the world, is narrated by a grandfather-like character and has dry wit, this is your book. I loved it! I would not be surprised if I picked it up again.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Philip

    Sometimes the edition of the book you read makes ALL the difference. I got a copy that - no joke - had student responses bound in with the actual book. And the book was printed on computer paper and bound by one of those like... self-publishing companies. And not a very good one. It was like a teacher had a google doc version of this book, had students write responses at the end of each chapter, realized the book was in the public domain - deleted the student responses (but forgot two chapters) an Sometimes the edition of the book you read makes ALL the difference. I got a copy that - no joke - had student responses bound in with the actual book. And the book was printed on computer paper and bound by one of those like... self-publishing companies. And not a very good one. It was like a teacher had a google doc version of this book, had students write responses at the end of each chapter, realized the book was in the public domain - deleted the student responses (but forgot two chapters) and published the book from one of the self-publishers. I'm almost certain that's what happened. From the end of Chapter One: "When you started reading novel at any part of the novel you are not realised that you boarded. While reading of the book you cannot fell lonely because the characters said a lot for a person not feeling lonely. When there is developing interest on the book it seems to be very curious what happen at the next. And the expectations level with the characters are very high at the time of reading. The language of the novel is very nice and simple and everybody can understand it and experience a nice story." ...There are 16 of those. And kudos to both the teacher and the student for giving it a shot, but I don't really want it in MY copy. I read enough of that when I grade my own student's work. Compare that to my friend Ben's edition. Hardback. Gorgeous pictures and maps throughout. When we met at book club, I had a hard time putting it down. It was FANTASTIC. Five stars just for the edition, even if I didn't read a word of it. And it would have been GREAT to have that book - if nothing else than for the map. Because he's sailing east. He's at the Straight of Gibraltar, he's going throu...wait... he's... approaching... Brazil. Wait? What? Did I read that right? I definitely should have bought a better edition than this. These chapters must be out of order. - They weren't. He crossed the Atlantic, then crossed again, this time heading west. He was probably a great father: all right kids, we're going to take a shortcut. It will save us a lot of time. So anyway, we did read this for book club - and it reminded me so much of several other books we've read together: Longitude, The Old Man and the Sea, Moby Dick, The Art of Fielding, Cloud Atlas. And I found myself looking back on other books I've read on my own, like The Travels of Marco Polo, The Goldfinch, Around the World in 80 Days, or The Life of Pi. I love it when books connect like that. (I'm also currently watching the show Alone - which I heard about at book club. Man, Joshua Slocum would definitely take the 500,000 prize. OH: Alexander Selkirk would DEFINITELY take the 500,000 prize. Selkirk is brought up in here. The Robinson Crusoe guy.) The technical aspects were tedious, but I loved them. I've only sailed a little, for a couple weeks - but it was enough for this book to evoke those memories of sailing around the Adriatic. It's crazy that everybody knew about the voyage, and came out to greet him everywhere. (Well, except where they thought he was the Anti-Christ.) Like... does this happen anymore? Maybe the Olympic Torch? Slocum wasn't really a protagonist. They were more just a bunch of little vignettes and anecdotes. This is where some guy created his own 40-woman seraglio. I've been travelling with a spider from Boston who kicked the crap out of this native species. Martin Alonso Pinzon (the pilot of the Pinta) is currently piloting my ship... That kind of stuff. It was a good book. Finally, I can't have read this book without mentioning Billy Collins' "Sailing Alone Around the Room." It's probably my favorite collection of poetry. That reference was my first introduction to this book and as books do, one made me want to read the other - if for no other reason than to say I had. (Like sailing alone around the world.)

  20. 5 out of 5

    Bill Rogers

    Note: The edition I read was the free Gutenberg Project electronic text, an edition not listed here. The text was adequate, but like many free ebooks it had been made by optical character recognition from an old library book and had many typographic errors. Sailing anywhere alone is dangerous enough to be exciting, even if you don't leave sight of land. Sailing alone around the world is a tremendous accomplishment even today. Imagine, then, what it would have been like to do it in the late 19th C Note: The edition I read was the free Gutenberg Project electronic text, an edition not listed here. The text was adequate, but like many free ebooks it had been made by optical character recognition from an old library book and had many typographic errors. Sailing anywhere alone is dangerous enough to be exciting, even if you don't leave sight of land. Sailing alone around the world is a tremendous accomplishment even today. Imagine, then, what it would have been like to do it in the late 19th Century, without electronic navigation, a radio, an outboard motor for getting in and out of ports, or even a good clock. Well, you don't have to imagine it, because between April 1895 and June 1898 Captain Joshua Slocum made the trip, and in 1899 he wrote a book about it. Here it is for you to read, the story of the first person ever confirmed to have sailed around the world alone, written by the man himself. The book concerns itself largely with how he did it, rebuilding an old oyster boat into a world cruiser, choosing his course, repairing and modifying his boat en route, finding the occasional cargo to sell further along his voyage and meeting helpful people along the way. He had a few adventures but doesn't make much of them. Never does he hint that he considered himself an unusually good sailor; but then, in his day, people who had spent decades at sea on sailing vessels weren't as rare as they are today. The Age of Sail was ending. A large part of Slocum's voyage was his hopes that sailing, book sales, and paid lectures would give him the resources he needed to see him through his old age. In a sense they did see him through to the end of his life. Getting low on money again, on November 14, 1909, he sailed south intending to explore the coast and rivers of South America. He was never seen again.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Monty Milne

    How I envied Captain Slocum when he described days spent in peaceful reading, his bark gliding over sunlit seas, always bang on course - even after hundreds of miles. I did not envy him at all when wild seas broke over him, and he spent exhausting nights reefing sails and untangling rigging. I have done a lot of sailing - thanks to being the son of a fanatical yachtsman - but I have never been more than a semi-competent deckhand. Slocum's unerring navigational instinct filled me with awe, especi How I envied Captain Slocum when he described days spent in peaceful reading, his bark gliding over sunlit seas, always bang on course - even after hundreds of miles. I did not envy him at all when wild seas broke over him, and he spent exhausting nights reefing sails and untangling rigging. I have done a lot of sailing - thanks to being the son of a fanatical yachtsman - but I have never been more than a semi-competent deckhand. Slocum's unerring navigational instinct filled me with awe, especially when I recollect a time on my father's yacht in the Aegean, many years ago, when we emerged from below deck to see my two younger teenage brothers , stark naked at the wheel, silhouetted against a starlit sky and laughing wildly with the intoxication of the warm breath of Aeolus rushing over the wine dark sea...having taken us twenty miles off course in just a few hours.... Slocum must have been rather odd - and one gets glimpses of his oddity from time to time - but this does not detract from his achievement, or the power of his writing. The pages exhale the flavour of the ocean, just as a good oyster does as it slips down one's throat. And some of the incidents while the boat is at anchor are just as fascinating - such as his meeting with President Kruger of the Transvaal, refusing to believe Slocum had sailed round the world because the Bible told him the earth was flat - and the Indians of Tierra del Fuego, howling with rage as their barefoot attempts to rob the sleeping Slocum are thwarted by the tin tacks spread liberally on the deck. And the whole book is given added poignancy by the knowledge that after it was written, Slocum and the Spray made another voyage - and were never heard of again...

  22. 4 out of 5

    Duncan

    In 1895 Joshua Slocum, forced from the sea when square riggers finally lost their place permanently to steamships, rebuilt a small oyster smack and began to sail it around the world. Radio was in its infancy and the world was not quite completely at war yet. He left Boston and tried to sail around Cape Horn three times. Failing this, he went the other way, completely around the world. Along the way he was greeted as a hero, feted by yacht clubs and navies, chased by pirates, buffeted by typhoons In 1895 Joshua Slocum, forced from the sea when square riggers finally lost their place permanently to steamships, rebuilt a small oyster smack and began to sail it around the world. Radio was in its infancy and the world was not quite completely at war yet. He left Boston and tried to sail around Cape Horn three times. Failing this, he went the other way, completely around the world. Along the way he was greeted as a hero, feted by yacht clubs and navies, chased by pirates, buffeted by typhoons and visited by the ghost of Columbus. His boat Spray is almost as famous as he is. He navigated with a tin clock using the celestial movements of the moon to find his position and tied himself to his mast during storms. He was the first person to sail around the world alone. His memoir of the journey is personable and amusing, as well as instructive for those of us who dream sometimes of casting off. His language is laconic and spare but his personality is generous. As a story teller is a sure pilot. This book is a classic and is thoroughly enjoyable.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Cynda

    Polished Writing. Accomplished Boat Captain. Accomplished Boatwright. Well-built Boat. Adequate description of people met. This annotated edition allows for those whoare unfamiliar with boating to read the book and feel comfortable enough with the text to enjoy it. I always felt comfortable with the text. What prevents me from writing a better review? Perhaps because Slocum was so accomplished a boatwright and sea captain that the inherent difficulties of sailing Slocum chose to wait out so there are Polished Writing. Accomplished Boat Captain. Accomplished Boatwright. Well-built Boat. Adequate description of people met. This annotated edition allows for those whoare unfamiliar with boating to read the book and feel comfortable enough with the text to enjoy it. I always felt comfortable with the text. What prevents me from writing a better review? Perhaps because Slocum was so accomplished a boatwright and sea captain that the inherent difficulties of sailing Slocum chose to wait out so there are no descriptions of derring-dos. The inherent difficulties in sailing past capes are not much detailed and are never wretched. The captain, the boatwright, and the ship all work well.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Absolutely fascinating. Slocum is my new hero! His dry humor and positive attitude make the book so entertaining to read, and his reports of the places he visited are simply magical.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Cav

    I enjoy books about real-life sagas, especially historical ones, so I put this one on my list as soon as I came across it. Author Joshua Slocum was the first person to sail single-handedly around the world. He was a Nova Scotian-born, naturalised American seaman and adventurer, and a noted writer. In 1900 he wrote this book about his journey, which became an international best-seller. He disappeared in November 1909 while aboard his boat, the Spray . Joshua Slocum: Sailing Alone Around t I enjoy books about real-life sagas, especially historical ones, so I put this one on my list as soon as I came across it. Author Joshua Slocum was the first person to sail single-handedly around the world. He was a Nova Scotian-born, naturalised American seaman and adventurer, and a noted writer. In 1900 he wrote this book about his journey, which became an international best-seller. He disappeared in November 1909 while aboard his boat, the Spray . Joshua Slocum: Sailing Alone Around the World was an interesting historical account of Slocum's solo global circumnavigation aboard the sloop Spray. The Spray: Slocum's Voyage: Slocum's writing details his many incredible solo voyages, mainly following the trade winds. The book includes the ports visited by Slocum, his harrowing encounters with pirates and other "savages", dealing with monstrous waves, and even encounters with dolphins, whales, and other marine life. Slocum mentions that many flying fish often jumped aboard his ship, and they would become a primary source of food for him. Slocum writes of his many encounters with various natives here in a somewhat humorous and offhand manner, that seemed to downplay the obvious danger a solo navigator faced in this scenario. Often, the natives boarded the Spray at night while he slept; a problem that Slocum dealt with by sprinkling tacks across her deck. During the day, he kept his guns close; firing warning shots at aggressive natives on more than a few occasions. The writing here is sure to offend many modern readers, as Slocum routinely refers to the natives he encounters as "savages", which, I gather - was the style at the time... LOL Interestingly, the Wikipedia page of the Spray notes that Slocum's success in these long voyages could be partially attributed to the sloop's ability to self-steer: "Self-steering ability: One of the most remarkable things about Spray was her ability to run before the wind under her regular fore-and-aft rig with the helm lashed, and hold her course for hours or days on end. If Spray had not had this ability, Slocum's performance would have been a physical impossibility. On nearing the Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Slocum noted "I didn't touch the helm, for with the current and heave of the sea the sloop found herself at the end of the run absolutely in the fairway of the channel. ... Then I trimmed her sails by the wind, took the helm, and flogged her up the couple of miles or so abreast the harbour landing, where I cast anchor at 3.30 pm, July 17, 1897, twenty-three days from Thursday Island. The distance run was twenty-seven hundred miles as the crow flies. ... During those twenty-three days I had not spent altogether more than three hours at the helm, including the time occupied in beating into Keeling harbour. I just lashed the helm and let her go; whether the wind was abeam or dead aft, it was all the same: she always stayed on her course."[6]:197 Cipriano Andrade, Jr., engineer and yacht designer, said of Spray: “After a thorough analysis of Spray's lines, I found her to have a theoretically perfect balance. Her balance is marvelous — almost uncanny. Try as I would — one element after another — they all swung into the same identical line. I attacked her with proportional dividers, planimeter, rotameter, Simpson's rule, Froude's coefficients, Dixon Kemp's formulae, series, curves, differentials, and all the appliances of modern yacht designing, and she emerged from the ordeal a theoretically perfect boat. For when she is underway every element of resistance, stability, weight, heeling effort, and propulsive force is in one transverse plane, and that plane is the boat's midship section. I know of no similar case in the whole field of naval architecture, ancient or modern.” I enjoyed this book, and the contextual look back in time that Slocum's writing provided. I would recommend this one to anyone else interested in real-life sagas. 4 stars.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Graychin

    “I tried to compare my state with that of old circumnavigators, who sailed exactly over the route I took from Cape Verde Islands or farther back to this point and beyond, but there was no comparison so far as I had got. Their hardships and romantic escapes – those of them who avoided death and worse sufferings – did not enter into my experience, sailing all alone around the world. For me is left only to tell of pleasant experiences, till finally my adventures are prosy and tame.” Joshua Slocum ma “I tried to compare my state with that of old circumnavigators, who sailed exactly over the route I took from Cape Verde Islands or farther back to this point and beyond, but there was no comparison so far as I had got. Their hardships and romantic escapes – those of them who avoided death and worse sufferings – did not enter into my experience, sailing all alone around the world. For me is left only to tell of pleasant experiences, till finally my adventures are prosy and tame.” Joshua Slocum made the first-ever solo circumnavigation of the globe in his sloop the Spray between 1895 and 1898 but, his own words to the contrary, his adventures were not really so prosy and tame. His book, first published in 1899, has the fresh enthusiasm of a Robert Louis Stevenson travelogue and the humor, almost, of Jerome K. Jerome. Along his course, Slocum is haunted by a ghost from Columbus’s Pinta who lends a hand in an Atlantic storm. He is pursued by pirates off the coast of Morocco. He gets stuck in a sort of vortex and goes twice through the Straits of Magellan, where he is attacked on several occasions by Patagonian “savages.” To his own surprise he is made a minor celebrity in Australia. His arrival on Rodriguez Island in the Indian Ocean is hilariously mistaken for the coming of the Anti-Christ. He engages in fierce debate with Flat-Earth disciples of Kruger in South Africa who sneer at the mere suggestion of a circumnavigation. I envied Slocum his skill and ability, his stoic resolve, his ease in company and his comfort in extended periods of the most perfect solitude. I envied his opportunity to read through several large libraries of books on his travels, thanks to the self-steering mechanism he invented for the Spray. It may not be the most adventurous book ever written or the most philosophical (though it’s not at all unreflective), but Slocum’s Sailing Alone around the World is a joy to read.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Ned

    After hearing about this book many times (in the NYT Book Review, various online publications), I finally decided to sit down and read it. A man, all alone, sailing around the world with his tiller lashed and reading belowdecks, what's not to love? Quite a lot, actually. Slocum glosses over the parts that would interest modern readers (storms at sea, exotic islands) and belabors his meetings with now insignificant historical figures, e.g. ships' captains, colonial governors, and Mrs. Robert Loui After hearing about this book many times (in the NYT Book Review, various online publications), I finally decided to sit down and read it. A man, all alone, sailing around the world with his tiller lashed and reading belowdecks, what's not to love? Quite a lot, actually. Slocum glosses over the parts that would interest modern readers (storms at sea, exotic islands) and belabors his meetings with now insignificant historical figures, e.g. ships' captains, colonial governors, and Mrs. Robert Louis Stevenson. You can almost hear Slocum dropping names and crowing over his brushes with late 19th century celebrity. There are warning signs early on, as the unreliable narrator gives an embarrassingly transparent account of hitting someone else's boat in harbor, and somehow managing to fault them for it. It would have been an effective fictional device, but here it merely presages a self-absorbed, ultimately dull author. After finishing this book and reading up on Slocum, I was dismayed but unsurprised to learn that the author was arrested for child molestation in 1909 and denied all memory of the incident. What did surprise me was learning that modern analysis of his boat's design revealed it to be supremely unstable and that his death at sea was only a matter of time and luck. (I was fortunate not to be aware of this fact while I was reading; a full third of this book is given over to loving detail and boasting about the boat that ultimately killed the author.) The only mystery of Sailing Alone Around the World is why so many people tolerate the banal musings of a sociopath; he may have had the greatest view in the world, but it's one he never bothers sharing with the reader.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Tuck

    first person to solo sail around earth. good writer, funny, salty, not too misanthropic, and incredible navigator. this edition has very nice intro by thomas philbrick, and is illustrated, maps, nice bibliography. since then, a biography has shaken the slocum-lovers world and turns out he was yes, a circumnavigator, but also sailed the last sail powered commercial ship, and almost sunk it and fought off mutiny (a black black mark on any captain, no matter how justified), got busted for playing a first person to solo sail around earth. good writer, funny, salty, not too misanthropic, and incredible navigator. this edition has very nice intro by thomas philbrick, and is illustrated, maps, nice bibliography. since then, a biography has shaken the slocum-lovers world and turns out he was yes, a circumnavigator, but also sailed the last sail powered commercial ship, and almost sunk it and fought off mutiny (a black black mark on any captain, no matter how justified), got busted for playing a little too ardently with a little girl, treated his wife and family like pariahs, and eventually probably committed suicide-by-sailboat as an old codger. The Hard Way Around: the Passages of Joshua Slocum

  29. 4 out of 5

    Carol Bakker

    Funny! The understated humor surprised and delighted me. Joshua Slocum was the first person to circumnavigate the globe in a sailboat with a one-man crew. "I suddenly remembered that I could not swim," he writes about an episode in a sinking dory. Or, "it is well known that one cannot step on a tack without saying something about it." "...sisal, a treacherous fiber which has caused a deal of strong language among sailors." The book was a slow starter (probably more my circumstances than the book) Funny! The understated humor surprised and delighted me. Joshua Slocum was the first person to circumnavigate the globe in a sailboat with a one-man crew. "I suddenly remembered that I could not swim," he writes about an episode in a sinking dory. Or, "it is well known that one cannot step on a tack without saying something about it." "...sisal, a treacherous fiber which has caused a deal of strong language among sailors." The book was a slow starter (probably more my circumstances than the book) but soon I was picking it up whenever I had a pocket of time. Slocum's tone was a good pitch: not too technical, nor overly dramatic, and with spare daily details to keep the momentum strong. I never felt becalmed while reading. There's a short film about this feat that I plan to watch.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Wdayne

    I finished this book a couple of weeks ago, and I still think about it daily. That is the mark of a great book to me. Josh Slocum was not afraid of the ocean, he understood it's every breath. When you read this tale you feel like you can do it too, and I rank this with one of the most impressive feats that a person could accomplish even today. This is basically the old man's diary. He tells the state of the world from a worldly perspective, in other words he's seen both sides of the globe and he I finished this book a couple of weeks ago, and I still think about it daily. That is the mark of a great book to me. Josh Slocum was not afraid of the ocean, he understood it's every breath. When you read this tale you feel like you can do it too, and I rank this with one of the most impressive feats that a person could accomplish even today. This is basically the old man's diary. He tells the state of the world from a worldly perspective, in other words he's seen both sides of the globe and he knows the truth. He knows a bit about sailing and boats also. I would recommend this book to anyone, but to those with an adventurous soul, this book will change the way you think about moving through the world.

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