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The Brendan Voyage (Modern Library Exploration) Paperback – April 4, 2000


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Product Details

  • Series: Modern Library Exploration
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library (April 4, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375755241
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375755248
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (56 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #146,454 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Enthralling!"--The Guardian

"An extraordinary explorer." --The Independent

From the Inside Flap

Could an Irish monk in the sixth century really have sailed all the way across the Atlantic in a small open boat, thus beating Columbus to the New World by almost a thousand years? Relying on the medieval text of St. Brendan, award-winning adventure writer Tim Severin painstakingly researched and built a boat identical to the leather curragh that carried Brendan on his epic voyage. He found a centuries-old, family-run tannery to prepare the ox hides in the medieval way; he undertook an exhaustive search for skilled harness makers (the only people who would know how to stitch the three-quarter-inch-thick hides together); he located one of the last pieces of Irish-grown timber tall enough to make the mainmast. But his courage and resourcefulness were truly tested on the open seas, including one heart-pounding episode when he and his crew repaired a dangerous tear in the leather hull by hanging over the side--their heads sometimes submerged under the freezing waves--to restitch the leather. A modern classic in the tradition of Kon-Tiki, The Brendan Voyage seamlessly blends high adventure and historical relevance. It has been translated into twenty-seven languages since its original publication in 1978.

With a new Introduction by Malachy McCourt, author of A Monk Swimming

More About the Author

TIM SEVERIN has made a career of retracing the storied journeys of mythical and historical figures. He has sailed a leather boat across the Atlantic in the wake of the Irish monk Saint Brendan, captained an Arab sailing ship from Muscat to China, steered the replica of a Bronze Age galley to seek the landfalls of Jason and the Argonauts and Ulysses, ridden the route of the First Crusade from a castle in Belgium to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem, travelled on horseback with the nomads of Mongolia to explore the heritage of Genghis Khan, sailed the Pacific on a bamboo raft to test the theory that ancient Chinese mariners could have travelled to the Americas, retraced the journeys of Alfred Russel Wallace, Victorian pioneer naturalist, through the Spice Islands of Indonesia aboard a native sailing vessel, identified the facts behind the story of Moby Dick the fighting white whale among the native peoples of the Pacific islands, and discovered the origins of the 'real' Robinson Crusoe in the adventures of a castaway stranded 300 years ago on a desert island off the coast of Venezuela.

As a historical novelist he has written the best-selling VIKING and HECTOR LYNCH trilogies. The Book of Dreams, the first volume of his SAXON trilogy was published in August 2012


His travels have been the subject of award winning documentary films and a major BBC documentary series, and are collected under the title TIME TRAVELLER. They have been screened on Discovery Channel, Sky Television, and National Geographic TV, and he has written regularly about his expeditions in the National Geographic Magazine. He has won the Thomas Cook Travel Book award, The Book of the Sea Award, a Christopher Prize, the Sykes Medal of the Society of Asian Affairs, and the literary Medal of the Academie de Marine. His replica boats have become museum exhibits. In l986 he was awarded the Gold Medal (Founder's Medal) of the Royal Geographical Society for his research into early voyages, and in 1987 the Livingstone Medal of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society. In 1996 he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Letters, honoris causa, by Trinity College, Dublin, and in 2003 received an Honorary Doctorate from the National University of Ireland.


He lives in Co. Cork, Ireland.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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See all 56 customer reviews
I had read this book when it originally came out.
Brendan Buschi
Author Tim Severin and his friends built a boat using only techniques and materials available in the sixth-century A.D., when St. Brendan allegedly sailed to America.
Midwest Book Review
The book intersperses an analysis of the original voyage with the trials and tribulations of recreating it.
Sailoil

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 45 people found the following review helpful By J. K. Kelley on November 9, 2000
Format: Paperback
Tim Severin, joined by a small crew of hardy men, set out to test the plausibility of the legend of St. Brendan's voyage from Ireland to Newfoundland. They built and sailed their own leather curragh (a type of Irish boat design), and this is the story of both the construction and the voyage.
The unique value of this book is in its equal appeal to a wide variety of readers. If you enjoy the intricacies of craftsmanship using leather, wood and grease; if you like great adventure travel; if you tire of hearing ancient legends cavalierly dismissed and would like to see one defended; if you love seafaring tales; if you love and/or trace lineage to Ireland; this book is for you. Severin is a self-effacingly enjoyable storyteller one can't help but like--and, apparently, one heck of a captain.
Based upon this book I now plan to read my way through Severin's complete works. This is that rare book in which tremendous accomplishment and great storytelling have the wind on their quarter.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Scott Paul on June 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
Here is a book about a group of adventurers who recreate an infamous journey, just to see if it is possible. St. Brendan is, in legend and myth, thought to have crossed the atlantic ocean centuries before the Vikings and Columbus. He did this in a boat made of oxen hide or LEATHER. A leather boat crossing the atlantic ocean, most researchers (and sailors) would say it is impossible and could not be done. These men recreate the voyage using technology that was available at the time. The builders of the modern-day-ship Brendan, are true to their craft. They build their craft using medival techniques and materials. In the Traditon of "Kon-tiki" and "Dove", this book tells the story of how they built it and sailed it across the atlantic. If you like History and those who re-enact it this is the book for you.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Michael J. Muller on August 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
Tim Severin had meticulously worked to make sure that the leather skinned boat was made for all intents and purposes identical to the 'mythological' boat in which St. Brendan and the Irish monks crossed the North Atlantic centuries before the Vikings. He proved it could be done. This book however is not about what was accomplished but how and why. As Homer so aptly proved in his Iliad "...it's not the destination but rather the story of the journey." Adventure readers will not be disappointed by this book. A very rewarding reading experience.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By John Anderson on March 14, 2003
Format: Paperback
This is a delightful, fast read about a remarkable adventure -and a remarkable set of adventurers. I had this book sitting on my "to be read" pile for months, then I picked it up, and, well, there went the next 3 hours....Severin has written a real page turner about his attempt to re-create the hypothetical voyage to the New World by an early Irish monk in an ox-hide boat. While Severin's success does not prove the legend, the modern story alone is worth the price of admission, and his discussion of boat-building techniques & the trials and pitfalls that his team overcame make for a great book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 2, 2002
Format: Paperback
Did Irish monks cross the Atlantic and reach North America long before the Vikings and Columbus? After reading this book you will cetainly believe that it is plausible. According to the Navigatio Sancti Brendani Abbatis (The Voyage of Saint Brendan the Abbot), an ancient Latin manuscript, indeed the Irish set foot on the Promise Land long before Columbus. To prove this point Severin takes us on a voyage. But not just your weekend trip to the state park. With meticulous detail, Severin- and many others- reconstruct the same sailing craft described in the ancient text, a leather boat, and sail it to Newfoundland. The Brendan Voyage describes how this idea came to be, how the boat was ultimately constructed, and the ordeals the team faced sailing across the Atlantic ocean. Imagine yourself and three others hunkered down in a leather sail boat in between Iceland and Greenland. You have a 1/4" of protection between you and the frigid water beneath. Eight foot waves and 50 mph winds are crashing around you. Your tired, cold, wet, hungry, and you desperately want to make some forward progress, but instead your losing ground. I can't do Severin's writing justice but he made me feel like I was there. I'll stop my babbling now. In a nut shell, if your looking for a great adventure story that is calculated and honest, then give this book a whirl. I am a fan of Severin's writing and adventures now and will certainly purschase his further works. Nice job Mr. Severin. By the way, where is Brendan now? Is she on display anywhere?
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By "maureen324" on May 29, 2001
Format: Paperback
I couldn't put this book down. I've been fascinated for years by the legendary stories of the voyage of Saint Brendan - and Severin's brave re-construction of that journey is legendary in and of itself.
It's a thrilling ride - the building of the ship itself was nothing less than a miracle - and the journey - well, you'll just have to read it for yourself. A truly gripping story.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 28, 1998
Format: Hardcover
High adventure with historical relevance.
Tim Sevrin, adventurer extraordinare, leads the reader on a dual voyage across the north Atlantic as well as through time to the medieval days of St. Brendan. Could the Irish have been to North America before the Vikings? The author sets out to prove that yes, it was possible. Using the collected works of the Navigato Sancti Brendani Abbatis, Tim sets out to reconstruct the currach (leather covered boat) used by St. Brendan on his epic voyage. The narrative of this book flows nicely, and is skillfully interwoven with informative historical documentation. THE BRENDAN VOYAGE is easy to start reading and not lay down until you have savored the... very... last... sentence.
I've read this book many times over the years and it's definitely a keeper!!!
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