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Description - The Tragic History of the Sea by C. R. Boxer

An expert on perils of the high seas, British native Boxer (1904-2000) translated the Portuguese collection of accounts, originally published as pamphlets, The Tragic History of the Sea 1589-1622 in 1959 and Further Selections from the Tragic History of the Sea 1599-1565 in 1968. They were published

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780816638901
ISBN-10: 081663890X
Format: Paperback
(136mm x 216mm x 30mm)
Pages: 528
Imprint: University of Minnesota Press
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
Publish Date: 1-Jul-2001
Country of Publication: United States

Book Reviews - The Tragic History of the Sea by C. R. Boxer

UK Kirkus Review » In the 16th and 17th centuries, the round voyage between Lisbon and Goa, the Carreira da India, was a perilous but lucrative highway of Portugals maritime empire. Ships returning from the east laden with cargo were wrecked with such frequency that a literary fashion for shipwreck narratives developed in the form of popular, cheaply printed pamphlets that reproduced in stark detail the tragedy and horrors suffered by the poor crews of these vessels. This book collects together both editions of C R Boxers long out-of-print translations of these pamphlets. Something of an adventurer himself, with a colourful 23-year military career in the Far East, Boxer has also written a spirited and accessible introduction drawn from the lifetime of research he has brought to bear on the subject. As accounts of the most extreme human drama they retain the power to grip the imagination of the modern reader as much as they did their original audience. Storms literally rip ships apart, casting the survivors onto the unexplored African coast with no option but to attempt to walk hundreds of miles to the nearest Portuguese trading post through inhospitable terrain and often hostile native tribes. During these epic journeys of endurance they experience bravery, greed, cowardice, kindness, betrayal, tragic death and unexpected salvation. Sheer drama aside, the stories represent very valuable historical source material offering first-hand insights into the prosecution of early modern imperialism, what was endured to achieve empire and what was inflicted on others in its pursuit. From another perspective they also offer the first literary reports of the African peoples of Natal and Mozambique that the castaways encountered during a period of southwards expansion by the Bantu. With over 600 pages recounting the most appalling tragedy imaginable, often provoked as much by human greed and cruelty as the forces of nature, this makes for intense and fascinating reading. (Kirkus UK)


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