Two Years Before the Mast Author:Richard Henry Dana As a classic of the sea, Two Years Before the Mast can be challenged only by Melville's Moby Dick. Melville was the first to acknowledge the influence of his "sea brother" and his superiority in factual description of the real life of a seaman under sail and before the mast. It was Richard Henry Dana who suggested that Melville should write Moby... more » Dick to probe the mysteries of the ocean, and Dana again who advised him to write White Jacket as a counterpart, for life in the Navy, of Dana's "two years" in merchant ships.
In writing Two Years Before the Mast, it can be truly said that this proper Bostonian "adhered closely to fact in every particular, and endeavored to give everything in its true character." He has given the truth with such imaginative insight that it adds the interest of romantic fiction to the persuasive force of solid fact.« less