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The Nagle Journal: A Diary of the Life of Jacob Nagle, Sailor, from the Year 1775 to 1841 Hardcover – November 1, 1988
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The editors did a painstaking job of researching and clarifying references to things foreign to our modern minds. What can be more powerful than a firsthand account.
Having obtained a manuscript of a sailor's journal (which appeared to be the genuine article) in a fortuitous proxy bid at an auction, Mr. Dann has to assure himself and his publishers that it really is what it purports to be, prior to publication. Thus follows an account of the detective work done to validate the journal. The investigation leads through the US fiscal, military and naval archives, via the UK records, to Australia - all of which confirm the accuracy of the journal's dates, if not the content. However, there seems no reason to disbelieve the story, other than the tallness of the tale - but as we all know, the truth is often stranger than fiction ...
The transcript of the journal follows - miss-spellings, quaint phraseology, enigmatic punctuation and all (although thankfully some apposite corrections have been made). Each chapter is prefaced by an introduction which puts the following journal entries into historical context, provides background information and also explains terms which may not be familiar to the lay reader. Comprehensive notes elaborate on salient points and provide corroboration of Nagle's text.
The journal itself is unique in that it traces the daily life of the common seaman, rather than that of the movers and shakers of the time (there is a later journal by John Nichol which is far cruder and carries much less detail); this is a record of Jack Tar at work and at play, on land and at sea, at home and away - something that is very rare and should be treasured for the information it holds.
A must for every nautical historian's bookshelf.
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