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Joshua Slocum Biography

(1844–?1909), The Voyage of the Liberdade, The Voyage of the Destroyer

American travel writer, born in Wilmot Township, Nova Scotia; he received an irregular education before going to sea as a cook at the age of 12. A naturalized American citizen, from 1869 onward he was captain of a succession of vessels sailing out of San Francisco. The Voyage of the Liberdade (1890), his first book, describes a shipwreck and the voyage to safety in a boat constructed from salvage. The Voyage of the Destroyer (1894) is an account of his unhappy command of a warship being delivered to Brazil. In 1898 he became the first man to achieve a single-handed circumnavigation of the globe; the enormously successful Sailing Alone around the World (1900), his laconically engaging record of the three years and 46,000 miles the journey covered, was for decades a set text in many British schools. Slocum was never seen again after setting sail for South America in 1909. His life and work were assessed in the 1950s by Walter Teller, who wrote a biographical account, The Search for Captain Slocum (1959), and edited The Voyages of Captain Slocum (1958), which collects Slocum's three books along with various literary fragments.

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Literature Reference: American Literature, English Literature, Classics & Modern FictionEncyclopedia of Literature: Lemn Sissay Biography to Southwold Suffolk