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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.
120 of 125 people found this review helpful
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).
15 of 15 people found this review helpful