Written in the first person and deals mainly with the harshness of life before the mast. It dwells on flogging and other cruelties in 2 navies the British and American. He carries on about religion throughout. It covers very little of the other aspects of naval life. It does cover some real historical events. There is a description of one battle which is well portrayed. The final chapters cover his life after leaving the sea. Not an easy read, but then it is a book in the style of its time. It does reflect the aspects of life as it was. It is autobiographical.