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Joshua Slocum
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Sailing Alone Around the World

4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  3,764 ratings  ·  286 reviews
Sailing Alone around the World is the true story of the first man ever to circle the globe alone entirely by sea. In a little over three years, Captain Joshua Slocum completed the feat many experts believed couldn't be done - and he had the stories to prove it. During his historic voyage, Slocum was chased by pirates in Gibraltar, soaked by a "rain of blood" in Australia,...more
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Published February 1st 1989 by Recorded Books (first published 1900)
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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...more
Michael
Sep 06, 2007 Michael rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sailors
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...more
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....more
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...more
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...more
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...more
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...more
Tracy
I gave this book 4 stars because I LOVE real-life adventure of any kind. To a fellow lover of this kind of book, I would actually say it is a 5 star book, but to those not equally inclined, it may be a 2 or 3 star. Hope that makes sense. All about Cape Horn and its extremely difficult currents that have sunk multitudes of ships. The Straits of Magellan, Tierra del Fuego, the fascinating and gruelling life of the indigenous Indians.
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...more
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...more
William
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...more
Katherine Harms
Joshua Slocum is an icon in the sailing world. He built his own boat, or rather, rescued his own boat. Many avid sailors could identify with this project.
However, in a world of e-charts, radar, SSB radio and satellite phones, his single-handed vogage evokes real respect. I can tell on and all that I would not venture into the open sea all alone or with somebody, not even with Joshua Slocum, without GPS and today's charts.
I was fascinated by the whole idea of sailing alone. My husband and I sai...more
Kathryn
I picked up Sailing Alone Around the World in the same Nook sale where I got Two Years Before the Mast. The connection is obvious - they're both nonfiction books about long sailing voyages, and very famous books too. Other than that, though, the books aren't really comparable, and I think Two Years Before the Mast is superior.

Joshua Slocum, the author of Sailing Alone Around the World, was the first man to circumnavigate the globe, and he did it in a small wooden sloop. He tells the story of tra...more
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...more
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...more
Leif
More than a century lies between Slocum's voyage and my reading of it, but I finished the book wanting more details. The sea is an endless fountain of tales of human folly and wit, but Slocum's rendering of his voyage sticks to just the facts. Here and there a rare window opens onto the soul of this remarkable tale from the sea, but more often than not I wanted to hear more about the sailing, about the storms, about the island paradises, and about the dolphins ! Slocum's brevity did make the boo...more
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...more
Robert Delikat
A knowledge of sailing and and a map at hand might be helpful but not essential. While the author is a sailor by profession, the book is well written by any standard. The book moves along much faster than one might expect for a boat that only makes about 7 knots. While a journey around the world alone might not seem such a trivial matter, the author makes it almost seem so. The author must have had a great deal more to write than what is contained in this book. One has to wonder if the author ab...more
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...more
Bob
My awesome family bought me a Nook e-book reader from B&N. This is one of the books they offer, and it looks to be interesting. I am going to never be without a book now! Stores tons of them...
This was a fascinating story, written by a life-long sailor with little schooling. Really interesting to hear his experiences. What most amazed me was his report from South Africa where a number of people, including a prominent politician, were ardent flat earth believers. They absolutely did not belie...more
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...more
Peter Goodman
“Sailing Alone Around the World,” by Captain Joshua Slocum (original, 1900; Dover reprint). Notice how this book does not need a subtitle? Anyway, I am glad I finally got around to reading this marvelous story. Slocum was essentially a self-educated sailor who decided, sort of for the heck of it, to rebuild a derelict vessel called Spray into a tidy, tight, perfectly designed 36’9’’ sloop (later, with a little jigger mounted above the transom, a yawl) and sailed her alone around the world, from...more
Ray Duncan
An amazing true adventure story, written in a direct, matter-of-fact style by a fearless old Yankee sailor. He navigated around the world alone in a tiny sloop he rebuilt from a grounded rotting wreck, with little more than a tin clock and a sextant and an incredible understanding of the sea and tides and currents and winds earned the hard way through a long career in the merchant marine. The flavor of the pervasive British empire at its peak and the haphazard nature of communication through let...more
Shaun
Mar 11, 2007 Shaun rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: sailors/bored office workers
This is as fine a sea yarn as has ever been crafted. Slocum got the notion, built his own boat by hand, set sail around the world by himself and returned to his home port of Brier Island Nova Scotia to tell the tale - and what a tale it is!

You can taste the salt air in the pages and by about page 10 you can only put it down long enough to pour a beer, after all you can't leave the tiller unoccupied on a solo voyage in a mid-atlantic gale!
Rich
The sailor's bible. One day this guy decides to sail around the world, alone (perhaps you assumed that from the title?)Not the most well-written book, but an amazing feat, and story, considering he was the first to do it, write about it, and had no electronics, navigational aids, etc. Even with all of that stuff on modern-day sailboats, it's still a formidable journey. A good quick read that I think everyone should embark on.
Michael Weiss
In my humble opinion, Captain Slocum ranks amongst the coolest guys ever. He never takes himself too seriously, and writes an immensely interesting travelogue. Also, he provides an excellent glimpse of some of the world's ports just over a century ago. Slocum is an excellent mascot for proponents of the "Why? Because!" mentality, and anybody who enjoys an adventure tale will love this book.
dead letter office
Great read! This made me regret anew the fact that I have no comprehension of sailorly dialect. The book is mostly fascinating, but there are passages that just sound to me like someone is spouting boaty words strung together at random:

"I made fast the mainsail to the hawser and ran a line from the helm to the jib that I might better avail myself of the easterly wind now blowing abeam!"

Paul B
This true story is such a great read. Joshua Slocum sailed away in a small sailboat one day and friends had no idea why he never came back. When he finally returned and stated he's sailed around the world nobody believed him. Then when he produced evidence of his ports of call, it was indisputable that he did what nobody before him had done, nor would do for years to come.
Trish
I read this long ago, but I saw it listed on someone's travel shelf and thought just to add a note that this was one of my favorite books, along with West with the Night. Solid, thoughtful writing, and a great story of a time long ago.
Trenton
The incredible story of the first man to sail around the world by himself. In an age well before GPS or even precise charts. Slocum made it tens of thousands of miles through seas of adversity, tribulation and occasional provenance in a boat that he built by hand himself. Truly, an inspiring story for anyone who has ever ventured to the sea.
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Sailing alone 5 39 Apr 24, 2013 03:54AM  
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“I had already found that it was not good to be alone, and so made companionship with what there was around me, sometimes with the universe and sometimes with my own insignificant self; but my books were always my friends, let fail all else.” 2630 likes
“Now, it it well known that one cannot step on a tack without saying something about it.” 12 likes
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