'Most books of voyages say in their prefaces that they intend to be useful ... they hardly ever speak of giving entertainment.
The intention of this book is quite different; its first aim is to give the reader pleasure. It makes no claim to being a scholarly work, and it has no didactic purpose. If the reader draws instruction or edification from it as well as pleasure that is his own affair, and beside the bargain.'
--Patrick O'Brian, Foreword to A Book of Voyages
This anthology presents writings by various travellers, annotated and introduced by Patrick O'Brian, which are glimpses of a world that few readers would ever see for themselves.