The Voyage of the Rose City: An Adventure at Sea

John Moynihan. Spiegel & Grau, $22 (242p) ISBN 978-0-8129-8243-5
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Home on spring break from Wesleyan College in 1980, Moynihan declared to his parents—the late senator Patrick Moynihan and his wife, Elizabeth, who lovingly shepherded her son’s book into print—that he was planning to join the Merchant Marines for the summer; at the end of the spring semester, he’s standing in line at the Seafarers’ International Union to get his papers as an Ordinary Seaman, shipping out on a Merchant Marine ship the next day. From the moment of his induction through the challenging and revealing days and nights at sea aboard the SS Rose, he kept a journal of his daily life, his sometimes frightening dreams, and his reflections on the meaning of life. Entries from his journal are woven through the narrative that is as listless as the sea in calm weather. When his shipmates discover that his father’s connections helped him to his position on the ship (thereby taking away an opportunity from the seaman next in line for the job ticket), they give him the cold shoulder. He feels alone and trapped with no friends, and many of his shipmates go out of their way to remind him that he is not one of them. Moynihan finds solace in the beauty of the sea, in the occasional marijuana joint, and in books, and he achieves his dream of sailing part of the way around the world during the 103-day voyage. Moynihan died in 2004, the result of a reaction to acetaminophen. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 09/26/2011
Release date: 10/01/2011
Hardcover - 151 pages - 978-0-679-64381-4
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