Two Years Before the Mast
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In August 1834, Richard Henry Dana, Jr., shipped aboard the brig <i>Pilgrim</i> out of Boston for a voyage to California. Dana tells the tale of a young, naï¿½ve, religiously conservative Boston aristocrat who thrusts himself into a trial amidst crude, uneducated, generally amoral sailors. It is the exciting, intelligent, sensitive story of a young man's transition to maturity, with a vivid description of his struggle with his shipmates, the elements and with himself. The author wrote this realistic account of the life of a common sailor to make the public aware of the hardships and injustices to which American sailors were subjected. He gives an accurate account of life at sea and a colorful portrait of life in California in the early nineteenth century.</p>