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Joshua Slocum is believed to be the first man to sail single-handedly around the world. After a distinguished nautical career, during which he worked his way up from cabin boy to captain, Slocum wrecked his ship off the coast of Brazil. Turning this catastrophe to his advantage, he built a sailing canoe from the wreckage and sailed back to New York. Moreover, he wrote Voya Joshua Slocum is believed to be the first man to sail single-handedly around the world. After a distinguished nautical career, during which he worked his way up from cabin boy to captain, Slocum wrecked his ship off the coast of Brazil. Turning this catastrophe to his advantage, he built a sailing canoe from the wreckage and sailed back to New York. Moreover, he wrote Voyage of the Liberdade, a chronicle of his trip, and earned some literary success. This spurred him to attempt his perilous voyage. Having lost his fortune in the shipwreck, Slocum began his voyage on a shoestring. He was given the Spray, a century-old oysterboat in need of repairs. Two years and $500 later, he had rebuilt the wreck into an oceangoing wonder. On his 40,000-mile, three-year voyage, Slocum visited six of the seven continents, where he met cannibals, presidents, outlaws, and ambassadors. Amazingly, throughout his travels he lived off the land, fishing, trading, and giving lectures to keep his pantry full. He also met some remarkable people, including Mrs. Robert Louis Stevenson and Paul Kruger, who, believing the world was flat, warned Slocum not to fall off! This adventure will captivate sailors and landlubbers alike.


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Joshua Slocum is believed to be the first man to sail single-handedly around the world. After a distinguished nautical career, during which he worked his way up from cabin boy to captain, Slocum wrecked his ship off the coast of Brazil. Turning this catastrophe to his advantage, he built a sailing canoe from the wreckage and sailed back to New York. Moreover, he wrote Voya Joshua Slocum is believed to be the first man to sail single-handedly around the world. After a distinguished nautical career, during which he worked his way up from cabin boy to captain, Slocum wrecked his ship off the coast of Brazil. Turning this catastrophe to his advantage, he built a sailing canoe from the wreckage and sailed back to New York. Moreover, he wrote Voyage of the Liberdade, a chronicle of his trip, and earned some literary success. This spurred him to attempt his perilous voyage. Having lost his fortune in the shipwreck, Slocum began his voyage on a shoestring. He was given the Spray, a century-old oysterboat in need of repairs. Two years and $500 later, he had rebuilt the wreck into an oceangoing wonder. On his 40,000-mile, three-year voyage, Slocum visited six of the seven continents, where he met cannibals, presidents, outlaws, and ambassadors. Amazingly, throughout his travels he lived off the land, fishing, trading, and giving lectures to keep his pantry full. He also met some remarkable people, including Mrs. Robert Louis Stevenson and Paul Kruger, who, believing the world was flat, warned Slocum not to fall off! This adventure will captivate sailors and landlubbers alike.

30 review for Sailing Alone Around the World, with eBook

  1. 5 out of 5

    Christopher

    Check out how awesome this Joshua Slocum dude is. He's old, he's on a boat, he's got a badass straw hat. He doesn't care that he looks like a doofus with it on, which makes him that much cooler. He was the first person to circumnavigate the world alone (and that means to sail all the way around it, for you greenhorn scallawags out there). When he was nearly a few scores old, he shoved off from Newport, Rhode Island (without his wife/cousin Henrietta or his many children) in his trusty Spray to re Check out how awesome this Joshua Slocum dude is. He's old, he's on a boat, he's got a badass straw hat. He doesn't care that he looks like a doofus with it on, which makes him that much cooler. He was the first person to circumnavigate the world alone (and that means to sail all the way around it, for you greenhorn scallawags out there). When he was nearly a few scores old, he shoved off from Newport, Rhode Island (without his wife/cousin Henrietta or his many children) in his trusty Spray to reenact some of the Robert Louis Stevenson and Daniel Defoe novels he loved. He Old Man and the Sea-ed it up, if you'll allow me the liberty of verbing nouns. There are people today who do cool stuff like this. But they don't do it with nearly the style of this guy. Katie Spotz is a person, barely a score old, who rowed across the Atlantic Ocean by herself. But the difference is that she is merely accomplishing a feat of endurance. If she ever writes a memoir, this is what it will be: "I rowed across the Atlantic and it was really hard. My arms got tired and I got sunburned and I was really thirsty too and lonely." But this guy... Let me just try to summarize a few of the highlights: "I was married to my cousin and I left everyone to sail around the world by myself. I tried to keep a goat on board but he ate the only map I had. I met a group of savages who had never seen a white guy and some of them wanted to eat me and some of them wanted to worship me. I met up with Fanny Stevenson (wife of Robert Louis Stevenson) in Samoa. I don't even use a compass; I just point myself in the direction I think my destination is and hope I get lucky." What happened to that pure sense of adventure? Is there nothing left to explore in the world? P.S. I almost forgot to mention one of the most compelling things about this dude. In 1909, he joined the People Who Have Disappeared Without a Trace Club. He was on a routine voyage (alone) to South America and he never returned. Everyone thinks his ship must have been sunk by a whale, because he was too great a sailor and his boat was too seaworthy for any other explanation to be conceivable. But my guess is that he just decided he didn't want to come back. I'm willing to bet that he's still out there, sailing the seas and if you were to run into him today, he'd be 169 years old, but he'd look no more than a day over 120.

  2. 4 out of 5

    GoldGato

    This is the type of book that reaches out to you. I am not a sailor and much as I love and respect the sea, I usually get sea-sick. But it was an adventure to read this book, which is written with a precision and candidness that draws one to the tale. Slocum didn't just accomplish an incredible feat, he left a written record of an age long gone. He writes of cultures that have now disappeared amidst the wave of consumerism. When he is at sea, I swear you can smell the salt air and hear the ocean. This is the type of book that reaches out to you. I am not a sailor and much as I love and respect the sea, I usually get sea-sick. But it was an adventure to read this book, which is written with a precision and candidness that draws one to the tale. Slocum didn't just accomplish an incredible feat, he left a written record of an age long gone. He writes of cultures that have now disappeared amidst the wave of consumerism. When he is at sea, I swear you can smell the salt air and hear the ocean. His tortuous trip via the Straits of Magellan is particularly spellbinding. I justify five stars for a book when I get so absorbed, my meal turns cold. Such a book is this. Thar be splendor here. Book Season = Summer

  3. 4 out of 5

    Joshua Rigsby

    In a word, this book is delightful. The author, Joshua Slocum, did something truly remarkable. He was the first human being to ever sail alone around the world. Yet, perhaps the best part of this story is his style of presentation. Slocum is laid back, self-effacing, and actually quite funny. Some of the great lines were, "My singing has never inspired envy in others." and "He was a bearish man, and I've met a bear before." Upon coming across an uncharted island, Slocum promptly named it after a In a word, this book is delightful. The author, Joshua Slocum, did something truly remarkable. He was the first human being to ever sail alone around the world. Yet, perhaps the best part of this story is his style of presentation. Slocum is laid back, self-effacing, and actually quite funny. Some of the great lines were, "My singing has never inspired envy in others." and "He was a bearish man, and I've met a bear before." Upon coming across an uncharted island, Slocum promptly named it after a friend of his, and installed a sign on it that read, "Keep off the grass," which, he explains, "as discoverer, was within my rights." He makes several remarks about his ship's crew, which of course, consists of only himself, talking about how fine the cook's meal was, or what needed to be done once all hands were on deck. Even though he has done something amazing, something no one had ever done in history, he credits most of the success to his craft, the Spray, personifying her and congratulating her when things go well, and blaming himself when they do not. He also personifies the sense of good luck and fortune he experiences on several occasions in the captain of the Pinta who comes to his aid on several occasions. Slocum just seems to be an all around great guy. Children flock to him, heads of state entertain him, and friends give him gifts wherever he goes. He can spin a good yarn, and has every right to make up grandiose sea stories along with the best of sailors. As I've said, this book was delightful. http://joshuarigsby.com

  4. 5 out of 5

    Owlseyes inside Notre Dame, it's so strange a 15-hour blaze and...30-minutes wait to call the firemen...and

    HIS LUCKY NUMBER WAS THE 13... "My voyages were all foreign. I sailed as freighter and trader principally to China, Australia, and Japan, and among the Spice Islands. Mine was not the sort of life to make one long to coil up one's ropes on land, the customs and ways of which I had finally almost forgotten." "Perhaps he had heard of my success in taking a most extraordinary ship successfully to Brazil with that number of crew" "To be alone forty-three days would seem a long time, but in reality, HIS LUCKY NUMBER WAS THE 13... "My voyages were all foreign. I sailed as freighter and trader principally to China, Australia, and Japan, and among the Spice Islands. Mine was not the sort of life to make one long to coil up one's ropes on land, the customs and ways of which I had finally almost forgotten." "Perhaps he had heard of my success in taking a most extraordinary ship successfully to Brazil with that number of crew" "To be alone forty-three days would seem a long time, but in reality, even here, winged moments flew lightly by" "My diet on these long passages usually consisted of potatoes and salt cod and biscuits, which I made two or three times a week" "I should mention that while I was at Melbourne there occurred one of those extraordinary storms sometimes called "rain of blood," the first of the kind in many years about Australia." "On the 23d of June I was at last tired, tired, tired of baffling squalls and fretful cobble-seas. ... And now, without having wearied my friends, I hope, with detailed scientific accounts, theories, or deductions, I will only say that I have endeavored to tell just the story of the adventure itself" This is a must-read, to be devoured; because it’s the first solo circumnavigation of the globe waters, by Captain Joshua Slocum. He departed from the USA in 1895, when he was 51. The boat he used, he himself had fixed; a not brand new one, the “Spray”. Azores, Gibraltar, Brazil and other South America nations, then the Pacific ocean and Australia, are the initial itinerary landmarks. Next, back to the west, till Saint Helena isle where Napoleon had been in prison. The trip ended in Fairhaven (USA). Yet he never made it back to the USA, as of 1909, when he set sails for the West Indies; he intended to explore the Orinoco, Rio Negro and Amazon Rivers. He just “disappeared”. Only in 1924, was he declared "legally dead".

  5. 4 out of 5

    James Elliot Leighton

    This was one of the most influential books that I have ever read. I read it while still in my teens. Growing up in a seafaring (Naval) family I was able to sail from age eight. At eighteen, when other teens were looking for their first car, I bought (from an eighty-two year old widow) my first yacht, a 1928, wooden hulled A Class gaff rigged sloop that had sunk at its moorings during a storm. With a lot of help, I raised it, refurbished it, and lived on it for the next eighteen months. I then jo This was one of the most influential books that I have ever read. I read it while still in my teens. Growing up in a seafaring (Naval) family I was able to sail from age eight. At eighteen, when other teens were looking for their first car, I bought (from an eighty-two year old widow) my first yacht, a 1928, wooden hulled A Class gaff rigged sloop that had sunk at its moorings during a storm. With a lot of help, I raised it, refurbished it, and lived on it for the next eighteen months. I then joined the Navy and during my enlistment it once again sank during a storm. This time it was past salvage. After leaving the Navy I bought a Roberts Ketch and lived and sailed on it for twelve years. I have not circumnavigated the world in one pass, but I have sailed the Coral Sea - Pacific, North and South, the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic and ventured (but not thoroughly explored) into the Antarctic. I doubt that I would have done any of this if not for the influence this book had upon me. I love the book and respect and admire Joshua Slocum. Like most of his era, he writes well (good schooling) and tells a good story. Well worth reading.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    This used to be required reading for Massachusetts high school students. Joshua Slocum was the first to sail solo around the world. Still crazy to this day. The story was great in detail and local interest for the places it dealt with. I love Slocum's writing at points, but like Moby Dick, at other times I feel I'm just pushing through to get to the good parts again. His historical detail and places he visits is not only a good story worth reading, but if you think about it for a moment, the tim This used to be required reading for Massachusetts high school students. Joshua Slocum was the first to sail solo around the world. Still crazy to this day. The story was great in detail and local interest for the places it dealt with. I love Slocum's writing at points, but like Moby Dick, at other times I feel I'm just pushing through to get to the good parts again. His historical detail and places he visits is not only a good story worth reading, but if you think about it for a moment, the time at which he visits some of these islands is a record which was thereafter erased by modern progress. He is a unique character, and if you grew up on Cape Cod, or have ties to Nova Scotia, the story should hold special interest because of Slocum's origins. It also deals with the tragic death of his first wife, later his son, something he never overcomes and in his later years is probably still a motivating force for him to fly solo in the end.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Galadrielė

    ☆1/5☆ DNF @ pg 47. I had too high expectations for this one, I guess. •writing style (cut short sentences) is not for my liking; •very slow paced book; •adventures are not so exciting, I caught myself thinking about others things while reading it. And it's not a good sign. -.-

  8. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    For a trip with so much time at sea and so little ashore, Captain Slocum paints with some amazing words. This was, in my mind, so much easier to read (and enjoy) than either Gulliver's Travels or Robinson Crusoe, and at least as adventurous. Of related interest, I am now reading Pole to Pole and looking forward to Around the World in 50 Years: My Adventure to Every Country on Earth. Seasonal Reading Challenge 2018 Fall/au'TUM'n Task 5.2- The Tour de France (Wanderlust list) and URC-50 book "over 1 For a trip with so much time at sea and so little ashore, Captain Slocum paints with some amazing words. This was, in my mind, so much easier to read (and enjoy) than either Gulliver's Travels or Robinson Crusoe, and at least as adventurous. Of related interest, I am now reading Pole to Pole and looking forward to Around the World in 50 Years: My Adventure to Every Country on Earth. Seasonal Reading Challenge 2018 Fall/au'TUM'n Task 5.2- The Tour de France (Wanderlust list) and URC-50 book "over 100 years old"

  9. 4 out of 5

    Alan

    One of the great maritime autobiographies, beginning in New Bedford--well, across the harbor in Fairhaven where Slocum reworked an unpromising vessel for a year or slightly more. An old oyster sloop, it had been out of commission since 1885 when seven years later Slocum was offered it for free, moving it from Poverty Point up to his house on the Acushnet River. I taught Sailing Alone a couple times to my Freshman Comp class at a local community college, the last in a five book course that would One of the great maritime autobiographies, beginning in New Bedford--well, across the harbor in Fairhaven where Slocum reworked an unpromising vessel for a year or slightly more. An old oyster sloop, it had been out of commission since 1885 when seven years later Slocum was offered it for free, moving it from Poverty Point up to his house on the Acushnet River. I taught Sailing Alone a couple times to my Freshman Comp class at a local community college, the last in a five book course that would include one Shakespeare play--usu a feminist one like Measure for Measure (because 2/3 of my students were women)-- a book of poems and songs, a book of short stories (often all by one author, like Vonnegut, VS Naipaul, Flannery O'Connor, Joyce or Katherine Mansfield) and one sustained narrative like Alice in Wonderland, Confederacy of Dunces, or Slocum. Slocum is a first-class ironist, and he parodies such voyage stories as RH Dana's: "I found no fault with the cook...There was never s ship's crew so well agreed"(43). Many passages are well known, such his politically incorrect (but life-saving) use of tacks, and his adding a rear mast to sail N from Magellan Straits into the Pacific. Then there are the barrels of fat he picked up and used to produce and sell donuts to the Islanders, at Valima, Samoa where R L Stevenson had lived. Local descendants of Slocum vehemently denied that he'd ever done any such thing. But I had taught the book several times, and they must not have completed it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    Joshua Slocum, a New England sea captain, in his retirement built a sloop that he named the Spray. In it he set out in 1895 on a solo journey around the world. Three years later he again landed in New England having traveled some 46,000 miles circumnavigating the globe. This little book is his account of the journey. The style of the man and his writing is direct, humble, educated and thoughtful, the account of a man with oceans of schooling but little of the carefully prescribed learning prized Joshua Slocum, a New England sea captain, in his retirement built a sloop that he named the Spray. In it he set out in 1895 on a solo journey around the world. Three years later he again landed in New England having traveled some 46,000 miles circumnavigating the globe. This little book is his account of the journey. The style of the man and his writing is direct, humble, educated and thoughtful, the account of a man with oceans of schooling but little of the carefully prescribed learning prized today. His journey, his knowledge, his character connect him to the people, places, and creatures - and especially the sea itself - as he finds these at every point along his winding path. Even after more than a century, Slocum's journey and his tale give us a glimpse of the vast spaces of this remarkable planet and the remarkable human itch across its weathered skin.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Villines

    One person's adventure is not necessarily another person's adventure.Sailing Alone Around the World is Joshua Slocum's self-narrated account of his solo voyage around the world in the 1890's. Everything about his voyage is worthy of being told. His voyage was made without radio, radar, GPS systems, or aircraft at the tail end of 19th Century. When Slocum sailed out over the horizon he was alone, known to no one, and to perish meant that he would simply disappear. But his narrative comes across a One person's adventure is not necessarily another person's adventure.Sailing Alone Around the World is Joshua Slocum's self-narrated account of his solo voyage around the world in the 1890's. Everything about his voyage is worthy of being told. His voyage was made without radio, radar, GPS systems, or aircraft at the tail end of 19th Century. When Slocum sailed out over the horizon he was alone, known to no one, and to perish meant that he would simply disappear. But his narrative comes across as blasé and matter-of-fact. Slocum was too good at sailing. He avoided many hardships and mishaps due to his experience. The overall result is a narrative full of story but short on the types of insights that can only be gained through through adversity. The human abilities to learn, adapt, and overcome are the things that make an adventure. Overall, this is a wonderfully historical book, just not wonderfully adventurous.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    I'm not going to say much about this book because I don't have enough superlatives. Simply said, if you want to read (or listen, in my case) to an adventure memoir that takes you around the world, is narrated by a grandfather-like character and has dry wit, this is your book. I loved it! I would not be surprised if I picked it up again.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Bill Rogers

    Note: The edition I read was the free Gutenberg Project electronic text, an edition not listed here. The text was adequate, but like many free ebooks it had been made by optical character recognition from an old library book and had many typographic errors. Sailing anywhere alone is dangerous enough to be exciting, even if you don't leave sight of land. Sailing alone around the world is a tremendous accomplishment even today. Imagine, then, what it would have been like to do it in the late 19th C Note: The edition I read was the free Gutenberg Project electronic text, an edition not listed here. The text was adequate, but like many free ebooks it had been made by optical character recognition from an old library book and had many typographic errors. Sailing anywhere alone is dangerous enough to be exciting, even if you don't leave sight of land. Sailing alone around the world is a tremendous accomplishment even today. Imagine, then, what it would have been like to do it in the late 19th Century, without electronic navigation, a radio, an outboard motor for getting in and out of ports, or even a good clock. Well, you don't have to imagine it, because between April 1895 and June 1898 Captain Joshua Slocum made the trip, and in 1899 he wrote a book about it. Here it is for you to read, the story of the first person ever confirmed to have sailed around the world alone, written by the man himself. The book concerns itself largely with how he did it, rebuilding an old oyster boat into a world cruiser, choosing his course, repairing and modifying his boat en route, finding the occasional cargo to sell further along his voyage and meeting helpful people along the way. He had a few adventures but doesn't make much of them. Never does he hint that he considered himself an unusually good sailor; but then, in his day, people who had spent decades at sea on sailing vessels weren't as rare as they are today. The Age of Sail was ending. A large part of Slocum's voyage was his hopes that sailing, book sales, and paid lectures would give him the resources he needed to see him through his old age. In a sense they did see him through to the end of his life. Getting low on money again, on November 14, 1909, he sailed south intending to explore the coast and rivers of South America. He was never seen again.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Monty Milne

    How I envied Captain Slocum when he described days spent in peaceful reading, his bark gliding over sunlit seas, always bang on course - even after hundreds of miles. I did not envy him at all when wild seas broke over him, and he spent exhausting nights reefing sails and untangling rigging. I have done a lot of sailing - thanks to being the son of a fanatical yachtsman - but I have never been more than a semi-competent deckhand. Slocum's unerring navigational instinct filled me with awe, especi How I envied Captain Slocum when he described days spent in peaceful reading, his bark gliding over sunlit seas, always bang on course - even after hundreds of miles. I did not envy him at all when wild seas broke over him, and he spent exhausting nights reefing sails and untangling rigging. I have done a lot of sailing - thanks to being the son of a fanatical yachtsman - but I have never been more than a semi-competent deckhand. Slocum's unerring navigational instinct filled me with awe, especially when I recollect a time on my father's yacht in the Aegean, many years ago, when we emerged from below deck to see my two younger teenage brothers , stark naked at the wheel, silhouetted against a starlit sky and laughing wildly with the intoxication of the warm breath of Aeolus rushing over the wine dark sea...having taken us twenty miles off course in just a few hours.... Slocum must have been rather odd - and one gets glimpses of his oddity from time to time - but this does not detract from his achievement, or the power of his writing. The pages exhale the flavour of the ocean, just as a good oyster does as it slips down one's throat. And some of the incidents while the boat is at anchor are just as fascinating - such as his meeting with President Kruger of the Transvaal, refusing to believe Slocum had sailed round the world because the Bible told him the earth was flat - and the Indians of Tierra del Fuego, howling with rage as their barefoot attempts to rob the sleeping Slocum are thwarted by the tin tacks spread liberally on the deck. And the whole book is given added poignancy by the knowledge that after it was written, Slocum and the Spray made another voyage - and were never heard of again...

  15. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    I picked this book off the shelf a few years back, because I realized it was the story behind a song that loved. This book really didn't do anything for me. There was enough technical jargon to be confusing to a newbie like me to the sailing world, but not enough to give any real information on how he sailed. In fact, I'm not fully sure how he filled so many pages, because it felt like he hadn't said anything by the time I reached the end. It seemed to mostly be a story of hopping from port to p I picked this book off the shelf a few years back, because I realized it was the story behind a song that loved. This book really didn't do anything for me. There was enough technical jargon to be confusing to a newbie like me to the sailing world, but not enough to give any real information on how he sailed. In fact, I'm not fully sure how he filled so many pages, because it felt like he hadn't said anything by the time I reached the end. It seemed to mostly be a story of hopping from port to port and meeting with the local dignitaries in each one. Where there could have been adventure, his "modesty" kept him from going into detail aside from making it clear all troubles were easily dispatched. There were occasional great anecdotes, such as the gift of a goat proceeding to gobble up his lines and charts, or the use of carpet tacks as defensive fortifications. This must have been a hell of a voyage. Clearly he is an incredible sailor. I could only wish he were as good a writer.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Duncan

    In 1895 Joshua Slocum, forced from the sea when square riggers finally lost their place permanently to steamships, rebuilt a small oyster smack and began to sail it around the world. Radio was in its infancy and the world was not quite completely at war yet. He left Boston and tried to sail around Cape Horn three times. Failing this, he went the other way, completely around the world. Along the way he was greeted as a hero, feted by yacht clubs and navies, chased by pirates, buffeted by typhoons In 1895 Joshua Slocum, forced from the sea when square riggers finally lost their place permanently to steamships, rebuilt a small oyster smack and began to sail it around the world. Radio was in its infancy and the world was not quite completely at war yet. He left Boston and tried to sail around Cape Horn three times. Failing this, he went the other way, completely around the world. Along the way he was greeted as a hero, feted by yacht clubs and navies, chased by pirates, buffeted by typhoons and visited by the ghost of Columbus. His boat Spray is almost as famous as he is. He navigated with a tin clock using the celestial movements of the moon to find his position and tied himself to his mast during storms. He was the first person to sail around the world alone. His memoir of the journey is personable and amusing, as well as instructive for those of us who dream sometimes of casting off. His language is laconic and spare but his personality is generous. As a story teller is a sure pilot. This book is a classic and is thoroughly enjoyable.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Tuck

    first person to solo sail around earth. good writer, funny, salty, not too misanthropic, and incredible navigator. this edition has very nice intro by thomas philbrick, and is illustrated, maps, nice bibliography. since then, a biography has shaken the slocum-lovers world and turns out he was yes, a circumnavigator, but also sailed the last sail powered commercial ship, and almost sunk it and fought off mutiny (a black black mark on any captain, no matter how justified), got busted for playing a first person to solo sail around earth. good writer, funny, salty, not too misanthropic, and incredible navigator. this edition has very nice intro by thomas philbrick, and is illustrated, maps, nice bibliography. since then, a biography has shaken the slocum-lovers world and turns out he was yes, a circumnavigator, but also sailed the last sail powered commercial ship, and almost sunk it and fought off mutiny (a black black mark on any captain, no matter how justified), got busted for playing a little too ardently with a little girl, treated his wife and family like pariahs, and eventually probably committed suicide-by-sailboat as an old codger. The Hard Way Around: the Passages of Joshua Slocum

  18. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    Joshua Slocum is exactly the sort of person you want to sit down and have a drink with. He is humble, hilarious, and full of great stories. Considering this is a book about navigation, it is remarkably understandable and intriguing. I would highly recommend this one to teenage boys who like adventure and any adult who loves a good, true, seafaring story. Well worth the time. (Though I enjoyed this as an audio book, I think it might have been easier to physically read it, as I could have used a m Joshua Slocum is exactly the sort of person you want to sit down and have a drink with. He is humble, hilarious, and full of great stories. Considering this is a book about navigation, it is remarkably understandable and intriguing. I would highly recommend this one to teenage boys who like adventure and any adult who loves a good, true, seafaring story. Well worth the time. (Though I enjoyed this as an audio book, I think it might have been easier to physically read it, as I could have used a map or picture of the boat)

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Absolutely fascinating. Slocum is my new hero! His dry humor and positive attitude make the book so entertaining to read, and his reports of the places he visited are simply magical.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Graychin

    “I tried to compare my state with that of old circumnavigators, who sailed exactly over the route I took from Cape Verde Islands or farther back to this point and beyond, but there was no comparison so far as I had got. Their hardships and romantic escapes – those of them who avoided death and worse sufferings – did not enter into my experience, sailing all alone around the world. For me is left only to tell of pleasant experiences, till finally my adventures are prosy and tame.” Joshua Slocum ma “I tried to compare my state with that of old circumnavigators, who sailed exactly over the route I took from Cape Verde Islands or farther back to this point and beyond, but there was no comparison so far as I had got. Their hardships and romantic escapes – those of them who avoided death and worse sufferings – did not enter into my experience, sailing all alone around the world. For me is left only to tell of pleasant experiences, till finally my adventures are prosy and tame.” Joshua Slocum made the first-ever solo circumnavigation of the globe in his sloop the Spray between 1895 and 1898 but, his own words to the contrary, his adventures were not really so prosy and tame. His book, first published in 1899, has the fresh enthusiasm of a Robert Louis Stevenson travelogue and the humor, almost, of Jerome K. Jerome. Along his course, Slocum is haunted by a ghost from Columbus’s Pinta who lends a hand in an Atlantic storm. He is pursued by pirates off the coast of Morocco. He gets stuck in a sort of vortex and goes twice through the Straits of Magellan, where he is attacked on several occasions by Patagonian “savages.” To his own surprise he is made a minor celebrity in Australia. His arrival on Rodriguez Island in the Indian Ocean is hilariously mistaken for the coming of the Anti-Christ. He engages in fierce debate with Flat-Earth disciples of Kruger in South Africa who sneer at the mere suggestion of a circumnavigation. I envied Slocum his skill and ability, his stoic resolve, his ease in company and his comfort in extended periods of the most perfect solitude. I envied his opportunity to read through several large libraries of books on his travels, thanks to the self-steering mechanism he invented for the Spray. It may not be the most adventurous book ever written or the most philosophical (though it’s not at all unreflective), but Slocum’s Sailing Alone around the World is a joy to read.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Wdayne

    I finished this book a couple of weeks ago, and I still think about it daily. That is the mark of a great book to me. Josh Slocum was not afraid of the ocean, he understood it's every breath. When you read this tale you feel like you can do it too, and I rank this with one of the most impressive feats that a person could accomplish even today. This is basically the old man's diary. He tells the state of the world from a worldly perspective, in other words he's seen both sides of the globe and he I finished this book a couple of weeks ago, and I still think about it daily. That is the mark of a great book to me. Josh Slocum was not afraid of the ocean, he understood it's every breath. When you read this tale you feel like you can do it too, and I rank this with one of the most impressive feats that a person could accomplish even today. This is basically the old man's diary. He tells the state of the world from a worldly perspective, in other words he's seen both sides of the globe and he knows the truth. He knows a bit about sailing and boats also. I would recommend this book to anyone, but to those with an adventurous soul, this book will change the way you think about moving through the world.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Rozzer

    Why? Because this is the ultimate travel book. This is the relation of a one-man journey literally around the world on the surface of the ocean before the existence of radios and other nice, self-preserving gadgets. In the very late 1800's, this man, a professional sailor, took his final voyages by himself in a tiny though well constructed sloop. Without big bucks. Facing the travails of the sea alone. I don't think any of us today can really appreciate what he faced. And no one hereafter ever w Why? Because this is the ultimate travel book. This is the relation of a one-man journey literally around the world on the surface of the ocean before the existence of radios and other nice, self-preserving gadgets. In the very late 1800's, this man, a professional sailor, took his final voyages by himself in a tiny though well constructed sloop. Without big bucks. Facing the travails of the sea alone. I don't think any of us today can really appreciate what he faced. And no one hereafter ever will.

  23. 5 out of 5

    John Behle

    I thought I would like the 189o's style of writing. Hey, heading off on a globe-girdling trip in your home rehabbed 36 footer is gutsy. I had heard of this saga. But it did not fill my sails. I surmise that 38 months at sea would get to be tedious. That is what I started feeling.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mihai Leonte

    I loved reading about his route and tracking it on Google Maps as I went through the book. And also his experiences with the locals on all the islands and capes. His tendency to "humble-brag" every other chapter became annoying really fast and by the end of the book I was glad to put it down because of it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    William Graney

    Despite the recommendation from a fellow member of the Adventure Reading Group I was a little leery going in as I thought that due to 1899 copyright date the writing style might be a little too old school and bland. But reminding myself how much I’ve enjoyed Melville and Thoreau encouraged me to go for it. The writing style is surprisingly smooth and light (although I wouldn’t quite call it a page-turner, it requires focus). Captain Slocum had a lot of machismo but he also didn’t seem to take hi Despite the recommendation from a fellow member of the Adventure Reading Group I was a little leery going in as I thought that due to 1899 copyright date the writing style might be a little too old school and bland. But reminding myself how much I’ve enjoyed Melville and Thoreau encouraged me to go for it. The writing style is surprisingly smooth and light (although I wouldn’t quite call it a page-turner, it requires focus). Captain Slocum had a lot of machismo but he also didn’t seem to take himself to seriously and I enjoyed the passages in which he would contemplate the joy of the open sea. I also enjoyed reading about his seamanship skills and ability to navigate, at times not having to determine longitude because he knew where he was by the ripples in the sea. Some of the views of the people he encountered seemed out of date even for the late 1800s. An example being the religious extremists who corrected him about using the phrase “sailing around the world” when he should have stated it as “sailing in the world” because their interpretation of biblical teaching led the to the belief that the world was flat. I guess it goes without saying but reading this book enforced the notion that it was a very different world just over a hundred years ago. Captain Slocum also had a very nonchalant attitude towards being the first person to sail solo around the world and after over three years at sea he writes about sailing into a tornado just off the coast of New York as though it was just another day on the seas. My only complaint about the book was that he seemed to get bogged down in writing about passing through Strait of Magellan. It took a long time but it seems to take up a disproportionate amount of the book while he also wrote sparingly about some other areas that I thought could have been expanded on.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Ned

    After hearing about this book many times (in the NYT Book Review, various online publications), I finally decided to sit down and read it. A man, all alone, sailing around the world with his tiller lashed and reading belowdecks, what's not to love? Quite a lot, actually. Slocum glosses over the parts that would interest modern readers (storms at sea, exotic islands) and belabors his meetings with now insignificant historical figures, e.g. ships' captains, colonial governors, and Mrs. Robert Loui After hearing about this book many times (in the NYT Book Review, various online publications), I finally decided to sit down and read it. A man, all alone, sailing around the world with his tiller lashed and reading belowdecks, what's not to love? Quite a lot, actually. Slocum glosses over the parts that would interest modern readers (storms at sea, exotic islands) and belabors his meetings with now insignificant historical figures, e.g. ships' captains, colonial governors, and Mrs. Robert Louis Stevenson. You can almost hear Slocum dropping names and crowing over his brushes with late 19th century celebrity. There are warning signs early on, as the unreliable narrator gives an embarrassingly transparent account of hitting someone else's boat in harbor, and somehow managing to fault them for it. It would have been an effective fictional device, but here it merely presages a self-absorbed, ultimately dull author. After finishing this book and reading up on Slocum, I was dismayed but unsurprised to learn that the author was arrested for child molestation in 1909 and denied all memory of the incident. What did surprise me was learning that modern analysis of his boat's design revealed it to be supremely unstable and that his death at sea was only a matter of time and luck. (I was fortunate not to be aware of this fact while I was reading; a full third of this book is given over to loving detail and boasting about the boat that ultimately killed the author.) The only mystery of Sailing Alone Around the World is why so many people tolerate the banal musings of a sociopath; he may have had the greatest view in the world, but it's one he never bothers sharing with the reader.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sylvester

    What an undertaking this was! While reading this book I was continually amazed at the understated courage of Capt. Slocum and his thorough knowledge of the sea. He has this way of making it sound almost every-day, or, at least not nearly the astounding endeavor that it really was. I remember reading “Dove” by Robin Lee Graham when I was a teen, and loving it to bits – but this journey by Slocum has a whole different flavour. (I picked it up because Jack London referred to it several times in “Th What an undertaking this was! While reading this book I was continually amazed at the understated courage of Capt. Slocum and his thorough knowledge of the sea. He has this way of making it sound almost every-day, or, at least not nearly the astounding endeavor that it really was. I remember reading “Dove” by Robin Lee Graham when I was a teen, and loving it to bits – but this journey by Slocum has a whole different flavour. (I picked it up because Jack London referred to it several times in “The Cruise of the Snark”, which I just read – one book leads to another!) Not only was he in danger of storms and winds and of losing course, but he was also in danger from land – and he had tricks up his sleeve for this, which are humorous from the vantage point of my spot on the couch – not so much, think, in the actual moment. Another thing I loved – J.S. read whenever he got the chance. (Reading on a sail boat is something I’m going to have to try. I did a lot of reading while in a canoe when I was a kid, but a sail-boat would really take the cake.) An incredible man and voyage. I’ll be reading “Inland Voyage” by R.L. Stevenson next – one of the books Slocum had on his trip. Book trail: 1.Voyage of the Snark 2. Sailing Alone Around the World 3. An Inland Voyage

  28. 4 out of 5

    George

    The title says it all. This is the true story of the American who decided to sail around the world by himself in a boat that he built. It takes place during the late 1800's, when steam was taking over commercial freight. The journey is full of adventure and altruism. He runs from and shoots pirates, battles storms, avoids warships in hostile waters, dines with noblemen and women stationed or vacationing around the globe, and mixes with the locals in the south pacific. And he is usually welcomed The title says it all. This is the true story of the American who decided to sail around the world by himself in a boat that he built. It takes place during the late 1800's, when steam was taking over commercial freight. The journey is full of adventure and altruism. He runs from and shoots pirates, battles storms, avoids warships in hostile waters, dines with noblemen and women stationed or vacationing around the globe, and mixes with the locals in the south pacific. And he is usually welcomed with generosity and hospitality. Why someone would attempt this is difficult to say, but I find it to be the most intriguing aspect of this great feat. Surprisingly the author doesn't get into it too much. I'm guessing its complicated and personal....unhappy home life, thirsting for adventure, looking to make a lasting mark on the world....typical mid-life crisis. What distinguishes this mid-life crisis is that Slocum is a man of vast nautical skill, cunning and bravery. He navigates by the sun and stars, and alone does the work that an entire crew usually does - captain, crew, shipbuilder and cook. I recommend this to anyone that likes true stories of adventure.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ryan Miller

    I loved this book. Slocum's circumnavigation of the world was an incredible feat, but the greatness of the story is the way he went about it. He came across an old clam boat sitting in the middle of a field in New England and fixed it up - the boat was about a hundred years old already! He fixed the boat up and set off. He wasn't motivated to set the record of the first solo circumnavigator, but just loved the adventure. He was self deprecating throughout the book - he always gave credit to the I loved this book. Slocum's circumnavigation of the world was an incredible feat, but the greatness of the story is the way he went about it. He came across an old clam boat sitting in the middle of a field in New England and fixed it up - the boat was about a hundred years old already! He fixed the boat up and set off. He wasn't motivated to set the record of the first solo circumnavigator, but just loved the adventure. He was self deprecating throughout the book - he always gave credit to the Spray, his boat. My favorite part of the book was the end, when he talks about how the journey affected him. He said he felt and looked at least ten years younger. He said he had been happy since the day he saw the old boat sitting in the empty field and started fixing it up. Slocum was a true optimist throughout. This book is funny, light-hearted, and a great adventure story. I'm sure I'll read this book again someday, and I would recommend it to anyone who loves reading and dreaming about adventure.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ach

    If I was the first person to sail round the globe solo - in a wooden boat I designed and built - I'd think I was awesome. If Joshua Slocum felt that way he doesn't show it, and that's what I really like about this book. There's lots of description of amazing stuff, but mostly it's about things he saw, rather than the stuff he did. For example: "On the tenth day from Cape Pillar a shark came along, the first of its kind on this part of the voyage to get into trouble. I harpooned him and took out hi If I was the first person to sail round the globe solo - in a wooden boat I designed and built - I'd think I was awesome. If Joshua Slocum felt that way he doesn't show it, and that's what I really like about this book. There's lots of description of amazing stuff, but mostly it's about things he saw, rather than the stuff he did. For example: "On the tenth day from Cape Pillar a shark came along, the first of its kind on this part of the voyage to get into trouble. I harpooned him and took out his ugly jaws." If I'd written that, the second sentence would have been four pages long, with references to blood and bigger boats. But Slocum was a professional sailor, so the voyage you read about is the one a professional would see, not the one I imagined. Even the trip around the Cape of Good Hope, his "the greatest adventure," is short, and mostly about how lucky he felt that his boat didn't sink. This is about as understated an adventure story as there could be, and all the better for it.

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