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Island of the Lost: Shipwrecked at the Edge…
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Island of the Lost: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World (original 2007; edition 2007)

by Joan Druett

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3121853,845 (3.88)70
Member:Scrub
Title:Island of the Lost: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World
Authors:Joan Druett
Info:Algonquin Books (2007), Edition: First American Edition, Hardcover, 284 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:Non-Fiction, History, New Zealand

Work details

Island of the Lost: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World by Joan Druett (2007)

  1. 10
    The Worst Journey in the World by Apsley Cherry-Garrard (rebeccanyc)
    rebeccanyc: Both of these books testify to the ability of people in hazardous and terrifying physical conditions to use both hard work and their mental and emotional strength to survive.
  2. 10
    Castaway on the Auckland Isles by Thomas Musgrave (Stbalbach)
    Stbalbach: Grafton shipwreck survivor.
  3. 10
    Wrecked On A Reef by François Édouard Raynal (Stbalbach)
    Stbalbach: Grafton shipwreck survivor. In the 19th century, this was the best-selling account of the shipwreck and the inspiration for Verne's The Mysterious Island.
  4. 00
    The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne (Stbalbach)
    Stbalbach: The Mysterious Island was inspired by the real-life shipwreck told in Island of the Lost
  5. 00
    Wake of the Invercauld: Shipwrecked in the Sub-Antarctic: A Great-Granddaughter's Pilgrimage by Madelene Allen (Stbalbach)
    Stbalbach: Great-grandaughter of Invercauld survivor Robert Holding.
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Showing 1-5 of 18 (next | show all)
I have read the accounts of a few subantarctic shipwrecks, but never one which was as recently written and one that was so well-researched. This story was compiled from survivor accounts, official documents and newspaper clippings concerning the wreck of the Grafton in 1864 on the Auckland Islands, 300 miles south of New Zealand. It tells the story of the 5 survivors as they salvage what they can from their wrecked ship, and make a life for themselves in their wait for rescue.
The Auckland Islands are a harsh place. The main island has immense cliffs the entire western coast, it is cold, wet and tremendous storms batter it winter-long. The forest is gnarly, boggy and virtually impenetrable. The survivors faced the most shocking conditions as they wintered over, and, frequently on the brink of starvation, spent their days foraging, hunting, and trying as they could to improve their shelter.
There area many amazing things about this story, but one of the most incredible is that during their "stay", another ship wrecked at the other end of the island, a mere 20 miles away, and the parallel story of those survivors is also told. Each group knew nothing of the other. The most recent castaways faced even harsher circumstances. We come to see the value in having organisation and good leadership, the fortune of having a wrecked ship to salvage, and the importance of those first few days in getting food and shelter fast. I think this book is rare(ish),but find it if you can as it is a rollicking story- and true at that. ( )
2 vote LovingLit | May 8, 2018 |
The true tales of two different expeditions who left New Zealand and became shipwrecked in the Auckland Islands just weeks apart from each other in 1863. Although this particular island was only 35 miles in circumference, neither party found each other although they were relatively close. The author has done a good job of assembling the information (from diaries) comparing and contrasting the two wrecks. The section on the seals was very excellent.

This book could have been 4+ stars except that it was bogged down with too much detail (for me) in the tedious such as how they shaved wood and made planks, etc. The author is a maritime historian and perhaps if someone else, such as Erik Larsen had written this book it would have been more exciting. All in all, though, it was a solid, average read. 284 pages 3 1 /2 stars (for the seal section) ( )
  tess_schoolmarm | Feb 25, 2018 |
Surviving a shipwreck...not impossible, you might think if you've grounded on an island, but after reading this fascinating account of two different shipwrecks in the same 'multitude of islets' (the remote Auckland Islands) within miles and months of one another makes you realise it's more than just finding shelter, water and food. One group builds a group shelter (Epigwaitt), pools their resources and skills and survives intact; the other, the crew from the Scottish square-rigger Invercauld doesn't.

This page-turner is well-researched and well-written, full of details culled from the survivors' diaries and notes and newspaper articles. It also includes vast amounts of information about the region, weather patterns, sealing, and sailing ships of the 1800s...not to mention how power hierarchies determined by birthright as opposed to competence and experience can be fatal structures.

This book was a bit outside my realm of research--which was shipwrecks of the early days of the East Indies companies--but the story of the double shipwreck with its radically different endings drew me in as fast as the winds and reefs that scuttled these two ships.

Recommended for anyone interested in 1800s adventure, sealing, survival, and the human condition...plus any 14 year-old boys on my birthday list. ( )
  pbjwelch | Jul 25, 2017 |
If you like true adventure stories that are well researched, this is a great read. It follows the stories of two shipwrecks that happened within six months of each other on a remote group of sub-antarctic islands SE of New Zealand. Although both groups wrecked on the same island, because of the island's size and the location of the wrecks, neither group was aware of the other. One group fared much better than the other, and although there were several factors that played a part in these differences, the group that did best had better leadership and a more egalitarian attitude, in addition to having one shipmate that was was very innovative. This is a true story of survival in one of the most climatically extreme places on earth. ( )
  bness2 | May 23, 2017 |
This is the true-life story the inspired Jules Verne's The Mysterious Island which was based on French survivor François Édouard Raynal's account Wrecked on a ReefJoan Druett oddly neglects to even mention this connection, but she has ably rescued this once-famous shipwreck story from the mid-19th century, on an island in the sub-Antarctic south of New Zealand. Druett's sources are previously published accounts by the castaways. She paints a vivid picture of the geography and wildlife, and gives some insight into the castaways psychological state. A well balanced and nicely written book with a little bit of everything, but in the main a survival story. She reconciled relatively small differences in the accounts to the most likely version, but overall there is no great controversy. There are a couple minor unsolved mysteries, such as where the dogs came from and the smoke signal. Great story and memorable particularly when read in conjunction with satellite maps. ( )
  Stbalbach | May 8, 2016 |
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Epigraph
It has seldom fallen to our lot as journalists to record a more remarkable instance of escape from the perils of shipwreck, and subsequent providential deliverance from the privations of a desolate island, after two years' sojourn, than that we have now to furnish. -Southland News, July 29, 1865

The man who has experienced shipwreck shudders even at a calm sea. -Ovid
Dedication
For Roberta McIntyre, whose early encouragement could not have been more well timed.
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It was October 1863, early springtime in Sydney, Australia.
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Book description
Auckland Island is a godforsaken place in the middle of the Southern Ocean, 285 miles south of New Zealand. With year-round freezing rain and howling winds, it is one of the most forbidding places in the world. To be shipwrecked there means almost certain death. In 1864 Captain Thomas Musgrave and his crew of four aboard the schooner Grafton wreck on the southern end of the island. Utterly alone in a dense coastal forest, plagued by stinging blowflies and relentless rain, Captian Musgrave-rather than succumb to this dismal fate-inspires his men to take action. With barely more than their bare hands, they build a cabin and, remarkably, a forge, whee they manufacture their tools. Under Musgrave's leadership, they band together and remain civilized through even the darkest and most terrifying days. Incredibly, at the same time on the opposite end of the island-twenty miles of impassable cliffs and chasms away-the Invercauld wrecks during a horrible storm. Nineteen men stagger ashore. Unlike Captain Musgrave, the captain of the Invercauld falls apart given the same dismal circumstances. His men fight and split up; some die of starvation, other turn to cannibalism. Only three survived. Musgrave and all of his men not only endure for nearly two years, they also plan their own astonishing escape, setting off on one of the most courageous sea voyages in history.
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Telling the true story of two similar shipwreck tragedies that have drastically different outcomes, award-winning maritime historian Druett tells a gripping cautionary tale about leadership, endurance, human ingenuity, and the tenuous line between order and chaos.… (more)

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