The story of how Jones achieved ""the vertical sailing record of the world"" and became the only man ever to take a sea-going vessel both to the Dead Sea, at 1,250 feet below sea level, and to Lake Titicaca, at 12,580 feet above sea level, in the high Andes of South America--an altitude difference of almost 15,000 feet. The 120-pound Welshman was born at sea, has spent his life at sea, and has logged more time at sea than any known sailor. Whether battling cyclones on mountainous waters (""the wind blowing seven bells of shit"") or fighting starvation on the ""linear maelstrom"" of the Amazon, Tristan has the bite of fine sea salt and a whiplike delivery, with the ghosts of T. E. Lawrence and Joshua Slocum riding his shoulders. He trucked his boat to the Dead Sea, but Israel forbade a launching, so he went out in a small craft. Then--Titicaca bound--he sailed down the Red Sea, through the Indian Ocean, round Good Hope (where he stove in his ribs in the ""boistrous"" weather), and up Brazil to the Amazon. The Amazon proved impassable. Later, he finally trucked up to Titicaca, then went down the River Paraguay through the green hell of the Mato Grosso, having crossed South America. Why? ""It'll show some of the cynical, fainthearted sods on this earth that nothing is impossible, that if you put your bloody mind to something you should keep at the bastard until you win."" Not just a book, a sneer of joyous triumph.