A SAILOR'S LIFE by Jan de Hartog


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This book demands a doubletake on the part of the reader for it is no sense the autobiography of a sailor. It is rather a notebook of odd facts on the life of a sailor at sea. The material has been organized under group headings: Life at Sea; Ships; Crews; The Sea; Landfalls; The Future. And each includes a melange of topical heads as seasickness, homesickness, navigational aids, windjammers, tugboats, ships, doctors, cabin boys, fish, smugglers, bars, gramophones, sweethearts, retirement, etc. None of this gives any more than a sketchy idea of the scope and content. The manner of the telling is more important than the matter. There's entertainment in the unexpected, in the bits of poetic understanding, in the wry advice to seastruck younger readers. There is the prospect of adventure, rather than the actuality of incident; there are portraits in general- seldom specific terms. All in all, it is not as much a record of- as an invitation to life at sea.

Publisher: Harper