Four Against the Arctic is the incredible story of the survival of the sailors on the tiny island, barren of all foliage and inhabited only by reindeer, foxes, and polar bears, before they were rescued by another ship six years later.
©2003 David Roberts; (P)2003 Blackstone Audiobooks
"An extraordinary tale." (Publishers Weekly)
"An astonishing story, an almost unbelievable feat of survival." (Booklist)
I did listen to this to the end, but wouldn't recommend buying to any one interested in the story of the survival of the four Russians the book is supposed to about. The book is really about writing the book, or rather, the author's dismal attempts to research the event. What IS in the book could have been cut to about half its length and much improved thereby.
An impressive tale of survival is fatally flawed by the author's approach. This is a tedious and repetitious recitation of the ardours of research. With a background in mountaineering, but no scholarship, he is badly prepared for the difficulties he faces. He hires a small army of researchers, translators and guides who actually do the bulk of the work. Throughout the narrative of his efforts to unearth this interesting story, he stultifies the reader by relentless focus on his own conquests. It is a shame that this remarkable account of desperate courage has been drowned in petty academic oneupmanship.
This is a story of the problems and setbacks encountered by the author, when he researched this shipwreck. You can't help but admire the perseverance he displayed in his quest for this story, since he does a great job of putting ypu through a similar process, in reading it. Like the hobos' rock soup, most of what get out of this story, is water.
This is a fantastic story. In contrast with other reviews, I enjoyed hearing about the authors stuggles to gather the information about what actually happened all those years ago. But at the same time, I can understand how some might find these parts less interesting than the orginal adventure. I just thought it was a nice balance. My only complaint was that there were times some of the background got a bit too detailed. Still a great listen!
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