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Two Years Before the Mast: A Personal Narrative
From an Amazon reader: "After finishing this book, I am amazed that this book is not more prominent in famous literature. Much of US and sailing history can be learned through this true firsthand account of a Harvard student gone temporary salty dog. I am not from California or even the west coast but still found the stories contained throughout the book fascinating. Dana did an excellent job of describing the life at sea in the early 1800's without a moment of boring reading. I would recommend (and have been recommending) this book to anyone and everyone." (2000)

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Interesting.com: history and stuff