Saturday, May 6, 2023

Dear Great Book Guru, I was at Sea Cliff Bistro last week with friends and our conversation turned to the sea and sailing.  Someone mentioned a new book that sounded very exciting - about a shipwreck, mutiny, and murder.  Any thoughts?   Fan of the Sea

Dear Fan of the Sea, David Grann’s latest book is THE WAGER and what a story he tells! The Wager was a British warship built in the grandest of styles and outfitted for a secret mission to plunder a Spanish vessel purportedly filled with gold and other treasures. The Wager left England in September of 1740 and was not heard from again for 283 days when a flimsy craft arrived in Brazil with a small crew of very ill and disoriented men. They told an amazing tale of suffering and survival against all odds. The British public immediately proclaimed them heroes and rewarded them with honors and cash.  It seemed like a wonderful ending…. until six months later another boat of survivors arrived in Chile and accused the original mariners of mutiny, murder, and cannibalism.  Who is to be believed? The British courts convene a court martial to determine who is telling the truth - the sailors found guilty would be hanged. Grann describes in detail the crew and officers involved and the suffering they endured and the secrets they hid. He also skillfully analyzes the public’s reaction to this strange turnabout in fortune, Ultimately we are all left to question what would we have done if we had been aboard the Wager…. highly recommended!


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