On a snowy morning in January 1910, the Alaska Steamship Company's Farallon struck Black Reef in Cook Inlet. The vessel carried no wireless radio to broadcast an SOS. Thirty-eight men scrambled into lifeboats, to be cast up on the rugged shore where they huddled under make-shift tents constructed from the Farallon's sails. Exposed to a bitter northern winter with meager equipment and clothing, a disturbing awareness sank in-rescuers may arrive too late.
In a daring attempt to find help, six men launched a lifeboat on the open sea. During two months of relentless travail, the brave mariners were all but given up for lost.
One of the stranded men created a startling record of the shipwrecked party. John E. Thwaites, an amateur photographer and the ship's mail clerk, shot dozens of haunting, stark images of the ice-shrouded derelict, the castaways' barren camp, and frostbitten men with burlap-wrapped feet. Lloyd brings to life a riveting tale of hardy seafaring men and tough sourdoughs who survived cold and despair against difficult odds in Alaska's stormswept wilderness.
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Gripping Tale of Survival
This is a riveting story told very well
This book breaks into many parallel stories, each serious and engaging, each well done. The hardships these folks endured were understated but easy to feel, not just words but stepping into their dire situations at a personal level. This book has some of the feel of the great Jack London stories of the Yukon, and it carried me along.
Seaman Swenson was the most interesting character, with his courage and quiet leadership. In the hearing, when he could have taken a negative position, he stayed strong and supported his captain and crew.
The narration by Frank Wright made this a great experience. Although the story is compelling, there in an unusual amount of detail which can sometimes bog things down, but the narration carried the story, and I listened to the whole book in less than one day. This is the best audio book narration I have heard, and I listen to a LOT of audio books. I plan to look for more books narrated by Frank Wright.
When the story seemed to be wrapping up, a character I thought had safely left the story came back into focus, and he suffered more than nearly anyone. His experience with the shotgun, seemingly a life saver, then turned tragic, took me right back into the plot.
This is not the kind of book I often read, but I enjoyed it thoroughly. It really did remind me of some of the great survival books, like London, Nordhoff & Hall, and Gann.