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The Cruise of the Snark

3.65  ·  Rating details ·  614 Ratings  ·  53 Reviews
Describes the author's around the world attempt by sail, which was inspired by the examples of his heroes Herman Melville, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Joshua Slocum.
Paperback, 340 pages
Published January 25th 2000 by Sheridan House (first published 1907)
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Aug 31, 2017 rated it liked it
This was an interesting read, last year I'd read Sailing Alone around the World by Joshua Slocum, so this book was a natural for me as London was inspired to try to sail around the world by Slocum, my favorite chapters are LEPERS OF MOLOKAI, and THE AMATEUR M.D.

You can get the book for free at Amazon or Project Gutenberg
East Bay J
Jul 19, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: travel
On April 23, 1907, Jack London sailed out of San Francisco Bay to Hawaii, accompanied by his wife and a small crew, aboard the ship he built, the Snark. The details of that journey, which would take London and crew throughout the South Pacific and ultimately to Australia, are recounted in The Cruise Of The Snark.

On their journey, they encountered an amazing variety of hospitality from nearly everyone they met, the exception being the cannibals of the Solomon Islands. They also encountered an ast
Mar 01, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: adventure-true
I loved Jack London's life when I was much younger, and well, I still do. I dreamed of sailing the seas as he had. I loved his stone house in Glen Ellen and wished to live there, and I loved and wanted all of his souvenirs from the different islands that he had visited. I also loved that his wife went on the ocean voyages with him. And last of all, I even like some of this politics.

Back in my younger days I had a VW bug with a license plate that read, "The Snark." That is how much I loved Londo
Nov 27, 2016 rated it liked it
London's story of his attempt to sail around the world on a largely self-built yacht, the Snark. It was pretty much a failure of a trip, with problems starting even before they set sail from San Francisco. The yacht cost much more than London had figured, and the departure was delayed, in part, by liens put on the boat by his creditors. His preparations were given lots of attention in the press -- he was the world's bestselling author at the time -- and he spends a lot of pages quoting from lett ...more
Sep 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-my-bookcase
Jack London's squall-infused, sickness-filled, Snark-y voyage is a sailing classic and product of its time, for better and worse. Compare his tongue-in-cheek narrative with his very real sufferings, his sympathetic view of Molokai versus his feelings of white superiority, or his socialist convictions with his celebrity lifestyle, and you'll find a fully flawed, yet vivid memoir with plenty of takeaways. I would have liked to hear more about his small crew, which is why Penguin was smart to inclu ...more
Tiago Saraiva
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mais um excelente livro de Jack London, e esta obra mostra mais que nenhuma como ele era um bom contador de histórias. Os seus relatos facilmente se transformam em imagens, imagens ainda mais valiosas quando esta aventura se passa num pequeno veleiro, carregado de imperfeições, em alto mar, sem um capitão profissional que fosse capaz de navegar com a certeza do local onde se encontra. Os seus relatos da navegação quase à escuras causam angustia, sessenta dias de viagem em alto mar sem ver um out ...more
This is Jack London's account of building and then sailing a 43 foot boat from California to Hawaii and the South Seas. Some interesting stories--and a lot about tropical diseases.
Paul Peterson
Sep 25, 2014 rated it liked it
The story of Jack London's ill-fated voyage halfway around the world over a hundred years ago gets one thumb up from me. While it was entertaining in several aspects and places, it bogged down in the minutia of who had what tropical disease for how long and how much they vomited, etc, etc, etc as well as that of parts of the boat I am unfamiliar with. (In fairness, maybe I am a little burned out on sailing stories just now.)

There were some surprising revelations, such as islanders "driving" fish
I haven't decided if the experience of the book was made by the narrator, or ruined by him. One one hand, he brought Jack London's humour to life. I can still hear him interjecting "PROUD" every few sentences as Jack successfully taught himself how to navigate. On the other hand, he was almost over the top.

I enjoyed Jack's stories about their experiences as they set about to sail around the world. This book made me wish that I had known Jack London, the man.
Edward Renehan
Jun 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
London was an expert sailor. The Snark, which he had specially built for what he thought would be an around the world voyage, was an ill-found vessel with numerous flaws which quickly became evident upon departure out of San Francisco Bay. No sea trials. Also London turned out to be the only competent sailor/navigator aboard. Not good overall. Never got out of Pacific. But great narrative.
Dec 20, 2016 added it

Books 2016

1. My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem
2. The Confession of Jean Jacque Rousseau by Jean Jacque Rousseau
3. The Trail and Death of Socrates (Apology and Phaedo) by Plato
4. On Becoming Madison by Michael Singer
5. Give Me Liberty Or Give Me Death by Patrick Henry
6. The Founding Gardners by Andrea Wulf
7. The Dyslexia Empowerment Plan by Ben Foss
8. A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking
9. Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff
10. A View From the Bridge by Arthur Miller (play)
11. Proof by Dav
Un libro felice.
Da ogni pagina traspare le felicità e il godimento di Jack per tutta la durata del viaggio, felicità che trasforma anche le situazioni più difficili (malaria, frambesia, cacciatori di teste, problemi di navigazione) in spunti narrativi godibilissimi. Anche perché sempre pervasi da un’ironia a volte tenera (verso la moglie che deve mantenere a “perle e vulcani” e questa è una delle profferte d’amore più belle che abbia mai letto), a volte graffiante (sia verso i compagni di viagg
Roy Macgregor
Oct 16, 2016 rated it liked it
Well written narrative describing a sea journey fraught with difficulties and challenges. Provides interesting perspective of life at the turn of the 19th century. Not London's best, but well worth the read.
Mar 26, 2012 rated it liked it
The Cruise of the Snark By Jack London
I read most of this book on the Journey home from
Russia and it somehow seemed appropriate
considering the start of our trip to be reading a
book about a trip that had more than it's share
of disasters.
This Jack London book chronicles his attempt to
go on a round the world trip with his second wife
Charmaine in a boat of his own design and build.
The trip was meant to last 7 years but was cut
short to about 18 months in due to the
accumulation of diseases a
Jan 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
My next Jack London book after reading "House of Pride and Other Stories" was "The Cruise of the Snark". I loved the short fiction stories in "House of Pride" and wanted to try more Jack London. (Don't know why I had never read anything other than "White Fang" to this point in my life.

"Cruise of the Snark" is fun and it takes you to Polynesia before it was totally corrupted by modern progress. (However, as Jack points out, it was already damaged greatly by the non-polynesians who had been travel
Gerry Kantor
Mar 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Pretty good, Jack London actually built a ship and sailed out into the south Pacific, facing canabills and disease in the Solomons for years, until finally contracting a strange disease which sent him back to San Francisco, California. First stop was Waikiki, where he learned to surf from "Freeth" presumably George Freeth, hawaiian surfing pioneer. Devoted a few pages to his surfing and how much he liked to surf, and staying in Hawaii for a few months just surfing. In any case, turns out Jack Lo ...more
Nov 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Looking over people's reviews and my own experience of recommending this book, I have found that people are on or off with it. I found it delightfully entertaining from London's adventures in the realm of ship building to nautical navigation it was THE adventure to do. You must consider, would you as a writer take on the open waters of the ocean? And with such curiosity and open discussion of the encounters with natives and experiences London does an excellent job of dictating his wonder. Also, ...more
Dec 02, 2010 rated it really liked it
Fantastic travelogue of the South Pacific in the early 20th century. Especially effective is London's chauvinistic but often sympathetic look at the effects of colonialism and imperial policy on the island populations. I particularly enjoyed his chapter titled "Typee," which laments the passing of the island that Melville celebrates in his novel by the same name. Here particularly one sees the devastating impact of European diseases, sexual exploitation of the native populations and the environm ...more
Scott Harris
Jan 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
Jack London's early 20th century account of his efforts to sail around the world makes for great travel reading. In part, it is London's down to earth honesty that makes it a treat. The challenges with his boats, crews and disease make for a laugh when read from the distance of 100 years and safely ensconced on land. London's throw caution to the wind spirit in pursuit of adventure makes for fun reading. His amateur doctor routine and his encounter with Darling are a blast. Sad that this little ...more
Apr 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
I really loved this book, the trip was amazing, being it was so long ago and
just a unique thing to do at the time. It would be unique now as well. The only
reason I did not give it 5 stars is because Jack London got sick, well, everyone
aboard his boat did, and had to abort the world cruise in Australia so we
missed out on all the interesting observations Jack would have made on the rest
of the trip. I also wish he had commented on his wife's feelings about making the
trip more than he did. Still, lo
Aug 26, 2016 rated it liked it
Надеяться следует лишь на себя — так будет думать читатель, стоит ему ознакомиться с описанием мытарств Джека Лондона, решившего с друзьями построить судно и отправиться на нём в кругосветное путешествие. Задуманному не суждено было осуществиться. Джеку стоило огромных усилий и денежных средств создать корабль мечты, а потом бесконечно клясть людской род, покуда не пришлось досрочно прекратить плавание и обратиться к докторам за помощью.

(c) Trounin
William Mitchell
Sep 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This novel centers around a 65 foot sailboat which Jack and his wife built hopefully to sail around the world. Leaving the port of San Francisco they sailed to Hawaii and many islands in the Pacific. He learned to navigate on his own reading books as they went. Many adventures with the islanders fill this book and it also shows a sense of humor as he describes his experiences. The trip had to be abandoned because of sickness even though Jack proclaimed himself a doctor of sorts...
Sep 14, 2011 rated it liked it
Really interesting read just for the history. Jack London built a yacht in San Francisco 100 years ago. He sailed for Hawaii within a week of the 1906 earthquake. His experience with Hawaiians and travel through the South Pacific is a look back in time. It's hard to believe just how different things are 100 years later. I also enjoyed London's vocabulary. I learned a ton of new words.
Aug 22, 2015 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 11, 2013 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: No one.
It was extremely painful to read this. One of the most terrible experiences of my life in fact. If only when people warned me about how he wrote this just for money and it's absolutely terrible I didn't tell them there wouldn't be such thing as a bad Jack London novel. They turned out to be so right. So, so right.
Mr. Wakiki
Jan 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sailing
Kind of a fun book to read... I had to look at the publish date (1911) a couple times because some of the things are dated... disease and treatments, for example, or fighting with of certain island people. There are times when the book is fairly amusing
Apr 26, 2013 rated it liked it
I mostly enjoyed this true tale of Jack London building a sail boat and then taking it across the Pacific. London writes with wit and joy about the trip. It did bog down a couple times, most notably when discussing cannibals.
Jul 18, 2008 rated it really liked it
London's use of language is really beautiful. I didn't expect that so much. The book was so contemporary sounding, it really stands up to the test of time. There was humor and adventure. As far as sailing and travl books go this was an excellent read.
Mar 15, 2010 rated it liked it
Makes me want to go back in time . . .

One of those books that simply couldn't be written in this day and age - an adventure that won't happen ever again. My favorite? Nope. But pretty cool stuff & great for chat at cocktail parties? You bet . . .
Stephen Gagin
Sep 25, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book is a testament to Jack London's marriage. They hired a company to build their boat so they can sail around the world. Just about everything broke on their Pacific crossing and how they coped with it. It's a good read.
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Jack London was an American novelist, journalist, social-activist and short-story writer whose works deal romantically with elemental struggles for survival. At his peak, he was the highest paid and the most popular of all living writers. Because of early financial difficulties, he was largely self educated past grammar school.
London drew heavily on his life experiences in his writing. He spent ti
More about Jack London...
“Here am I, a little animal called a man--a bit of vitalized matter, one hundred and sixty-five pounds of meat and blood, nerve, sinew, bones, and brain,--all of it soft and tender, susceptible to hurt, fallible, and frail. I strike a light back-handed blow on the nose of an obstreperous horse, and a bone in my hand is broken. I put my head under the water for five minutes, and I am drowned. I fall twenty feet through the air, and I am smashed. I am a creature of temperature. A few degrees one way, and my fingers and ears and toes blacken and drop off. A few degrees the other way, and my skin blisters and shrivels away from the raw, quivering flesh. A few additional degrees either way, and the life and the light in me go out. A drop of poison injected into my body from a snake, and I cease to move--for ever I cease to move. A splinter of lead from a rifle enters my head, and I am wrapped around in the eternal blackness.

Fallible and frail, a bit of pulsating, jelly-like life--it is all I am. About me are the great natural forces--colossal menaces, Titans of destruction, unsentimental monsters that have less concern for me than I have for the grain of sand I crush under my foot. They have no concern at all for me. They do not know me. They are unconscious, unmerciful, and unmoral. They are the cyclones and tornadoes, lightning flashes and cloud-bursts, tide-rips and tidal waves, undertows and waterspouts, great whirls and sucks and eddies, earthquakes and volcanoes, surfs that thunder on rock-ribbed coasts and seas that leap aboard the largest crafts that float, crushing humans to pulp or licking them off into the sea and to death--and these insensate monsters do not know that tiny sensitive creature, all nerves and weaknesses, whom men call Jack London, and who himself thinks he is all right and quite a superior being.”
“Todos estamos prontos para pensar que há algo de errado no processo mental de quem discorda de nós.” 1 likes
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