Rites and Passages

Rites and Passages

The Experience of American Whaling, 1830-1870

Book - 1995
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Baker & Taylor
Reconstructs life aboard a 19th-century whaling ship, taken mainly from the diaries and logbooks of sailors

Book News
A social history of American whaling, drawing on diaries and ship logs to examine the beliefs and behaviors of the men who labored at sea. Reassesses the image of the tyrannical captain, and looks at the relationship the sailors forged with land society, particularly with women. Finds that the seafaring served as a rite of passage into manhood. Nicely illustrated with contemporary drawings and scrimshaw. Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or.

Cambridge Univ Pr
Traditional accounts of whaling celebrate exotic locales and dangerous exploits but shed little light on the lives of the men who went to sea. Rites and Passages places sailors at the center of a social history of whaling and explores the ways in which the history of the sea and the history of the shore have intersected. Drawing on the evidence of ship logs and sailors' letters and journals, Margaret S. Creighton examines American whalemen during the industry's peak--the mid-nineteenth century--and argues that whaling life and culture were shaped by both the American mainland and by the exigencies of ocean life. Unlike other accounts of seafaring, this work brings gender into the maritime equation, not only with a discussion of the ways that women figured in this male-dominated world, but also with an examination of the ways that seafaring served as a rite of passage into manhood. Professor of History at Bates College, Margaret Creighton is the author of Dogwatch and Liberty Days: Seafaring Life in the 19th Century and co-editor of Iron Men and Wooden Women: Gender and Maritime History. She has been guest curator at The Peabody Museum of Salem and the U.S.S. Constitution Museum of Boston.
Uses the personal testimony of over 200 American whalemen to illuminate the social history of deepwater sailing in the mid-1800s.

Publisher: Cambridge [England] ; New York, NY, USA : Cambridge University Press, 1995
ISBN: 0521433363 (hardback)
Branch Call Number: 305.3363 CRE
Characteristics: xiv, 233 p. : ill. ; 24 cm

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