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Airborne: A Sentimental Journey


Description for AIRBORNE: A SENTIMENTAL JOURNEY by William F Buckley, Jr.:

AIRBORNE is how William F Buckley, Jr., describes his sail across the wide Atlantic with his son and five friends. The trip, for fifteen years a dream, for fifteen months a planned operation, was always a rise: one doesn't set out haphazardly in a small sailboat across 4,400 miles of ocean, and Buckley's account of perils of the sea as experienced by himself since he acquired his first sailboat at age thirteen is at once graphic, instructive, and terrifying. But, we learn quickly, the concern is mostly for the prospect of thirty days and thirty nights away from the cosmopolitan jungle to which he and his friends are accustomed; their lair, so to speak. But it happened: not withstanding vicissitudes amusing, annoying, and even dangerous, suddenly the schooner, and the entire trip, were airborne, and the experience resulted in a fusion of hopes, fears, ambitions, and pleasures that lifts the book from the category of mere chronicles of the sea, into a chronicle of our time, a passage of the spirit. "AIRBORNE is a book about sailing," Barnaby Conrad writes, "the way MOBY DICK is a book about whaling."

The reader will experience the special jubilance of fair-weather sailing as Cyrano slices through the seas propelled by 2,700 feet of sail. And the fear of a storm, with 60-knot winds and seas cresting at thirty feet, in a small boat five miles of water up from the ocean bed: hove to, in an eerie standoff with the wind. There are chapters recalling, with shrewdness, wit, and exuberance, great moments in one man's career with boats. One chapter tells with incomparable lucidity exactly how you can navigate celestially, without any foreknowledge of any kind. The author teases the authorities of the racing community, teases some of the traditions of the establishmentarians; but mostly he is merciless about himself, candid about his shortcomings as a captain, navigator, and den-father; eloquent, indeed hilarious, as a portraitist of his companions at sea.

Through the device of journals, he weaves three narratives, the most striking by his son and son's friend, in the course of which a relationship between father and son is limned; elusive, affectionate, mutually respectful, touched with irony, and gentility. The photographs are by his son Christopher Buckley.

AIRBORNE takes you into a world described by Buckley in mid_Atlantic in a log entry on relieving the night watch. "The ocean and the sky and the night are suddenly alive, your friends and your enemies, but no longer workaday abstractions. It is most surely another world and a world worth knowing." This world, and the thrill of being airborne in it, are the achievement of this book.


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Condition: Used - Good, dust jacket is very worn and the edges are tanned and or dirty. Inside is free of writing or marks but pages are lightly tanned. Very good on inside pages.
ISBN: 0025180401
Shipping Weight: 1lbs
Published: 1976

This product was added to our catalog on Friday 18 April, 2014.

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