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.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Tiffany on 10-04-16
One of the Best Stories Ever Told!
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.
121 of 126 people found this review helpful
By Miles on 21-07-17
Fascinating, well told, well researched
I did not know prior to reading this that Joan Druett is a very well respected maritime historian but it really shows through in the quality of the book.
I encourage anyone remotely interested in this to listen to the book and avoid doing any research on the historical events themselves until afterwards because I think it makes the story so much more powerful.
I really enjoyed reading and learning about the characters of these events. You really feel that you get to know their personalities and various strengths and weaknesses. Druett did a great job at breaking away from the narrative only rarely to explain certain events in a historical or scientific context (like explaining our understanding of scurvy at the time for instance, or mentioning when it was appropriate some history of the island/islands). I really enjoyed those descriptions because although I was following along with this gripping story I felt I was also learning so much more about a lot of historical topics I would not have otherwise known and felt that they added depth to the story.
Other books I've listened to that I found similar and would also recommend would include: Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage (Lansing), Into Thin Air (Krakauer), Skeletons on the Zahara: A True Story of Survival (King).
16 of 16 people found this review helpful