Rehbock by Joseph Matkin
At Sea W/ The Scientifics

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When HMS Challenger sailed from Portsmouth in 1872, a young assistant ship's steward, Joseph Matkin, was among the crew. Throughout the three-and-a-half-year voyage, Matkin maintained a journal from which he composed the many letters he sent home to his family in England. In his letters he commented on oceanographic operations, reported on shipboard events of special concern to the crew, and discussed at length the history, geography, and peoples of the many exotic and remote ports at which the ship called on its famous circumnavigation of the globe. The Challenger expedition established the foundations of oceanography and is second only to Darwin's voyage aboard the Beagle for its contributions to nineteenth-century science. The massive quantity of specimens and information acquired was written up in the fifty-volume series of Challenger Reports, and personal accounts were published by officers and scientists. No ocean voyage had ever been so well documented. Yet no account of the seaman's life "below decks" was known to exist until the early 1980s, when two substantial collections of Matkin's letters surfaced. The letters are unique in their perspective and fascinating for their depth and literacy. Matkin, the son of a printer, was well aware of the significance of the voyage and strove to present a learned account in a proper style. His letters convey a wealth of detail about shipboard logistics, the crew's attitudes toward scientific operations, and officer-scientist-crew relations. Unwittingly, Matkin also illuminates himself and the middle-class society of which he was a part. Matkin's letters, published here for the first time, bring freshness and immediacy to this great Victorian scientific enterprise. Philip F. Rehbock has edited and annotated the letters, providing a particularly readable work of travel literature for anyone interested in oceanography, voyaging, maritime social history, and naval affairs.

About Joseph Matkin

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Romance author Jayne Ann Krentz was born in Borrego Springs, California on March 28, 1948. She received a B.A. in history from the University of California at Santa Cruz and a Masters degree in library science from San Jose State University. Before becoming a full-time author, she worked as a librarian. Her novels include: Truth or Dare, All Night Long, and Copper Beach. She has written under seven different names: Jayne Bentley, Amanda Glass, Stephanie James, Jayne Taylor, Jayne Castle, Amanda Quick and Jayne Ann Krentz. Her first book, Gentle Pirate, was published in 1980 under the name Jayne Castle. She currently uses only three personas to represent her three specialties. She uses the name Jayne Ann Krentz for her contemporary pieces, Amanda Quick for her historical fiction pieces, and Jayne Castle for her futuristic pieces. She has received numerous awards for her work including the 1995 Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award for Trust Me, the 2004 Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award for Falling Awake, the Romantic Times Career Achievement Award, the Romantic Times Jane Austen Award, and the Susan Koppelman Award for Feminist Studies for Dangerous Men and Adventurous Women: Romance Writers on the Appeal of the Romance.
Published March 1, 1993 by University of Hawaii Press. 424 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Nature & Wildlife, Travel, Science & Math. Non-fiction

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Historians and buffs of nautical yarns will welcome this collection of 69 recently discovered letters penned by a literate, observant crew member of the British oceanography survey vessel Challenger, which traveled the waters of the globe from 1872 to 1876.

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