Tristan Jones


For many years Tristan Jones was a hero of mine. I recognized that, as a natural storyteller, he was probably stretching the truth a bit here and there. That's part of the art of storytelling, and the reader should expect it, and I nevertheless enjoyed his books immensely. Recently I picked up "Wayward Sailor" by Anthony Dalton. While I respect the work he has done in assembling the book, I wish that I had never heard of it. He has effectively demolished my mental picture of Tristan Jones, adventurer, free spirit and seaman. While nothing can take away Jones' real voyages and adventures, it's sad to find that much of what I have read never happened.

>>By Tony Fairbridge   (Saturday, 5 Jul 2003 18:15)

If the life of Tristan Jones is a myth, then why spoil it?
Leave the reader with their own impression of Tristan
Jones. Don't take away the delight the reader gets from
EVERY Tristan Jones book.
We all need our dreams more than we need reality.

>>By Helena   (Sunday, 13 Jul 2003 21:17)

While anthonys book is a good read, don't make the mistake of assuming it must all be true.
see the Tristan Jones website and discussion board for more information.

>>By Viewer   (Wednesday, 14 Jan 2004 14:27)

Hi Tony, just caught up with this site recently. yes I too was once a fan of Tristan Jones and have read Dalton's biography. Most of the comments about Dalton's book on all the major book sites acknowledge that not only is Dalton a great adventurer in his own right, but that he has produced an authentic account of Tristan's real life, with the material that was available at the time. yes there will of course still be gaps, but Dalton has exposed Tristan more than anyone has been able to. Even some of 'Tristan's colleagues and friends who have seen the dark side of Tristan have chosen not to speak out.

I would also echo viewers suggestion and visit and join in the lively debate about Tristan. without spoiling the fun too much there seems to be two opposing camps. One group, the larger one, who say well so what if tristan lied and embellished the books are still good, and we think he was a rather likeable rougue!

the other camp feels a bit like you. Disappointed and let down. Yes he sailed, yes the books are exciting and well written. But for our camp the cardinal sin that Tristan committed was to lie all of his writing life about the authenticity of his books. he said they were true accounts of his life. He called them his autp-biographies. he simply lied, not once but everytime he wrote a book!

He also claimed that he was doing such a lot of handicapped people. There has not been one shred of evidence produced as yet that shows this is the case. In fact the funds that were attracted to his society Atlantis, all went into his own pocket to keep him afloat.

When we make icons out of people, we find it difficult to demolish them sometimes, and would rather leave them standing!

well Helena, the bubble has been burst, the myth has been exposed and now unfortunately there is no turning back. The die has been cast. Dalton has made his case. If anyone wants to challenge him authentically and not just with empty criticism, then they will need to do a lot of research themselves!

>>By cappie   (Friday, 6 Feb 2004 04:47)

I find it very interesting how that one writing by Dalton can nullify twelve books by Tristan Jones. As well as the fact that Daltons one book went soully about defying Tristans writings. The most interesting part of it is that Dalton has more to lose by lieing about his book then Tristan had of any of his.

>>By Billy Pilgrim   (Sunday, 29 Feb 2004 09:25)

It's quite simply Billy. Anthony Dalton spent several years (not sure the exact number) travelling around the world and tracing Tristan's life. He was also given access to Tristan's log books. With these and other facts he gleaned he was able to cross check 'factual' information that Tristan had given in his books with the real thing. And guess what they didn't match!

Daulton's book did defy Tristan's books because of his meticulous research. It would not have matter whether there were 200 books - I think he would have come to the same conclusion, but just taken longer.

Your last paragraph is a bit of a puzzle. I personally believe that Tristan had a lot more to lose than Anthony. He had his whole reputation not only as a writer but a sailor. What a laughing stock he would have been if he had said ' I am a lone sailor and will write books about my travels but they will largely be fiction'. I don't somehow think he would have sold too many.

And do remember - Anthony Dalton will I think still claim he is a fan of Tristan's but (and this is the mark of an honest man for me with nothing to hide). Despite being a fan he decided that the truth that was begining to stare him in the face, had to be told. Anthony will not I believe make as much money out of his book as Tristan did from his. So he spent a lot of time and money knowing that it would never be a best seller.

Some of Tristan's 'stories' hurt people and belittled the bravery of people he said he sailed with and never did. Tristan's modus operandi was simply "ME;ME;ME.

>>By cappie   (Sunday, 14 Mar 2004 04:40)

why believe someone who spent his time to disprove another who did nothing to hurt the in his writings. It may have been one thing if Tristan was alive when the book was published but its just cowardice to discredit a dead man who never caused any harm to you. I have never heard of anyone being hurt by Tristans Books and many times in his books has he talked about his mistakes and things he has done wrong. I cannot believe someone who has no reason to discredit someone and does it anyway.

>>By Billy Pilgrim   (Monday, 15 Mar 2004 00:20)

Hi agin billy - may I ask if you have read Anthony's book? you see Anthony started off as a devoted fan of Tristan's wanting to write a biography about a hero of his. If you read the introduction to his book, he explains this. So he was somewhat dismayed and disturbed to find his research was uncovering untruths. Of course at this point he could have stopped and said "let sleeping dogs lie" , but as is the need for the writer he must have felt compelled to continue. As for 'never hurting anyone' - Tristan describes in his book Heart of Oak - fighting alongside brave sailors in the second world war - he never did according to Dalton's research - I feel that that discredited the good name of the British sailor.

He also dealt very crudely with his best mate's mother, after Thomas died in Thailand. I feel sure she was very hurt by, one, how Tristan treated her, and two, the 'lies' that Dalton suggests he told about the death of Thomas. Do remember that Thomas was the only son of a grieving mother.

I cannot imagine that you have read all of the accounts of people who met Tristan on the Tristan Jones website. He was very aggressive to some and cheated them out of selling boats. And these accounts certainly describe people who were deeply hurt by Tristan. I would suggest having a look at the website and reading all of the accounts. it might throw a differently light on things. There are people quoted on that website who knew Tristan personally at different times in his life and described him as being thoroughly rude and obnoxious and undoubtedly hurtful to people

>>By cappie   (Wednesday, 17 Mar 2004 00:06)

i have read the book, the books, and the accounts and whether these poeple were hurt by anything Tristan did I have to say that for one i have never met someone in my life that has offended none no matter how hard they try. I also find it interesting that someone who felt bad over an event with a single person would write about being hurt on the internet years after Tristan's death. What kind of person can't get over an event that happened years ago and still feels greif of some form after the death of the accoster. What reason does one have to post on a website about an event that they felt hurt over several years ago after the death of the person that hurt them?

>>By Billy Pilgrim   (Wednesday, 17 Mar 2004 06:18)

the difference is billy, Tristan offended people everyday of his life. He wasn't just an ocassional offender, he was an habitual offended, it was a hobby of his, particularly when he was drunk which was often. he also offended those readers that took his word that his stories where true.

As you are not a mother billy and never will be, perhaps you will never truly understand the grief of a mother who looses her only son due to murder whilst being befriended by Tristan. And who throughout the mothers ordeal was rude and cold to her. Well that's if you believe Dalton's account and the account that the lad's mother gave to Dalton.

but maybe you can't believe anything 'bad' about tristan?

>>By cappie   (Wednesday, 24 Mar 2004 08:02)

I can believe bad things about tristan but i wont take the word of Dalton over anything else. He rewrote history with his book and whether his is more accurate then Tristans its still far off from what a good defination is and untill there is one id rather listen to tristan then dalton

>>By Billy Pilgrim   (Thursday, 25 Mar 2004 00:02)

goodbye billy!! - I must head off to the land of "open minds"

>>By cappie   (Thursday, 25 Mar 2004 11:23)

lol my minds open but i wont fill it with anything that floats my way without good reason and untill i get something more relevent Im not going to praise Dalton and curse out Tristan. the man has been dead for years now and whether his books are accurate or not they are still good so no reason to banish them.

>>By Billy Pilgrim   (Thursday, 25 Mar 2004 23:58)

I've got a feeling that Tristan has become yesterday's news as the journos say!

the devoted website to the man is dead, no one wants to discuss him anymore and a recent posting about him on recboats recieved one response only whilst five years ago he was hot debate.

he came; he saw and he thought he conquered and then he fizzled out!

may he rest in davey jones locker and be good fodder for the crabs

>>By cappie   (Wednesday, 5 May 2004 06:27)

The discussion board is currently closed.