6 x 9 in. Blue cloth and paper boards. Condition is VERY GOOD ; corners and spine ends mildly worn, edges a bit sunned and toned. Binding tight and text unmarked. DJ is VERY GOOD ; price-clipped, clean. Corners and spine ends have some loss and tears with some wrinkles. Naut. Stax. Bookseller Inventory # 27212
Synopsis: In the autumn of 1968, Donald Crowhurst set out from England in his untested trimaran, a competitor in the first singlehanded nonstop around-the-world sailboat race. Eight months later, the boat was found in mid-Atlantic with no one on board. Crowhurst's logs and diaries revealed that, although he had radioed messages from his supposed round-the-world course, he had in fact never left the Atlantic. This journalistic masterpiece reconstructs what happened: Crowhurst's growing distrust of his boat; his first decision to attempt one of the great hoaxes of our time; the lying radio transmissions; the ``triumphal'' return up the Atlantic as the elapsed-time race leader; and the fantastic ending. The Strange Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst is both a suspenseful narrative and a psychological casebook of human zeal and anguish.
From the Publisher: What Are “The Sailor’s Classics?”
No one meets the ocean on quite such intimate terms as the sailor in a small boat. No one experiences a solitude more absolute than that encountered by long-distance single-handed sailors like Joshua Slocum or Bernard Moitessier. Since the early nineteenth century, when Byron and Shelley put to sea in their own boats in order to set themselves adrift in nature at its most turbulent and unruly, writing and sailing have gone hand in hand.
There have been writers who sailed—Wilkie Collins, Joseph Conrad, Robert Louis Stevenson, Hilaire Belloc, Jack London, E.B. White, William Golding, John Barth, Thomas McGuane, Geoffrey Wolff—along with a multitude of sailors who wrote, from Slocum and John Voss to Tristan Jones and the father-son team of Daniel and David Hays. After nearly two hundred years, the literature of small-boat voyaging under sail is enormous, and every publishing season sees more additions to the list.
It is the function of The Sailor’s Classics to recognize and celebrate the relatively small number of truly important books in this library. Some have been chosen because the voyages they describe are themselves of unignorable merit; some because the sheer brilliance of their writing demands their inclusion. Most combine in equal parts serious nautical interest with literary excellence.
As general editor of the series, I am always trying to keep in mind the bookshelves on my own 35-foot ketch. A proper ship’s library isn’t restricted to books with boats in them, of course; I wouldn’t happily set sail for more than a day or two without novels by Dickens, Trollope, Evelyn Waugh, and Saul Bellow, and poetry by Pope, Keats, Tennyson, Hardy, Philip Larkin, and Robert Lowell. The big question is which small-boat voyages can stand up in such exalted literary company? Not very many is the honest answer, and half the function of an editor is to know what he must reject. The books that won’t figure in the series are as important as those that will.
We won’t be publishing quaint curiosities. Period charm does not make a classic, and though I have a soft spot for, say, Nathaniel Bishop’s Four Months in a Sneak Box (1879), and an even softer one for Maurice Griffiths’ The Magic of the Swatchways (1932), they won’t be found in The Sailor’s Classics. Nor will the many salty “yarns” full of the faded yo-ho-ho of generations past. Whimsical accounts of family vacations afloat (the obligatory adventure with the dog and the dinghy...) will be left to gather dust in peace. So will all those melancholy solo voyages in which the writers go to sea in order to discover themselves.
There remain the books whose vigor has not dimmed with the passage of time, whose voice is as alive and meaningful now as it was on their first publication—the books that should be essential reading for every literate sailor. No. 2 in the series is Richard Maury’s The Saga of Cimba, first published in 1939; No. 4 is The Strange Last Voyage of Donald Crowhurst by Nicholas Tomalin and Ron Hall, first published in 1971. They are perfect examples of what I mean: one a loving close-up portrait of the sea in all its moods, written by a master mariner with an astonishing literary gift; the other a study, by two journalists, of a man who lost touch with reality during the course of the first singlehanded round-the-world yacht race. Each—in its very different way—is an indispensable book. Each contributes an important thread to the larger pattern in the carpet, which is the great, various, and intricate design of the literature of small-boat sailing.
The Sailor’s Classics will surprise our readers with its richness and complexity. Since Homer’s Odyssey, the voyage has supplied one of the classic forms in literature—both as a grand metaphor for life itself in the long passage from birth to death, and as a sequence of tests and adventures. Equally, the boat (and especially the small boat) has long stood as a symbol of selfhood—a fragile ark bearing the journeying soul to its destination. Hilaire Belloc put the matter beautifully in The Cruise of the Nona:
The cruising of a boat here and there is very much what happens to the soul of a man in a larger way... We are granted great visions, we suffer intolerable tediums, we come to no end of the business, we are lonely out of sight of England, we make astonishing landfalls—and the whole rigmarole leads us along no whither, and yet is alive with discovery, emotion, adventure, peril and repose. Those five nouns should be emblazoned above The Sailor’s Classics: it is from the interweaving of discovery, emotion, adventure, peril, and repose that the pattern of sailing literature is made, and we shall do our best to honor each and every one in our selection of the best books ever written about life aboard small boats at sea. Jonathan Raban
Title: THE STRANGE LAST VOYAGE OF DONALD CROWHURST
Publisher: Stein and Day
Publication Date: 1970
Book Condition: Very Good
Dust Jacket Condition: very good
Edition: First edition.
Book Description Stein and Day, 1970. Hardcover. Condition: Near Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Good. 1st. First printing w/ 9-digit ISBN of the first edition in near-fine condition, square and firm with crisp, unmarked pages. Base of spine is lightly bumped and there is a name inside the cover; o/w like new. Unclipped dustjacket has some wear and small tears to the top edge. Will pack carefully in a box and ship promptly. Seller Inventory # 006949
Book Description Stein and Day, New York, 1970. Original Cloth. Condition: VG-. Dust Jacket Condition: NVG. First Edition. Book has bumped and worn coreners and spine, cover soiling. Dj has tears, chips, wear and soiling. What makes this book unusual is the return from the dead bold signature in pencil of Donald Crowhurst on the half title page which reads Best Wishes Donald Crowhurst E=MC2. Whether this is indeed his signature adding yet another twist to an already bizarre seafaring story I cannot tell. Signed by Author(s). Book. Seller Inventory # 000110