The Cruise of the Arctic Star

The Cruise of the Arctic Star

By: Scott O'Dell
Published by: Houghton Mifflin Company
Publication Date: 1973

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Where else could one find, all in one volume, a breath-taking undersea battle with a giant spiny lobster, dramatic tales of the war with Mexico (including the grim history of Starvation Peak), a heartfelt denunciation of the recent slaughter of the otters, and the praise of a woman so beautiful that Sprint Street in Los Angeles was named for her? Where else but in this unique creation of Scott O'Dell's.

On the face of it the book is a lively description of a highly unusual voyage up the length of the California coast, made by the author, his wife Elizabeth (the infallible navigator), and two men. There are tense moments when he fuel line clogs in a heavy sea, moments of quiet beauty, boyhood reminiscences and the excitement of deep-sea fishing, and always, underneath, the nagging doubts about Rod, young, flippant, stalked by disaster, who is captain for the cruise.

Most authors would have been content with this, but in the deft hands of Scott O'Dell the voyage becomes much more. It functions with equal ease as a delightfully informal history of the California coast from San Diego to the Columbia River. Juan Rodriquez Cabrillo, Father Junipero Serra, Jed Smith, Kit Carson, Lean John—all these and many more are brought vividly to life by the author's storytelling powers.

But essentially this volume refuses categorization. It is a potpourri, generous indeed, of spellbinding stories from the past and present, spiced with a wealth of information on subjects ecological, historical, nautical, and personal. A highly original and very individual sort of book. 

From the dust jacket

The Cruise of the Arctic Star Reprint

The Cruise of the Arctic Star        
Reprinted in 2008 by Beautiful Feet Books
Available formats: Paperback
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