The Life and Adventures of John Nicol, Mariner
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The Life and Adventures of John Nicol, Mariner

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Description

The Life and Adventures of John Nicol, Mariner is a recently rediscovered text that vividly renders the unforgettable story of a man whom history had nearly forgotten. In his many voyages, the Scottish-born sailor John Nicol twice circumnavigated the globe, visiting every inhabited continent. He participated in many of the greatest events of exploration and adventure in the 18th century. He battled pirates, traded with Native Americans and fought for the British navy in the American and French Revolutions; he also travelled on the first female convict ship to Australia, was entertained in Hawaii by the king's court days after the murder of Captain James Cook, and witnessed the horrors of the slave system in Jamaica. Above all, this is a riveting memoir of an ordinary man's extraordinary life, told with an honesty and humility that is beguiling.

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Product details

  • Paperback | 208 pages
  • 127 x 195.58 x 15.24mm | 158.76g
  • Canongate Books Ltd
  • Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • New edition
  • Main
  • map, port.
  • 1841950912
  • 9781841950914
  • 276,511

About John Nicol

Tim Flannery is a celebrated Australian mammalogist, palaeontologist and global warming activist. Flannery was named Australian of the Year in 2007 and is presently an adjunct professor at Macquarie University. He edited and introduced Canongate's internationally acclaimed edition of an eighteenth-century sailor's account of circumnavigating the globe (twice!), The Life and Adventures of John Nicol, Mariner, published in 2000.

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Review quote

* fascination reading. Historical Novels Review * Nicol's simply told yet evocative observations are full of humanity...His power of recollection is remarkable. Daily Telegraph * A knockout ... Nicol is a sunny, charming, highly observant guide and a first-rate story-teller. Sunday Herald * a good read for anyone interested in life at sea in a different age Yachting Monthly * A remarkable record of our modern world in embryo. -- Tim Flannery, explorer, scientist and author of HERE ON EARTH Geographical

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Review Text

The unaffected remembrances of an 18th-century mariner, eerie in their ability to make readers feel contiguous with the events, edited by Flannery (Throwim Way Leg, 1998, etc.). This is a remarkable memoir in that its author was neither famous nor infamous but a Common Joe who happened to attract the attention of a publisher interested in the lives of adventurers, to whom Nicol told his story. He was a sailor, though not, as Flannery puts it, "of the rum, sodomy, and lash school." He was a ship's cooper and candlemaker, intimate with the below-decks world of slaves, convicts, and Chinese barbers. With a solid reputation and a widely appreciated touch for brewing spruce beer, Nicol was routinely requested to join voyages, managing to twice circumnavigate the world, engage in trade and discovery and strife, find a wife and then lose her as he fled the press gangs. Nicol had an eye and an ear for the background music of the everyday, of language (though surely tidied by Flannery for today's readers), and catches of verse and song or the work chant of West Indian slaves: "Work away, body, bo / Work aa, jollaa." Equally appealing are his responses to wild landscapes - he doesn't bother with the heroic, as in this on Greenland: "Desolation reigns around: nothing but snow, or bare rocks and ice. The cold is so intense and the weather often so thick. I feel so cheerless." And an immediacy rings in the account, pulling you in. "The natives came on board in crowds and were happy to see us. They recognized Portlock and others who had been on the island before, along with Cook." That's Hawaii and that's Captain Cook. This memoir has seen two printings in Great Britain, one in 1822 and another in 1937, and it appears here now for the first time, the lucky find of treasure hunters who discovered a gem worth far more than its weight in gold doubloons. (Kirkus Reviews)

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