Cruise of the Nona, The

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By Hilaire Belloc - PB 388 pages

This book was written when Belloc was fifty-five years old, and it is a perfect introduction to the man and his mind. It is a set of mature reflections on sailing the sea, on life, and on all things universal and Catholic. He had lived courageously in the first half of the 2oth century, when all the world was changing irrevocably, and the events of the era were now well-assessed in his maturity.

“Fortunately we have a guidebook to Belloc’s rich and variegated mind in The Cruise of the Nona. In this book which he wrote in a discursive and rare mood of self-revelation, will be found all that was Belloc. Here is the Poet, the Master of Prose, the Controversialist, the Historian, the Philosopher, and the Catholic. In this book too will be found the reflections of all his moods which were as bewildering in their number and rapidity of variation as were the characters he adopted. Both in mood and in character he was kaleidoscopic. Here is Belloc the Satirist, the Epigrammatist, the Loveable Friend, the Boisterous, the Wit, the Remote and Sombre, the Christian Champion, and the Pagan Mystic, the Learned Classicist as well as the gay Word-Juggler.

“It is impossible to write of Belloc without being contradictory and paradoxical, for he himself was both. There were however, two strong threads which were the warp and the woof of the backcloth against which all the many men who were Belloc appeared. These threads were a strong and simple religious faith and a passionate love of truth.” — From the Introduction by Lord Stanley of Alderly

A Note From the Publisher - 2013

Two of the greatest Catholic Americans of the 2oth century and co-founders of the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Fr. Leonard Feeney S. J. (M.I.C.M.) and Br. Francis Maluf, M.I.C.M., both had a great love for the Chester-Belloc but each had his particular favorite. Br. Francis, the philosopher, tended to prefer Chesterton, while the fighting Irish soul of Father Feeney slightly preferred Belloc. I must admit tending to Father’s side on this issue and have therefore decided to re-publish some of the forgotten classics of Belloc, beginning with his Cruise of the Nona which I first read as a young man at eighteen years of age. This book, read at that age, was a great inspiration to me, and I hope that it will be so also for a new generation of Catholic readers.

Hilaire Belloc
There are plenty of reviews of Belloc's masterpiece, so I will briefly concentrate on this edition. I purchased this directly from the publisher before realizing Amazon offered it . . . Kudos to Loreto Publications for reprinting it in such a helpful and well bound format. It is a joy to read. And even more kudos for reprinting the 1955 introduction by Lord Stanley of Alderly. It is perhaps the best brief introduction to Belloc there is. He touches upon all of Belloc's lifelong themes and helps to make clear Belloc's intents in penning this volume in particular. Loreto promises to reprint several more volumes of Belloc, and we eagerly await their publication. If their format and quality are as high as this one--and they will be, knowing Loreto's quality--having them will be a real treat.
What can I say? Everything Belloc touched turns to magic for me.

This book, however, is the closest the great man ever came to autobiography. Whilst ostensibly, Belloc is recording a sea journey made around the coast of Britain, the occasion gives rise to many memories from his past.

In addition to these reminiscences, the book is also filled with his penetrating analysis of Europe and the world in the 1920s.

Some have found the sailing sections a little slow, with their technical language on the art of boating. I confess to feeling a bit the same.

But the rest more than makes up for it! Belloc's view of the events that were current in his time is always shrewd and penetrating. And if only he had written more autobiography like the fragments given here …

Highly recommended. And although I own an old copy, I am thrilled to see Loreto books are reissuing Belloc and hope their efforts will be given the reward and support they deserve.
How does a man come to know himself and the world? One way is to find an author and a book -- an author, a man both learned in and loyal to the traditions that have formed him, wide-reading, especially in history, far travelling, avid to taste and touch and see, keen in his perceptions, deep in his reflections, and often in a meditative frame of mind that seeks always the heart of the matter and usually finds it; and, then, read the book in which, as if at leisure, sitting before a companionable fire, with a drink in his hand, he shares the best of this: telling a gripping tale and the fruit of all his wisdom. Hilaire Belloc was such a man. The Cruise of the None is such a book. High recommended
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