Auckland Island is a godforsaken place in the middle of the Southern Ocean, 285 miles south of New Zealand. With year-round freezing rain and howling winds, it is one of the most forbidding places in the world. To be shipwrecked there means almost certain death.
In 1864, Captain Thomas Musgrave and his crew of four aboard the schooner Grafton wreck on the southern end of the island. Utterly alone in a dense coastal forest, plagued by stinging blowflies and relentless rain, Captain Musgrave inspires his men to take action. With barely more than their bare hands, they build a cabin and, remarkably, a forge where they manufacture their tools.
Incredibly, at the same time on the opposite end of the island, the Invercauld wrecks during a horrible storm. Nineteen men stagger ashore. Unlike Captain Musgrave, the captain of the Invercauld falls apart given the same dismal circumstances. His men fight and split up; some die of starvation, others turn to cannibalism. Only three survive. Musgrave and all of his men not only endure for nearly two years, but they also plan their own astonishing escape, setting off on one of the most courageous sea voyages in history.
©2007 Joan Druett (P)2016 Tantor
"The amount of detail Druett has amassed is truly impressive, resulting in an invaluable account of survival." (Booklist)
This true story, in a perfect example of how fact is stranger than fiction, is a breathtaking journey of perseverance, leadership, strength, and camaraderie. Two parties of sailors are shipwrecked at practically the same time in the foreboding and hopelessly remote Auckland Islands. It is 1863. One group is led by a gifted ships captain and talented first mate; the other cast of wayward souls, just 20 miles away, is essentially abandoned by a weak minded, class-focused fool and his equally shiftless second in command. What unfolds is perhaps one of the greatest lessons ever told on the importance of leadership and teamwork. A master of mental imagery, Joan Druett allows the heroes and villains of this unbelievable story to tell their tales in their own words, using her own wonderful, poetic prose to transport the reader to this island chain of cold and hardship. This is a must read for anyone needing to check out of the modern rat race and feel, see, and hear what really matters most in the world--each other.
A wonderful story of survival and ingenuity. The narration performance was a little distracting at first and turned me off initially, but I gradually got used to the reader.
This is another book that I simply cannot bring myself to finish. I enjoy true life historical books and after reading all of the reviews I thought this would be one worth listening to. Oh boy, was I wrong.
This book reads like a bullet pointed syllabus not a life and death struggle for survival. The writing and the narration are one-dimensional. While I assume the events are factual the storytelling is tedious. The author recounts similar incidents, with slight variation, over and over again; they hunted a seal, they killed a seal, they ate a seal. So on and so forth ad nauseam.
Simply put, this book is just plain boring and I’m convinced it’s a combination of the writing style and the narration that makes me say this. I can’t say the narrator is “bad” based off just one book, but I can say he didn’t have anything to work with here regardless. Aside from learning about two shipwrecks on this remote island I’ve learned nothing else worth learning from this book.
This book has not one scintilla of human character development, which is absolutely crucial in order to invest a listener/reader into the story and into the people in the story. I’m not suggesting the author should take a factual account and embellish it, but good writers can find a way to make the listener/reader “buy-in” emotionally by making the people human beings, not just names.
I believe I gave this book a fair shot by listening to more than half of it, but I’ve reached the conclusion that this book is simply not good as I define it.
Report Inappropriate Content