Sole Survivor

  • by Ruthanne Lum McCunn
  • Narrated by Johanna Ward
  • 6 hrs and 41 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

On November 23, 1942, German U-Boats torpedoed the British ship Benlomond, and it sank in the Atlantic in two minutes. The sole survivor was a second steward named Poon Lim, who, with no knowledge of the sea, managed to stay alive for 133 days on a small wooden raft. Sole Survivor, based on three years of interviews with Poon, reconstructs his remarkable ordeal. We learn of a ship's crew that saw him but refused to pick him up; his ingenious ways of trapping water and catching fish (later used in U.S. Navy training films); his reaching land, only to find it an impenetrable jungle. When he was finally rescued at the mouth of the Amazon River, Poon was hailed as the "World's Champion Survivor." He still holds the Guinness world record for survival at sea. His story is an amazing tale of a young man's fortitude in the face of overwhelming odds.


What the Critics Say

"Poon's experience makes for a dignified, uplifting adventure tale." (Publishers Weekly)
"A vivid account of how one man used his intelligence and ingenuity to survive against incredible odds." (School Library Journal)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Suspensfully Calm

Thought this sound like a fun book to listen to, and was surprised by the details of survival. These details gave insight into the day-to-day struggle to live with some of the basic elements of life. This book created a sense of calmness, in that I too felt as if I was floating on a raft in the open seas. The suspense came almost in every chapter in not knowing hoe "poon lin" was going to keep surviving and figure out a way to live with the small scraps of materials he had.

The end of the book came to a close to fast. That is fast when it is compared to the day-to-day comparison of floating on a raft with little unchanging scenery.

This was a fun read, more than I expected.
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- Michael

Remarkable yet underwhelming.

I really wanted to read this book after some recommendations from readers who enjoyed books like Unbroken, Lost in Shangri-La, Long Walk and We Die Alone. It is no doubt a remarkable story of resilience against the harsh sea. A man surviving for 130+ days at sea on rain water, fish and occasional birds seems unbelievable but it is a true story that solely belongs to a remarkable human being - Poon Lim. Unfortunately, the book does little credit to this man’s incredible journey through lackluster writing and the vocal performance on the audiobook is less than stellar. Yet, it is still an engrossing listen and I recommend it because of its remarkable subject matter.
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- Saman

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-14-2004
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.