Cradle of the Deep
The Grand Adventures of Joan Lowell that Were Not Quite True
The bestselling book that became a scandal!
In 1923, Joan Lowell was an aspiring writer and rising silent film star in Hollywood. She published her autobiography in 1929: a rip-roaring memoir of a young girl growing up on a schooner with her hearty sea captain father and a crew of salty sailors and the incredible and death-defying adventures she had traveling the world. People loved the thrilling adventures of young Joan. The book was a runaway best-seller in 1929 with over 100,000 copies sold in under three months.
Except…none of the story was true! The truth was revealed a few months after publication—Joan had never sailed beyond the California shores.
Amidst the scandal, Joan remained defiant, telling the Pittsburgh Press in 1930, “Eighty percent of it was true and the rest I colored up. I made some changes to protect people and the rest to make it better reading. That’s an author’s privilege.”
This edition features archival photos and press clippings and a short biography of Joan Lowell and her infamous book.
Joan Lowell was born in 1902 in Berkeley, California as Helen Wagner to a middle-class family. Yes, her father was a Pacific Ocean merchant schooner captain. And yes, he took Joan—and her mother—on a 15-month sailing adventure when she was a girl. Aside from her film career, Joan Lowell worked as a tabloid reporter and continued to write books—including Reporter Gal (1933) and Promised Land (1952). In addition to writing, she ran a large coffee plantation in Brazil from 1936 until her death in 1967.