In The Cruise of the Arctic Star, Scott O'Dell takes a voyage up the length of the California coast in his cedar-hulled offshore cruiser named Arctic Star. With his wife, Elizabeth, along as skilled navigator and cook; a friend, Del, as cohort and deckhand; and an unpredictable hired hand named Rodney Lambert, the crew journeys up the coast and experiences first hand the delights and drama of life at sea along this beautiful shoreline.
Along the way, the author relates the colorful narratives of California's past through the stories of men and women like Cabrillo, Viscaino, Junipero Serra, Kate Sessions, Kit Carson, Jedediah Smith, and many more. Drawing from journals of other notable visitors like Richard Henry Dana, Robert Louis Stevenson, and Sir Francis Drake, listeners are given a window into life in California hundreds of years ago.
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Nice Idea, but lacking cohesion and detail
Anyone interested in history or sailing the California coast might enjoy this book as an simple introduction to those interests, but not as an in-depth guide to either.
I would have tied the historical side-trips in closer to the goings-on on the boat and the journey and created some sort of bookend to hold it all together. I would have given the reader more about the other members of the crew, backgrounds, interactions etc so we cared about them more. While giving California great historical and marine background, the author almost completely ignored Oregon and didn't make a single mention of Lewis and Clarke who waited there on the coast hoping for a passing ship after their triumphant journey across the continent. I would have given a great deal more weight to the end of the voyage and some sort of explanation as to what happened at the mouth of the Columbia and to Rodney Lambert's boat. A huge storm and a ship wreck at the end of the book, better dramatized would have felt better. The book would have felt complete. As it is, I'm afraid the book felt like a rough draft that was never fleshed out.
I don't feel that the reader had read the book before he recorded it.
Disappointment that there wasn't more to it. It felt rushed and incomplete.