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Publisher's Summary

438 Days is the miraculous account of the man who survived alone and adrift at sea longer than anyone in recorded history - as told to journalist Jonathan Franklin in dozens of exclusive interviews.
On November 17, 2012, Salvador Alvarenga left the coast of Mexico for a two-day fishing trip. A vicious storm killed his engine, and the current dragged his boat out to sea. The storm picked up and blasted him west. When he washed ashore on January 29, 2014, he had arrived in the Marshall Islands, 9,000 miles away - equivalent to traveling from New York to Moscow round trip.
For 14 months, Alvarenga survived constant shark attacks. He learned to catch fish with his bare hands. He built a fish net from a pair of empty plastic bottles. Taking apart the outboard motor, he fashioned a huge fishhook. Using fish vertebrae as needles, he stitched together his own clothes.
He considered suicide on multiple occasions - including offering himself up to a pack of sharks. But Alvarenga never failed to invent an alternative reality. He imagined a method of survival that kept his body and mind intact long enough for the Pacific Ocean to toss him up on a remote, palm-studded island, where he was saved by a local couple living alone in their own Pacific Island paradise.
Based on dozens of hours of interviews with Alvarenga and interviews with his colleagues, search and rescue officials, the medical team that saved his life, and the remote islanders who nursed him back to health, this is an epic tale of survival, an all-true version of the fictional Life of Pi. 438 Days is a study of the resilience, will, ingenuity, and determination required for one man to survive 14 months lost at sea.
©2015 Jonathan Franklin (P)2015 Simon & Schuster
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Critic Reviews

"Narrator George Newbern does an excellent job delivering the story of Alvarenga's struggle... Newbern's consistent pace and varied tone keep the compelling story going, communicating the harrowing aspects of the journey as well as Alvarenga's inspirational will to survive his extended ordeal at sea." ( AudioFile)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Big jim Picotto on 12-04-15


A story that does not get enough attention is what '438 Days' is. A story of adversity and resilience that will make you feel good to be alive. There is a slight disconnect between the author and the subject and you feel plenty is lost in translation. But envisioning what happened in those 438 days is the real star of the story. "what would i do" and "would i be able to do that" will often pop into your head.George Newbern brilliant as always. Great read and well worth the credit.

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19 of 19 people found this review helpful

4 out of 5 stars
By Jean on 03-22-16

Absorbing Read

This is an Amazing story of survival. One November 17, 2012 Salvador Alvarenga age 36 and Ezequiel Cordoba age 22 left Costa Azul Mexico in a 25 foot small boat to fish. A storm blew in and pushed the small boat out into the Pacific Ocean. On January 29, 2014 Alvarenga drifted ashore on Ebon, the southern tip of the Marshall Island chain, almost 7000 miles from where he started. Salvador drifted on the ocean current for 438 days. Garbage drifted by some of which he ate and other he found use for such as bottles and barrels to catch water in.

Franklin interviewed Alvarenga for days to obtain his story. He did extensive research and interviews with oceanographers and other experts about the ocean and weather. Franklin states that Alvarenga said that battling loneliness, depression and suicidal thoughts were the most difficult to overcome in his battle for survival. I enjoyed the section where he tells of the week a whale shark drifted alongside his boat and attracted fish which he was able to catch. George Newbern did a good job narrating the story. This is a must read story for those who are interested in survival or sea stories.

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11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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