438 Days

  • by Jonathan Franklin
  • Narrated by George Newbern
  • 7 hrs and 7 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.


What the Critics Say

"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

Super Engrossing True Survival Story

It's a quick listen mainly because once it gets started, you won't be able to turn it off. Read Audible's description. I couldn't do a better job of describing it myself.

438 days at sea are really not imaginable to me. Author, Jonathan Franklin, spent hours interviewing the survivor, fisherman Salvador Alvarenga. You will shake your head in wonderment often. You will know that you most likely couldn't have survived in his place. You will have your favorite parts to savor, to go over in your mind long after finishing the book. If you are like me, you may even consider it worthy of a second listen.

Well written with a very good narration by George Newbern, this true survival tale is a winner for me. Highly recommended!
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- Kathy


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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- Big jim Picotto

Book Details

  • Release Date: 11-17-2015
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio