In 1879 Fanny Osbourne telegraphed Robert Louis Stevenson in Edinburgh, begging him to join her in San Francisco. So the penniless young writer boarded an emigrant ship in the Clyde for the long voyage across the Atlantic.
A shrewd and sympathetic observer of his fellow passengers, he describes with clarity and precision the conditions in steerage and then on the trains that took them across the United States. The result is the best account of the great European adventure of the 19th century--the passsage to the New World.
As Jonathan Raban remarks, "It is the best book he ever wrote--a marvelous piece of writing, lakelike in its lucidity and depth, a genuine original."
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894) was born in Scotland. Despite his frequent illnesses, he wrote memorable fiction and nonfiction. He was admired by many authors, and G.K Chesterton said he, “seemed to pick the right word up on the point of his pen.” His most famous works are Treasure Island, Kidnapped, and the Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.