Two Years Before the Mastcirca 1989.
I was introduced to the book Two Years Before the Mast by my father, who had gotten the book from his mother. This book was originally written and published in 1840, but it was reprinted in 1959. This book was written by Richard H. Dane, Jr. The book is about the adventures of someone in first person form. The story is a narrative about life on a sailing ship in the 1800's.
The person narrating this story is an average person. He has decided to sail for about one or two years after he has been to college. At first when he gets on the ship he doesn't know much about sailing. After two or three months he is accepted as one of the crew. This has come about by a tradition that says that once you cross the equator in a ship you are a real sailor.
There are really no other main characters. Most of the other characters are of little particular importance, but there are a few that I think are important enough to mention and describe. The captain is mean, and rarely seen. He cares very much about the welfare of him self. He is also a very experienced sailor. The other semi-main character is the mate who is an officer so he has to do no work and instructs the crew to their duties. He remains socially detached from the crew in order to maintain his authority.
This story takes place on a light trading ship sailing on the trade routes around America. The ship has many compartments. It has the hold, where the supercargo is stored, the aft section, where the crew stays, and the officers quarters. On the voyages the ship stays in and sails past many places. Some of these places are Cape Horn, California, and San Diego on the Pacific Ocean. This narrative takes place in the 1800's and was experienced by the Author, Richard H. Dane Jr. Another place that many things happen is up on the masts. Many people, at different times, go up there to be look-outs. They also ascend the rope web in storms when the sails have to be brought in quickly. One person dies when he falls from fixing the mast.
I think this is a very good book. I have this opinion because it describes things very well. There is also a lot of action. In this book they have very good storm scenes, like the one off California. I think this would be a good book to use as history because it describes daily life very well.