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Before the Wind: The Memoir of an American Sea Captain, 1808-1833 (2000)

by Charles Tyng

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1563177,520 (3.57)6
"From mermaids to mutinies, shipwrecks to cholera, the life of Charles Tyng was a nonstop voyage of adventure. His quarter century under sail took him around the world half a dozen times. Fortunately, he proved to be as natural a storyteller as he was a sailor."--BOOK JACKET. "He battles the forces of nature (and other men), surviving shipwrecks, squalls, and pirates. He makes and loses fortunes in tea, sugar, and cotton. He meets Lord Byron as well as King Kamehameha of Hawaii and the British princess (later queen) Victoria."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)
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» See also 6 mentions

Showing 3 of 3
This book was published by the author’s descendant who found it. The memoirs describe the author’s career working on merchant ships, from ship boy to captain, during which he made 18 various trips. I enjoyed this book. He took a lively interest in everything he saw and had a knack for descriptions. Needless to say, his profession also led to various adventures. He happened to be in Chili and Brazil during their wars for independence, from Spain and Portugal respectively. He learned about the battle of Waterloo, when his ship stopped at St Helena where Napoleon was then guarded. Tyng also witnessed the arrival of the fruits of the industrial revolution. When he saw a steamship for the first time, he thought that it was on fire. His ship was the first one to arrive into Amsterdam via a newly constructed canal, amazing the people who lived alongside the canal and damaging several bridges. When in England, he traveled on the first railroad in the world, from Manchester to Liverpool (the boiler blew up, killing the engineer and burning several workers). This book really allowed me to see life in the early 19th century, and the fact that the author had been everywhere was an added bonus. ( )
  Ella_Jill | Jan 4, 2013 |
Interesting memoir by a merchant ship captain out of Boston. The writing is pithy and to the point, all business, but surprisingly modern sounding. It strips out the romanticism so typical of accounts about this era. The audiobook narration by Stefan Rudniki is extremely well done, complete with Boston accent, it adds a new dimension. Tyng's personality left me a bit cold, but it's authentic tough Yankee Quaker seaman (thinking of captain Ahab). See the New York Times review which is good. ( )
1 vote Stbalbach | Jun 15, 2012 |
9.0
  Listener42 | Sep 1, 2008 |
Showing 3 of 3
A novelist's eye for detail and a storyteller's flair make this yarn a page turner.. Tyng writes with the confident forcefulness that saved him countless times at sea, yet with the open-eyed wonder of a child.. Circumspect only about sex and carousing, Tyng is a valuable informant for historians, and many will find his account of purchasing a ''mermaid'' (a Japanese taxidermist's hoax) worth the price of the book.
 

» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Charles Tyngprimary authorall editionscalculated
Rudnicki, StefanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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"From mermaids to mutinies, shipwrecks to cholera, the life of Charles Tyng was a nonstop voyage of adventure. His quarter century under sail took him around the world half a dozen times. Fortunately, he proved to be as natural a storyteller as he was a sailor."--BOOK JACKET. "He battles the forces of nature (and other men), surviving shipwrecks, squalls, and pirates. He makes and loses fortunes in tea, sugar, and cotton. He meets Lord Byron as well as King Kamehameha of Hawaii and the British princess (later queen) Victoria."--BOOK JACKET.

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