Stuart's Reviews > Two Years Before the Mast: A Sailor's Life at Sea

Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana Jr.
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's review
Nov 08, 10

One of the great first-hand accounts of a sailor's life in the 1830s. Unfortunately, it also contains a bunch of hateful stereotyping - of California Indians and the Spanish colonists here - that forged popular opinion for migrating Yankees in the Gold Rush. Since this was one of the only books available in the US that dealt with California at the time, a million immigrants arrived on our shores with the notion that the Indians were subhumans and the Californios were lazy, untrustworthy greasers. Which explains a lot about what happened next. Still, a great read. The descriptions of the two Cape Horn passages - especially the return trip - are unforgettable.

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