Enjoy millions of ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, and more

Only $11.99/month after trial. Cancel anytime.

UnavailableIsland of the Lost: An Extraordinary Story of Survival at the Edge of the World
Currently unavailable on Scribd

Island of the Lost: An Extraordinary Story of Survival at the Edge of the World

Continue browsing

Currently unavailable on Scribd

Island of the Lost: An Extraordinary Story of Survival at the Edge of the World

ratings:
3.5/5 (185 ratings)
Length:
296 pages
5 hours
Publisher:
Released:
Jun 8, 2007
ISBN:
9781565126510
Format:
Book

Description

  “Riveting.” —The New York Times Book Review  Hundreds of miles from civilization, two ships wreck on opposite ends of the same deserted island in this true story of human nature at its best—and at its worst.

It is 1864, and Captain Thomas Musgrave’s schooner, the Grafton, has just wrecked on Auckland Island, a forbidding piece of land 285 miles south of New Zealand. Battered by year-round freezing rain and constant winds, it is one of the most inhospitable places on earth. To be shipwrecked there means almost certain death.

Incredibly, at the same time on the opposite end of the island, another ship runs aground during a storm. Separated by only twenty miles and the island’s treacherous, impassable cliffs, the crews of the Grafton and the Invercauld face the same fate. And yet where the Invercauld’s crew turns inward on itself, fighting, starving, and even turning to cannibalism, Musgrave’s crew bands together to build a cabin and a forge—and eventually, to find a way to escape. 

Using the survivors’ journals and historical records, award-winning maritime historian Joan Druett brings to life this extraordinary untold story about leadership and the fine line between order and chaos.
Publisher:
Released:
Jun 8, 2007
ISBN:
9781565126510
Format:
Book

About the author

Joan Druett's previous books have won many awards, including a New York Public Library Book to Remember citation, a John Lyman Award for Best Book of American Maritime History, and the Kendall Whaling Museum's L. Byrne Waterman Award.


Related to Island of the Lost


Reviews

What people think about Island of the Lost

3.4
185 ratings / 25 Reviews
What did you think?
Rating: 0 out of 5 stars

Reader reviews

  • (5/5)
    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.
  • (4/5)
    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)
  • (5/5)
    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.
  • (4/5)
    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.
  • (4/5)
    Joan Druett has rescued a 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.
  • (4/5)
    A very enjoyable read. Two groups of men, each from a different shipwreck are inhabiting the same island unbeknownst to each other. This is truly a story of survival in the harshest of conditions. It shows what the human mind and body can endear if one wants to survive. Some of the accounts are contradictory so you don't get the full, honest story, but it is as close as one can get. Having never read about this part of the world (New Zealand and the Aucklands) I was quite fascinated.
  • (4/5)
    Joan Druett's Island of the Lost is an impeccably researched, well-written, well-presented history of two concurrent wrecks on the Auckland Islands in the late 19th century.Her easy style balances journalistic integrity with the need to captivate the reader, and holds you from the first paragraph and never lags.Overall, the stories of these two groups of shipwrecked sailors is a keen contrast between the higher ideals and purposes of humans, and our more base, predatory instincts. In fact, the actions of these real, historical people will both astonish and disgust you.Oh, and now Auckland Islands is now the second place on earth I would never wish to visit unless I had a death-wish.
  • (4/5)
    Good story of not one, but two crews shipwrecked on Auckland Island. One crew worked together and accomplished some really astonishing things, like rescuing themselves. The other crew fell apart and only a few from nearly 20 survived. Really fascinating story!
  • (5/5)
    What a thoroughly riveting read! Many nights worth of reading till my eyes couldn't stay open. It's a lesson of humility, of teamwork, of leadership.
  • (4/5)
    A very interesting book on survival and the human spirit.
  • (5/5)
    The details and facts were well researched and very well written! A page turner!
  • (5/5)
    Very interesting and well written. I recommend it for an interesting read on survival.
  • (5/5)
    Wonderfully written and thoroughly enjoyable as well as well researched
  • (5/5)
    A very entertaining book, a page turner that shows what it takes to put to test and make surface the best (and sometimes the worse) of human nature, and, in each character's daily attempt do keep body and soul together, reveal some very profound ... souls. Set in the end of castaway's era, this book is a reminder of what comraderie, endurance and a sense of purpose in life can achieve in the most difficult of times.
  • (4/5)
    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)
  • (5/5)
    Buena opción para hundirse en un mundo de miseria y escasez. Termina uno con gratitud.
  • (4/5)
    Island of the Lost by Joan Druett is a fascinating account of two different shipwrecks that occurred on the remote Auckland Island in 1864. The first vessel was the Grafton, with a small crew of 5 men. They had been on a voyage to Campbell Island to check out a rumour of the possibility of mining silver laden tin. The rumour was inaccurate and on their return voyage, they ran into inclement weather that drove them upon the jagged reefs of the uninhabited Auckland Island. These resourceful men worked together, adapted to their surroundings and survived although food was scarce and rescue did not seem to be coming. In contrast to be above, the other ship, the Inversauld went down a few months later and about twenty miles to the north of where the Grafton’s men were. Although there were a number of survivors, their situation was much different from the others. They did not cooperate very well with one another and many of the survivors starved to death until there were only three left. Luckily they were rescued by a passing Spanish vessel.The author of this account, Joan Druett, is a maritime historian who has written a number of books, both factual and fictional. She lays out the details of this amazing saga in a factual, straight-forward manner that includes many references to the writings of the actual men who were involved. Her research was obviously extensive as her descriptions of the flora and fauna, geography and weather conditions were precise and descriptive. The Island of the Lost was a captivating tale of survival.
  • (3/5)
    This is a non-fiction story of shipwreck and survival, set in the seas south of New Zealand in the early 1860s. A crew of five departed Sydney, Australia in a small vessel, seeking silver laden ore on uninhabited Campbell Island. In route home, they were shipwrecked on nearby Auckland Island, likewise uninhabited. This is mainly a story of how they survived their lengthy isolation. Midway through the story, however, a second ship, quite a bit larger, was likewise dashed upon the rocky shores, at a point some distance from the original crew. Nineteen people survived this wreck, however their experience on Auckland Island was far different.I can’t say that this is an outstanding read. It is quite short, and while it contains a good bit of interesting information, there just isn’t much story here. The ingenuity of both groups, especially the former, is quite impressive. Today, we just go to the story and get some nails, or buy groceries. These folks manufactured cement and soap. They constructed a forge with bellows and crafted the tools and items they needed from scrap metal salvaged from their shipwreck. They built a water tight cabin, with fireplace and survived for 18 months.Especially striking was the different experience of the two groups of shipwrecked sailors, especially as it relates to the interpersonal dynamic and the leadership skills exhibited by one and not the other. This is short read and worth the time to read, especially if you enjoy stories of this type,
  • (4/5)
    “Deciding which version of each little event was closer to the truth was an interesting challenge” says Joan Druett in her authors note at the end of her account of two shipwrecks that happened in 1864. At the edge of the world refers to the Aukland islands group in the sub antarctic waters that lie 220 miles due south of New Zealand, where the weather is usually very unpleasant. Individuals within both groups of survivors, published accounts of their ordeals and it is from these that Druett has woven together her story of the events.In January 1864 the Grafton was wrecked in a violent storm off the coast of the Aukland Islands, there were five survivors who made it ashore. The Islands had no settled population and the five men became castaways for eighteen months. In May of the same year The Invercauld was wrecked at the opposite end of the Islands and nineteen men made it ashore. Appalling weather and a mountainous terrain kept the two groups of castaways far apart. The Invercauld group spent 12 months on the islands but only three of the nineteen survived, whereas all five of the Grafton group made it back to civilisation. Joan Druett has written a sort of documentary of the shipwrecks and by contrasting the two groups and moving from one story to the other she has highlighted why the small group were more successful than the larger group. Reading her account of the Grafton group is very much like reading Robinson Crusoe. Hard work, a never say die attitude and an ability to adapt and make the most of their surroundings along with their Christian ideals were the backbone to their survival. It was significant also that they managed to work together with a certain amount of camaraderie and a democratically elected leader. The Invercauld group by contrast could not overcome their reliance on the hierarchy of their naval rankings and when this failed to provide leadership the group fell apart. These are not earth shattering events on the world’s stage, but are full of human interest. Reading about people coping with extreme conditions is fascinating to many of us and in this case knowing that the events described happened more or less as Druitt tells us, gives us a feeling of authenticity that we get when reading an extraordinary story in the newspapers. A real life adventure, although one few of us would wish to share is told brilliantly by an author who has painstakingly researched her subject and come up with an angle that is entertaining and enlightening. I was just glad to have experienced this from the comfort of my warm weatherproof study. 4 stars.
  • (4/5)
    Shipwreck near Australia near the Arctic Circle. Several of the men aboard survive and this book tells their story. Really is amazing how they kept each other fed and entertained. In the midst of their time on the island, another ship wrecks on the other side of the island. They don't cooperate with each other and the effects are devastating. Remarkable story. I enjoyed this one.
  • (5/5)
    Adventure is one of my favorite genres. This book is chocked full of adventure. I believe if I were shipwrecked on an inhospitable island, I would have the guts to survive.
  • (3/5)

    1 person found this helpful

    Joan Druett hit upon a gold mine of material for her book "Island of the Lost: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World." Two different boats shipwrecked on tiny, inhospitable Auckland Island, miles off the coast of New Zealand. Completely unknown to each other, the two crews really illustrate the difference between men who are driven to survive and men who have given up. One crew worked together (and admittedly had a gun that made a big difference for its food supply) while the other crew fell apart, with most dying, unable to even try helping themselves. The facts of these true tales are really interesting, though I wasn't a huge fan of Druett's storytelling -- especially in the first half of the book... she includes lots of details about the island flora and fauna but the manner of the telling kind of pulled away from the story. I liked the second half of the book better as the story really started to come together.

    1 person found this helpful

  • (4/5)
    I love survival stories and this was a great one. This details the experience of survivors of a shipwreck at the Auckland Islands, 235 miles south of New Zealand. The harsh weather and limited food resources make survival on the Islands very difficult. Druett focuses on one wreck of the ship Grafton where all five shipmates survive the wreck and band together to figure out a way to survive. They are led by Captain Musgrave, but another survivor, Francois Raynal, really saved the day. He had an amazing array of knowledge that he used to manufacture tools, create housing, make soap, and even make a boat. I was fascinated by him. Druett contrasts this experience with another shipwreck that happened in a different part of the island during the same time. This had very different results as 16 of the 19 survivors of the shipwreck died. The men were unwilling to band together and help each other and quickly gave in to the harshness of the island. I love these stories of humans overcoming the elements and figuring out a way to survive in the harshest areas of the earth. I thought this was a very entertaining book.
  • (4/5)
    “Hundreds of miles from civilization, two ships wreck on opposite ends of the same deserted island in this true story of human nature at its best – and its worst.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.”-Island of the LostSo begins Joan Druett’s book, Island of the Lost – Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World. It is a tale that would seem implausible, if not for the fact that it is all absolutely true. In 1864, near the end of the age of sail, two separate ships did indeed wreck along the coast of Auckland Island – a tiny sliver of land sticking out of the forbidding Southern Ocean – a place that remains uninhabited to this day. By piecing together logbooks, memoirs, newspaper accounts and Druett’s own personal trips to the desolate island, she is able to create a vivid account of two divergent stories of survival. The schooner Grafton and its crew of five wrecks at the southern end of the island. Through inspired leadership and the camaraderie of the whole crew, they are able to eke out an existence in spite of the vast hardships. At almost the same time, the Invercauld wrecks at the north end of the island. In contrast to the Grafton, most of the 19 surviving crew of the Invercauld quickly succumb to the elements, infighting and a leadership vacuum. Druett does an excellent job of weaving the two stories together, contrasting a crew working together with a crew in shambles. Her credentials as a historian insure an exhaustive level of research, while her award-winning skills as a novelist ensure that the text is entirely readable. The story moves along nicely and never fails to give the reader a sense of just how precarious the castaways’ plight is. While the book spends perhaps a little too much time describing the multitude of ways to kill a seal and not quite enough time discussing the lives of the castaways after their ordeal, as a whole it is a wonderful effort at delivering a look into a place and time not widely understood. There is also a thorough collection of notes at the end that provide many more factual details. However, its greatest attribute is the way it shines a spotlight on a teachable moment of history – how survival is often determinant on who you are with and how well you work together. If you have any interest in sailing history or stories of survival in the remote reaches of the world, this is a great book to have.
  • (3/5)
    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.