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Publisher's Summary

Auckland Island is a godforsaken place in the middle of the Southern Ocean, 285 miles south of New Zealand. With year-round freezing rain and howling winds, it is one of the most forbidding places in the world. To be shipwrecked there means almost certain death.
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.
©2007 Joan Druett (P)2016 Tantor
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Critic Reviews

"The amount of detail Druett has amassed is truly impressive, resulting in an invaluable account of survival." (Booklist)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Tiffany on 04-10-16

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.

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92 of 96 people found this review helpful


By Mark on 09-17-17

Engaging true castaway story

In the 1860's, five men get shipwrecked off an island 200 miles from New Zealand. Conditions are horrific. This is the story of the castaways. Detailed journals make this book so engaging. And then it turns out another ship crashes off the other side of the island. One group is disciplined and works hard as a team; the other does not. The result is a fascinating set of stories. History came alive for me in this book. The narrator was excellent. I liked this book a lot!

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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