HARD-COVER NAUTICAL BOOKS


Tales from Before the Mast

Sort By:  
by Miss Lucy Brewer
The Adventures of Lucy Brewer: From a Brothel to the U.S.S. Constitution. 79 pages
$14.95
by Birger Bech
He shipped out as a cabin boy and eventually became a whaler in the Greenland whale fishery. 116 pages
$17.95
by Captain Mayne Reid
An Autobiography for Boys. A thrilling story of slavers, pirates, adventures in the jungle and final deliverance. 464 pages
$24.95
by Richard Henry Dana
One of the 100 Best Books on the American Sailor (Elbridge S. Brooks). 474 pages
$29.95
by Armstrong Sperry
A romance of the great clipper, "Flying Cloud." 175 pages
$17.95
by D. Harold Hickey
A similar story to that of Dana's "Two Years Before the Mast." 222 pages
$19.95
by Hawser Martingale
... and Essays for the Forecastle: Containing Matters and Incidents Humurous, Pathetic, Romantic, and Sentimental. 456 pages
$29.95
by Frank T. Bullen
... or Round the World after Sperm Whales. 362 pages
$24.95
FEMALE MARINE, THE (Pub. No. 2)
Miss Lucy Brewer/The Adventures of Lucy Brewer: From a Brothel to the U.S.S. Constitution. 79 pages

Hardcover Duodecimo Book

THE FEMALE MARINE
by Miss Lucy Brewer

A rare, curious, and charming piece of early Americana, this is the personal narrative of a Massachusetts maiden, Lucy Brewer, relating her amazing and incredible adventures in and about Boston and New York of the early 1800's. Driven from home by a sense of shame after being led astray, she finds refuge and a new way of life in a select Back Bay brothel. Later, disguised as a man, she enlists in the Marine Corps and serves aboard the U.S.S. Constitution for three years without discovery. Afterwards she continues her masquerade and travels about early America, eventually revisiting her former haunts, to meet again, unrecognized the madam of the house and deliver to the reader a lecture on the evils of her earlier way of life. In the literature of early nineteenth-century America, Lucy Brewer's The Female Marine stands as a most intriguing literary puzzle--a puzzle concerning both its authorship and veracity. Yet this little book is something more than a puzzle. It defies the usual definitions of  "novel", cannot be viewed simply as a "pamphlet," nor qualifies fully as a "short story."  It is undeniably romantic, leans sharply towards autobiography, and is solidly adventurous. Much of its merit lies in the spirit in which it appears to have been written and told; her stint in a Boston whorehouse, her combat experiences aboard the U.S.S Constitution, her wanderings in the disguise of a man, and her pranks and masquerades make an entertaining and fascinating tale. First published about 1815.

Miss Lucy Brewer, 79 pages

$14.95
FIVE YEARS IN A SAILOR'S LIFE (Pub. No. 3)
Birger Bech/He shipped out as a cabin boy and eventually became a whaler in the Greenland whale fishery. 116 pages

Hardcover Duodecimo Book

FIVE YEARS IN A SAILOR'S LIFE
by Birger Bech

A thoroughly charming little book. Bech's story is not of battling the elements around the world, nor the tale of many years as a foc'sle hand. Rather, he shipped out as a cabin boy on a Danish vessel and returned to meet a young lady and marry her. Quite a simple tale but well told and charming. As he says; "At last my longing to see the world became intense. After four years' school life, I wrote to my father, imploring him to take me out of college and let me go to sea. At first he remonstrated and begged me to stay, but finally he saw it was of no use. . . I was to go to Copenhagen in Denmark, where one of my father's friends had command of a vessel belonging to the king of Denmark, and which, along with ten others, went on their yearly summer trip to Greenland, supplying the Esquimeaux with provisions, and taking back with them a cargo of oil." First published in 1886.

Birger Bech, 116 pages

$17.95
RAN AWAY TO SEA (Pub. No. 4)
Captain Mayne Reid/An Autobiography for Boys. A thrilling story of slavers, pirates, adventures in the jungle and final deliverance. 464 pages

Hardcover Duodecimo Book

RAN AWAY TO SEA
An Autobiography for Boys
by Captain Mayne Reid

We have chosen to include this here rather than in The Young Shellback's Library, since it is written in a very adult style. While the author writes about his experiences before the mast from when he is a boy, those experiences are adult to say the least. There were no "boys" before the mast; even the boys were men! As Reid says in the first chapter, "As I grew older, certain books had chanced to fall into my hands, and these related to the sea;--they told of lovely lands that lay upon its shores,--of strange races of men and animals,--of singular plants and trees, . . .These books strengthened the inclination I already felt to wander abroad over the ocean. . . . no wonder I became tired of home, no wonder my natural inclination grew into a passion.  I could no longer resist. No wonder, I ran away to sea." When our young hero "runs away to sea" he is appalled to learn when first out at sea that he has shipped aboard a slaver! He is befriended however by another and older sailor who also wishes to escape and together, and after many perilous adventures, they finally succeed.

Captain Mayne Reid, 464 pages

$24.95
TWO YEARS BEFORE THE MAST (Pub. No. 5)
Richard Henry Dana/One of the 100 Best Books on the American Sailor (Elbridge S. Brooks). 474 pages

Hardcover Duodecimo Book

TWO YEARS BEFORE THE MAST
by Richard Henry Dana

The classic tale of serving before the mast. Dana entered Harvard College in 1831; but near the beginning of his third year an attack of measles left his eyesight so weak that study was impossible. Tired of the tedium of a slow convalescence, he decided on a sea voyage; and choosing to go as a sailor rather than as a passenger, he shipped from Boston on August 14, 1834, on the brig Pilgrim, bound for the coast of California.  His experiences for the next two years form the subject of the book. The merit of  Two Year's Before the Mast was recognized in both America and England immediately after its appearance, and it at once took rank as the most vivid and accurate picture in literature of the side of life it sought to portray. W. Clark Russell, (see the Fiction section for titles by this author) himself one of the best writers of sea stories in English, called it "the greatest seabook that was ever written in any language," and the convincing detail of its narrative led to comparisons with the masterpiece of Defoe. First published in 1840. Profusely illustrated in colour.
One of the 100 Best Books on the American Sailor (Elbridge S. Brooks).

Richard Henry Dana, 474 pages

$29.95
ALL SAIL SET (Pub. No. 68)
Armstrong Sperry/A romance of the great clipper, "Flying Cloud." 175 pages

Hardcover Duodecimo Book

ALL SAIL SET
A Romance of the "Flying Cloud"
by Armstrong Sperry
Introduction by William McFee
Illustrated by the author.

From the Introduction: "It might be supposed, with sailing ships becoming more and more of a curiosity every year, and with so many excellent books on the subject following one another from the press, that little remains to be told of the famous days of sail. On the contrary, from certain signs of the times, it appears that sea literature is entering upon a new lease of life, and many tales have yet to be published, neither romantic nor sensational, but genuinely truthful and realistic narratives of the lives of deep-water mariners. The maritime history of New England in the first part of the nineteenth century has certain features not found elsewhere in the world. A stormy, difficult coast; a hardy race of men, who were also born tradesmen; an almost unlimited supply of oak and pine suitable for shipbuilding, and a network of manufacturing centers—-all these combined to produce a shipping community second to none. It is not enough to have ships coming into harbor and merchants with cargoes to consign. True maritime prosperity arises when men take naturally, without immediate thought of money making, to ships and shipbuilding, when whole families are so saturated with seafaring thoughts that it becomes the natural way of life for boys to adopt, and the girls accept as part of their existence the absence of their husbands and sweethearts for long voyages. It was only natural, moreover, that the development of faster and larger vessels should take place along the shores of New England and Canada. This was the most densely settled section of the American continent, and the demand for tonnage was keener here than elsewhere. The discoveries of Bowditch and Maury made possible a speed unknown before. It was not seriously believed that the newfangled steamboats which Samuel Cunard was building would ever compete with sails in transporting cargoes. The cost of fuel was too great. A new design of windship was coming into vogue to maintain the prestige of New England, vessels with long, knifelike bows and a vast spread of canvas built on the lines of a fish so that speed could be maintained in light winds. The clipper ship was the deepwater man’s answer to the challenge of the steamboat, and when gold was discovered in California, the opportunity came to show the world what he could do. The greatest naval architect of the day was given practically carte blanche by shipowners to design the fastest and finest ship possible. Donald McKay produced many magnificent vessels, but his shipyard never gave birth and being to anything that captured the imaginations and the hearts of men so completely as did his Flying Cloud."

Armstrong Sperry, 175 pages

$17.95
UP ANCHOR--A Sea Story (Pub. No. 94)
D. Harold Hickey/A similar story to that of Dana's "Two Years Before the Mast." 222 pages

Hardcover Duodecimo Book

UP ANCHOR--A Sea Story
by D. Harold Hickey

Hickey shipped out in a coasting schooner just before the Great War to learn to be a "sailorman". He didn't achieve his goal on the Miles Merry but he persisted and eventually shipped out on a variety of vessels including square riggers; sailing in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans on fore-and-afters and on square riggers. His portraits of his shipmates are colourful and memorable and his experiences were manifold.  A classic sea-yarn.

D. Harold Hickey, 222 pages

$19.95
TALES OF THE OCEAN (Pub. No. 158)
Hawser Martingale/... and Essays for the Forecastle: Containing Matters and Incidents Humurous, Pathetic, Romantic, and Sentimental. 456 pages

Hardcover Duodecimo Book

TALES OF THE OCEAN
and Essays for the Forecastle:
Containing Matters and Incidents
Humurous, Pathetic, Romantic, and Sentimental.
Illustrated with numerous Engravings.
by Hawser Martingale

Hawser Martingale indeed! Was there ever a more obvious nom-de-plume ? There is no clue of the author's true identity in the book, except for his initials, J.S.S. at the end of the short preface. We do know that "the writer of this volume is one who has passed a considerable portion of his life on the ocean, having for upwards of twenty years pursued the occupation of a mariner. He made his first voyage as a cabin-boy, at the age of fifteen, and has passed through every grade of seafaring life". This is a truly priceless little volume! The stories are real jewels!  In fact, one of them, (the story of the sailor with the pet shark upon whose back he rides), is the obvious progenitor to the same yarn spun by the boatswain Jonathan Johnson in The Midshipman Marmaduke Merry. In addition to some very salty tales, there are a great number of fascinating, contemporary illustrations. Many are full-page and there's a tailpiece at the end of every chapter. A gem of a book. Fist published in 1846.

Hawser Martingale, 456 pages

$29.95
CRUISE OF THE CACHALOT, THE (Pub. No. 1)
Frank T. Bullen/... or Round the World after Sperm Whales. 362 pages

Hardcover Duodecimo Book

THE CRUISE OF THE CACHALOT
or Round the World after Sperm Whales
by Frank T. Bullen

This of course is the classic whaling story. It is a good companion to the fiction of Moby Dick, and provides a proper grounding into the whaling industry. After a boyhood in the streets of  London, at the age of twelve Frank Bullen went to sea, sailing in many merchant ships as well as the Whaler Cachalot before he left seafaring for authorship ashore. First Mate of the Cachalot, he was born in 1857 and died in 1915. The Cachalot of the title is both the name of the ship and another name for the Sperm Whale, the killing of which is the whole purpose for this voyage. In the latter half of the nineteenth century, (especially in the early part of the century when Bullen was in the trade) this industry provided a vast quantity of products for the American and world consumer. Everything from oil for lamps (including the lamps of China) to bone for women's corsets came from this giant mammal. The discovery of petroleum of course, did much to eliminate the need for this industry as the meat was never a first priority as it would be in the whaling fisheries of Greenland. Another event would also prove to be the undoing of this practice however, and this is outlined briefly in the Bullen's Introduction. As he puts it;". . .the advent of the civil war let loose among those peaceable cruisers the devastating Alabama , whose course was marked in some parts of the world by the fires of blazing whale-ships. . . From this crushing blow the American sperm whale fishery has never fully recovered. When the writer was in the trade, some twenty-two years ago, it was credited with a fleet of between three and four hundred sail; now it may be doubted whether then numbers reach an eighth of that amount." Rudyard Kipling wrote a letter to him as the book was being published and said, "I've never read anything that equals it in its deep-sea wonder and mystery; nor do I think that any book before has so completely covered the whole business of whale-fishing". . First published in 1897. Our edition contains several added whaling woodcuts contemporary with the time as well as a pocketed chart of the track of the Cachalot .

Frank T. Bullen, 362 pages

$24.95
Per Page      1 - 8 of 8
  • 1
More books