ISBN: 1574090488
ISBN 13: 9781574090482
By: Sterling Hayden

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Reader's Thoughts


I first read this book in high school and it altered my life for the better in more ways than I can count. No, I never bought a schooner and sailed the South Seas. But I did become a writer, and a self-examining and (I hope) more honest one as a result of reading this book. But beyond that is the magic of a life adventurously lived and splendidly told. I have read Wanderer more times than I can count, and each time I am left in awe at Hayden's brutal and ferocious honesty about himself and at his magnificent way with words. It is my favorite book. I hope to read it again several times.


Sterling Hayden is an exremely interesting character - sailor, adventurer, seaman, actor, patriot, communist, writer, and more. It's hard to know if he was ever really happy, but he certainly led a full life.

Jeff Hodge

One of the most rewarding biographies I have ever read. A story of a man in the process of conquering himself.


Though I am loathe to do so, I must put this book in the stasis hold until further notice. It's not that's it's bad necessarily, it's just not grabbing my attention enough and thus it's taking me months to finish. It is also due at the library. There are other books I need to read of a more seasonal necessity, other shores to conquer and I cannot be slowed down by dead weight. I think Sterling Hayden would agree with me.PS: I liked the parts in Woonsocket and Providence involving the queer parties.

Katherine Leppek

Best book all time for those dreaming to escape on an around the world sea adventure. True story too.

David Shalleck

This is an outstanding memoir. True, honest, up front... perfectly salty and a bit rough but that's part of the allure since it gets into the persona of the author. Better yet, here is a story about Mr. Hayden and Wanderer: Years ago, I was given a short passage (page 24) from this book. It speaks to not going through life saying/feeling "I wish I could..." and not looking back in life with "could have, would have, should have." It starts with, "Little has been said or written about the ways a man may blast himself free." At that time, I was fixing on going on a sojourn abroad and this passage pretty much pushed me to pursue my idea. So I left. What I thought was going to be six or eight months turned into five years. I went to France. Then to Italy. During the summers I was the chef on a private yacht for an Italian family. Years after my return, I finally decided to read Wanderer. One night, after one of those "I don't want to do this anymore" work days, I was reading a chapter that's deep into the story... only to learn Mr. Hayden, sixty-five years earlier- was the original captain on the exact yacht I worked on! If that wasn't a testiment for "glad I did it" with a full-circle conclusion I'd be hard pressed to argue the point. Read this book.


As a 20 yr. old I was smitten by Hayden, his book and the sea. I wanted to sail away with him from Sausalito. Later met someone who did. He was fleeing his wife.......


Poor actor: avoiding responsibility, he has to spend his time traveling the world on his boat.


steer, g-ddamn it, steer


Great read, as I love true stories. Autobiography of a man who was a fisherman, sailor, Hollywood actor, soldier, sometimes Communist, and dreamer, confident but acutely aware of his own shortfalls. Doesn't offer any answers to the 'big questions', but provides an account of his personal strugle with them.

Erich Scholz

I really like watching Sterling Hayden act. I even rented his last movie, Venom (1982)...haven't watched it yet but the cast is pretty kick-ass: Hayden, Klaus Kinski, Oliver Reed, Susan George, Nicol Williamson, Michael Gough...

R.M. DAmato

If you like the sea--old-style navigating and sailing--and you are searching for a place in this world, then this book if for you. It is a wonderful journey into the sources of our modern anxieties and angst.Hayden makes a great personal argument of how modern civilization uncivilized humanity--a more modern perspective than Rousseau's noble savage. His book definitely stands on the noble shoulders of Melville's Moby Dick and Dana's Before the Mast."But we are brainwashed by our economic system until we end up in a tomb beneath a pyramid of time payments, mortgages, preposterous gadgetry, playthings that divert our attention for the sheer idiocy of the charade. The years thunder by, The dreams of youth grow dim where they lie caked in dust on the shelves of patience. Before we know it, the tomb is sealed."


Just started

Wendy J

This is a sprawling and at times brilliant and at times maddening autobiography. Sterling Hayden is truly one of a kind. Recommended for all, especially those traveling for something may not know they're actually searching for.


One of the most interesting people you are ever likely to read about. Hayden led a life more varied than any 10 people. His love of the sea pervades the book throughout even while he is doing completely different jobs the sea is not far away in his mind. An excellent, engrossing book.

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