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on 3 August 2017
If you like the sea, if you love sailing ships and if you like a great account of life aboard a sailing ship, then this is solid gold!
Fabulous account of the life of a young seaman and his exploits on the barque "Moshulu" which incidentally is still afloat as a restaurant in Pennsylvania, USA then this is for you.
I could not put this book down and the humour that Eric Newby recounts is a break from the reality of the hard life at sea in the 1930s and 40s.
Absolutely entertaining from page one to back cover!
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on 8 October 2016
From start to finish this book has kept me enthralled. Not my usual flavour of book (more of a horror and sci fi buff), Newby's tale was a wonderful journey, bringing back fond memories of my own time on these familiar seas. Amusing and entertaining, his descriptive prose brings you into his world, although I don't intend to "knacka rost " anytime soon.
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on 8 March 2008
Eric Newby is a renowned travel writer, and this is one of his first and best books. It tells of how in 1938 he signed on as an apprentice deck hand on a large steel square rigger engaged in the Australia - Europe grain trade. It is a fascinating, moving, exciting, funny account of the round trip with all its highs and lows, written with such skill, and passion I just couldn't put it down. You really don't have to be a sailor to enjoy this book, but if you are it's even better. A collector's item.
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on 2 August 2017
Recipient really enjoyed this.
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on 13 February 2000
This book and 'Learning the ropes' mean so much to me. As you will notice I am no writer or scholar. I read 'A Travellers Life' when I picked up on the story of the 'Last Grain Race'. I am no reader either but I could not put the book down. In fact just before the end I started again beacuse I didnot want to finish it! The romance for land lubbers of ships under sail is enhanced by the hard reality of life aboard. Who could climb the main mast - higher than Nelsons Column?. The only hint of the 'other' romance by the way was conjured up by mentioning his mothers friend - a picture in my mind! Sincere thanks to you Eric Newby. Man has sailed and written of it for centuries but I have only read one like yours. It will always mean a lot to me and if I have children I will read it to them - until they know it!
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on 24 July 2012
A first edition in good condition. I was very pleased with the service from this seller. A replacement volume for a copy lent and not returned.

This is the account of Eric Newby's experiences as an apprentice on one of the last 4 masted sailing barques, on a round trip to Australia just before the 2nd World War. It is very well written, and a foretaste of his illustrious travel writing career. It is a direct and vivid link to the harsh world of life on a large working sailing vessel, manned by very few sailors, and passing through some of the most inhospitable seas of the Southern Ocean. It makes today's gap year experiences rather trivial. It is well illustrated by Newby's own photograph, and as a tailpiece carries a sail and rigging plan of his ship, the Moshulu.

I thoroughly recommend it to anyone interested in the sea, sailing vessels, and/or the work of Eric Newby, one of the finest travel writers of his generation.
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on 9 May 2010
This book is a must for anyone interested in the story of sail. Eric Newby describes the hardships of life on a sailng ship, such as the very stern mates and skipper, the troubles with a foreign crew and lack of food and money. And tell's his climbing of the rigging and "learning the rope's" in great detail. He certainly makes you realise it's not such a romantic life as sometimes depicted. The only trouble with it is that it's not long enough. Buy it, you will not be disapointed.
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on 23 September 2008
I bought this having read a couple of his other books and having read an excerpt of this in 'A Merry Dance Around the World' and it is superb - interesting, enlightening and very funny and I loved it. And I am definitely female and not a sailor and have no desire to, just a love of good writing and also tall ships - read it girls and also his 'Something Wholesale' about the clothing trade it is again 'interesting, enlightening and very funny and I loved it' - give it a try!
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on 4 September 2002
Being an avid sailor myself, i approached this book with apprehension. However as soon i had finsihed the first chapter than was i drawn into eric's world. This book is as much a tribute to then endurance of man, as it is to the timeless square rigged tall ships and the crew that bravely man them. So engaging is the narrative that often you can taste the salt air and hear the sails fill with wind and feel the water about your ankles, and once again the crew lives. Finally a book you wish would never finish Hilarious, frightening and saddening in turns it's description of day to day life on the last great sailing ships is over all uplifting; i would recommend this book to both land lubbers and sailors alike.
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on 11 January 2011
In my opinion one of the most entertaining and inspirational books for a young person to read. Along with Laurie Lee's "I walked out one midsummer's morning" and Paddy Leigh Fermor's "A time of gifts" these books should be compulsory for every youth to read before they leave school.
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