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Publisher's Summary

The spectacular true story of a scrappy teenager from New York's Lower East Side who stowed away on the Roaring Twenties' most remarkable feat of science and daring: an expedition to Antarctica.
It was 1928: a time of illicit booze, of Gatsby and Babe Ruth, of freewheeling fun. The Great War was over, and American optimism was higher than the stock market. What better moment to launch an expedition to Antarctica, the planet's final frontier? This was the moon landing before the 1960s. Everyone wanted to join the adventure. Rockefellers and Vanderbilts begged to be taken along as mess boys, and newspapers across the globe covered the planning's every stage.
The night before the expedition's flagship launched, Billy Gawronski - a skinny, first-generation New York City high schooler desperate to escape a dreary future in the family upholstery business - jumped into the Hudson River and snuck aboard.
Could he get away with it?
From the grimy streets of New York's Lower East Side to the rowdy dance halls of sultry Francophone Tahiti, all the way to Antarctica's blinding white and deadly freeze, Laurie Gwen Shapiro's The Stowaway takes you on the unforgettable voyage of a gutsy young stowaway who became an international celebrity, a mascot for an up-by-your-bootstraps age.
©1997 Philip Toshio Sudo. All rights reserved. (P)2018 Simon & Schuster, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Critic Reviews

"Shapiro has rescued from oblivion a wondrous tale of exploration. The Stowaway is a thrilling adventure that captures not only the making of a man but of a nation." (David Grann, best-selling author of Killers of the Flower Moon)
" The Stowaway proves that fact is stranger and funnier and more amazing than fiction. Laurie Gwen Shapiro artfully draws the reader into the tale of Billy Gawronski, a dreamer and adventurer. Through the wild story of his travels to Antarctica, we see history come vividly to life." (Susan Orlean, best-selling author of Rin Tin Tin)
"Laurie Gwen Shapiro wrote The Stowaway like a Jack London novel: with a sense of adventure, wonderful detail, a lineup of intriguing characters, and above all a great story. This is the best of nonfiction." (Mark Kurlansky, best-selling author of Paper)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Ryun on 03-03-18

Story of someone who would have gone unknown

What did you love best about The Stowaway?

It is the true story of an 18 year old who stowaway on Admiral Byrd's first voyage to the arctic. The background second story Is about Byrd. More a promotor than an explorer such as the crew of Endurance.

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4 out of 5 stars
By Andy on 02-22-18

courage and determination

Great story of how the courage and determination of a young man helped him meet his goals and set the stage for a long and memorable life.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By Lisa on 01-30-18

3 hours in - no story yet.

What disappointed you about The Stowaway?

After listening for 3 hours, still nowhere near Antarctica or anything remotely resembling adventures at sea or elsewhere.
Billy's life story is very mundane, no entertainment value there, and the vague background stories of polar explorers that could have added lots of interest is very matter of fact,

Has The Stowaway put you off other books in this genre?

I love this genre. Anything about early explorers, adventure travel, pioneering - I'll listen to it.
Shackleton's story for example is my idea of the greatest story ever told.
But this one simply makes me wonder why this character was chosen as someone to write about.
There's nothing engaging about his childhood story or his personality and it turns out that stowaways were a dime a dozen at the time. There were three on his boat alone. So the premise of the brave and daring stowaway evaporates pretty much from the beginning.

How could the performance have been better?

The narrator is extremely downbeat and monotone.
There's no trace of humour or enthusiasm, in fact I'd say he sounds distinctly uninterested in what he's reading.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Stowaway?

Would definitely cut the clunky references to the girlfriend he possibly had - or not.
There was a thin story about his high school girlfriend that really had no substance and no relevance whatsoever. And came across like an exercise to fill a page or tick a box.

Any additional comments?

If you are particularly interested in this era in New York City, and the immigrants of the time AND you're obsessed with anything at all to do with seagoing exploration AND you like a story that rolls slowly along in a ho-hum way without anything particularly interesting to break the flow - you might love it.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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