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Category: Cruise Of The Snark
Cruise Of The Snark

Cruise Of The Snark

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Cruise Of The Snark

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Catalog # 0924486465


The Cruise of the Snark relays the saga of Jack London's construction, and two-year voyage in a 45-foot sailing ketch from San Francisco to Hawaii, the Marquesas, Tahiti, and the head-hunting Solomon islands.
His difficulties in getting the boat built after the 1906 San Fran earthquake are hilarious as he describes the assaults of his contractors and creditors during the construction.

After they finally launch the voyage six months late, they manage to find Hawaii through sheer luck, where Jack and his plucky wife, Charmain, learn to surf (remember this is 1907!), visit the leper colony at Molokai and the "House of the Sun" volcanic crater on Maui.

Then comes the "impossible traverse" to the Marquesas, which they didn't realize couldn't be done until a week after they'd begun. Continuing on to Tahiti and the savage Solomon islands, Jack and his determined "Snarkites" encounter natives, tribal chieftains, missionaries, and overcome their problems with incredible persistence and naivete as only some of the first white people to enter these areas could possess.

Incidentally, the "cook" on this voyage was the famous photographer and world explorer Martin Johnson who was picked to go on his very first adventure by a letter to Jack advertising his thirst for travel. With his wife Osa, he would years later revisit the Solomons for the purpose of photographing cannibalism before embarking on their epic photographic safaris in Africa and Borneo. Jack only mentions Martin in passing during "the Cruise", perhaps sensing some literary and photographic competition that he would encounter later.

This book is a great shelf companion to Martin's "Through the South Seas with Jack London", upon which he began his great series of travel books. "The Cruise" gives Jack's viewpoint as the sponsor of the trip, and an established literary giant. Whereas Martin's opinions on the racial makeup of the islanders are quite bigoted and reflect the prevailing views of the turn of the century, Jack is more open-minded, and willing to point out the failings of the white race in adapting to these island paradises.

"The Cruise" is a great non-fiction book, among few others by London such as "the Abyss" that tell of his adventures and opinions first-hand as they happen. It truly captures his sarcastic yet hopeful perspective of himself and the whole concept of adventure.

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