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Adrift: A True Story of Tragedy on the Icy Atlantic and the One Who Lived… (2018)

av Brian Murphy

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
407493,614 (3.81)1
Describes the 1856 maritime tragedy of a ship traveling to New York that hit an iceberg and left its passengers adrift four hundred miles off the coast of Newfoundland."The small ship making the Liverpool to New York trip in the early months of 1856 carried mail, crates of dry goods, and more than one hundred passengers, mostly Irish emigrants. Suddenly an iceberg tore the ship asunder and five lifeboats were lowered. As four lifeboats drifted into the fog and icy water, never to be heard from again, the last boat wrenched away from the sinking ship with a few blankets, some water and biscuits, and thirteen souls. Only one would survive. This is his story."--Dust jacket.… (mer)
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Visa 1-5 av 7 (nästa | visa alla)
I found this book very moving and quite fascinating. The narrative is well-paced and the characters seemed wholly believable. The book is carefully researched and eye-opening. I appreciated the attempts on the part of the authors to be sensitive to the ways in which history often leaves out the voices of women, people of color and the poor and the efforts to provide those viewpoints. We need more books that make the effort to recognize that our world is made up of many different viewpoints, not just those of the White male. ( )
  PatsyMurray | Feb 7, 2021 |
January, 1856. Captain Alexander Kelley is sailing the packet ship John Rutledge from Liverpool to New York, completing his first transatlantic voyage as a captain. He leaves his wife behind in Liverpool as the voyage will be rough given the time of year, and promises to pick her up in the spring when they can return to New York together. It is a promise he will break. After 35 days at sea on February 20th, 1856, The John Rutledge struck an iceberg in the Atlantic and sank. 13 survivors boarded life boats. Nine days later, the only survivors were one crew member and the ship's log book.

A disaster tale such as this one is even more emotional when it's a true story. Murphy weaves the story of the fate of the John Rutledge with great skill. It chilled me to the bone thinking about the few survivors floating in open boats in the freezing cold elements, only to die. And the many emigrants from Ireland -- men, women and children seeking a better life -- who never made it off the ship. I had to watch two Disney movies after I finished this book to get the sad, emotional thoughts out of my head. Those poor people....and what a horrible, lonely way to die.

In his introduction to the book, the author says: "Scores of ships -- carrying tens of thousands of passengers and crew -- met a similar fate in the Atlantic before twentieth-century advances in communications technology enabled better advance notice on looming ice fields and approaching storms. The names of some lost ships are remembered. So are a few of the prominent figures that perished at sea. But almost totally forgotten are the others who went down with them: emigrants, seamen, travelers, merchants and envoys. Entire families. Young men and women striking out for a new life. Children too young to grasp the dangers of an Atlantic crossing. They are the anonymous dead. The sea is good at swallowing lives without a trace." It happened that way for so many.....dreams of a new life over so quickly...and now nobody even remembers their names or anything about them. I thought about each and every one of them as I read this book.

A book that can elicit a profound emotional response in a reader is well written. This book sucked me into the story of this doomed ship and kept my total attention from start to finish. I felt an emotional tie to the people I knew were going to die. Brian Murphy is a skilled story-teller. Excellent book. Heart-breaking story. Anyone who enjoys adventure stories, historical tales or the sea will love this book. It's hard to read -- the outcome is bleak. But I'm glad a skilled writer told their story. Those who crossed the ocean before the age of modern communications and safety precautions were taking a huge risk. So many were lost. I'm glad that some are still remembered.

I have a son in the Navy and even though I am not really a religious person, I thought of this naval hymn while reading this story:

For Those In Peril On The Sea

Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm doth bind the restless wave,
Who bidd’st the mighty ocean deep
Its own appointed limits keep;
O hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril on the sea!

O Saviour, Whose almighty word
The winds and waves submissive heard,
Who walkedst on the foaming deep,
And calm amid its rage didst sleep:
O hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea!

O Sacred Spirit, who didst brood
Upon the chaos dark and rude,
Who bad’st its angry tumult cease,
And gavest light, and life, and peace:
O hear us when we cry to Thee
For those in peril on the sea!

O Trinity of love and power,
Our brethren shield in danger’s hour;
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect them wheresoe’er they go;
And ever let there rise to Thee
Glad hymns of praise from land and sea.

**I voluntarily read a review copy of this book from Perseus Books/DeCapo Press via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.** ( )
1 rösta JuliW | Nov 22, 2020 |
I'm thrilled by non-fiction survival literature (it was my senior thesis in college), so this should've been exactly my kind of book. Guys, I'm sorry, but I hated this. The pacing is terrible and keeps breaking you out of the action to give you footnotes about history, and there's WAY too much backstory and end story and far too little of the critical event that is supposed to be central to the book. As a bonus, the editing and formatting were also awful - far beyond what I consider reasonable even for a NetGalley advance copy.

If you're looking for a book that really captures the limits of human endurance and the capacity for the survival spirit, may I recommend the following:
Adrift: Seventy-Six Days Lost at Sea by Steven Callahan
And I Alone Survived by Lauren Elder
Touching the Void: The True Story of One Man's Miraculous Survival by Joe Simpson
Into Thin Air: A Personal Account of the Mount Everest Disaster by Jon Krakauer
Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why by Laurence Gonzales ( )
  LydiaFaith | Aug 28, 2020 |
I have a weird fascination with books about terrible things happening to people in harsh, icy conditions. I consider it a bonus when there is a shipwreck involved. (Extra bonus for cannibalism.) Bearing this is mind, I may be rating this book higher than it rightfully deserves, though I did read it all in one sitting. There were, however, some grammatical errors that caused that record-scratch sound to play in my head. ("Sexton" instead of "sextant," for example.) Overall, though, this was very readable and ticked a lot of my boxes, so there you go. ( )
  BillieBook | Nov 20, 2018 |
A customer review on Amazon by Paul Cassel well sums up the weaknesses of the book. Nevertheless it still has good qualities, the core survival story is cinematic and transporting through time and place. It brings our attention to the huge number of people who died in the 19th and early 20th century crossing the Atlantic. After the ship strikes a burg (how most sink) and assuming you make it onto a "lifeboat" (an open dory) you would likely die of dehydration and exposure within 1-8 days, while watching those around you do the same, slowly going insane drinking seawater or even killing fellow passengers. Typically this would include mothers and fathers and children. It is one of the more terrible human experiences, Adrift really brings it home. I'm a big fan of survival stories and this is a good one but also be prepared to learn about the shipping industry in the mid-19th century, which is interesting in its own right and a lot less painful than being a castaway! ( )
  Stbalbach | Oct 30, 2018 |
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Describes the 1856 maritime tragedy of a ship traveling to New York that hit an iceberg and left its passengers adrift four hundred miles off the coast of Newfoundland."The small ship making the Liverpool to New York trip in the early months of 1856 carried mail, crates of dry goods, and more than one hundred passengers, mostly Irish emigrants. Suddenly an iceberg tore the ship asunder and five lifeboats were lowered. As four lifeboats drifted into the fog and icy water, never to be heard from again, the last boat wrenched away from the sinking ship with a few blankets, some water and biscuits, and thirteen souls. Only one would survive. This is his story."--Dust jacket.

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