From the Jaws of Death: Extreme True Adventures of Man vs. Nature Brogan Steele St. Martin’s Griffin First Edition editionJun 30
This is an entertaining anthology for armchair adventurers. These previously published incredible stories of human survival are divided into convenient categories: The Vast Oceans, Snow and Ice, The Wild Country. Theres quite a variety here: an excerpt from Owen Chases famous first-person account of his survival after the sinking of his whaling ship in 1820; Fridtjof Nansens chronicle of his ill-fated expedition to the North Pole in 1895; a story about the aftermath of a disastrous 1920 flight in a hydrogen balloon; Jon Krakauers reflections on a solo effort to climb a treacherous mountain; the tale of a pilot whose errors land him in the Alaskan wilderness, with small chance of survival; and more. The word extreme in the subtitle seems to be there mainly to catch the eye of extreme-sport enthusiasts (True Adventures of . . . would have worked as well), but theres no denying these stories are gripping and that they do involve considerable risk to life and limb. A fascinating and frightening book. –David Pitt
Ever since his very first steps, BROGAN STEELE has chased adventure. After a long, exhilarating day of facing Death and coming out on top, he relishes seeing the smoke curling up from the chimney ofhis log cabin, knowing he’ll soon be lounging fireside witha cold beer.
Aharrowing collection of true tales of death and survival under the most extreme conditions imaginable
There comes a time in some men’s lives when their physical and emotional states are pushed to the limit. Maybe their boat has capsized and they are adrift in the ocean, or maybe they’ve fallen into an ice crevasse, with no apparent way out. It is in these moments men discover what they are truly made of and whether they have the courage and physical strength to come back From the Jaws of Death.
This explosive collection showcases twenty-three stories of adventure gone horribly wrong, including:
–”The Devil’s Thumb” by Jon Krakauer: the bestselling author recounts his perilous solo climb of Alaska’s infamous Devil’s Thumb
–”Surviving the St. Patrick” by Spike Walker: the crew of a fishing boat face crushing waves in the middle of a winter storm in the Gulf of Alaska
–”Look for a Corpse” by Larry Kaniut: a manburied by an avalanche fights to make it out alive
–”The Boat Journey” by Sir Ernest Shackleton: when his expedition’s ship is destroyed, Shackletonand five of hiscrewmembersresolve to cross 800ocean milesin a lifeboat to look for help
–And many more!
This is one of the finest and most extreme collections of true adventure ever assembled.From the Jaws of Death: Extreme True Adventures of Man vs. Nature
Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms,and a Vast Ocean of a Million Stories
Blending history and anecdote, geography and reminiscence, science and exposition, the New York Times bestselling author of Krakatoa tells the breathtaking saga of the magnificent Atlantic Ocean, setting it against the backdrop of mankind’s intellectual evolution.
Until a thousand years ago, no humans ventured into the Atlantic or imagined traversing its vast infinity. But once the first daring mariners successfully navigated to far shoreswhether it was the Vikings, the Irish, the Chinese, Christopher Columbus in the north, or the Portuguese and the Spanish in the souththe Atlantic evolved in the world’s growing consciousness of itself as an enclosed body of water bounded by the Americas to the West, and by Europe and Africa to the East. Atlantic is a biography of this immense space, of a sea which has defined and determined so much about the lives of the millions who live beside or near its tens of thousands of miles of coast.
The Atlantic has been central to the ambitions of explorers, scientists and warriors, and it continues to affect our character, attitudes, and dreams. Poets to potentates, seers to sailors, fishermen to forestersall have a relationship with this great body of blue-green sea and regard her as friend or foe, adversary or ally, depending on circumstance or fortune. Simon Winchester chronicles that relationship, making the Atlantic come vividly alive. Spanning from the earth’s geological origins to the age of exploration, World War II battles to modern pollution, his narrative is epic and awe-inspiring.
A Q&A with Author Simon Winchester
Q: Writing a biography of a massive subject like the Atlantic Ocean is audacious and seemingly daunting. What inspired you to write the book, how long did it take you, and what did your research entail?
Winchester: It occurred to me one afternoon while, for the umpteenth time, I was crossing the pond on a flight between London and New York, that we took the waters below us far too much for granted. I thought back to the first crossing I had ever made, back in 1963, on a shipand the romance of the ocean as I saw it thenand I decided that it could be very interesting to look into the role the Atlantic has played in humankinds history. I spent the next eighteen months travelling, going everywhere from the Faroes and Iceland in the north, to Tristan da Cunha and Patagonia in the south. The book itself took eight months to write, four to edit.
Q: What was the most unusual or fascinating fact you discovered while researching and writing Atlantic?
Winchester: I remain intrigued by the thought that the State of Israel was in effect born as a result of a lack of cordite in the Royal Navys ammunition stores during the Battle of the Atlantic in 1916. A White Russian biologist, Chaim Weizmann, at the time a professor at the University of Manchester, worked out how to solve this problem, and when the British government of the time offered to reward him for his game-changing invention, he declinedasking only for Arthur Balfour to make his famous Declaration of 1917, which led to the formation of Israel.
Q: Why is the Atlantic significant in the development of Western civilization? Is there one important thing about the ocean we should know but do not?
Winchester: The first true parliamentary democracy was founded in the Atlantic, in Iceland in the tenth centuryand the concept spread rapidly through northern Europe. It was then followed in short order by the establishment of a similarly organized network of traders and trade routes, the so-called Hanseatic leaguers. That two such crucial aspects of modern human civilizationgovernment and tradeare based still today on principles laid down beside the Atlantic Ocean is a fact little remembered by most and when I found the story out, it astonished and delighted me.
Q: You are a sailor yourself. Have you sailed the Atlantic? What was the experience like?
Winchester: I have sailed the entire Indian Ocean; and I have sailed a little in the South Atlanticundertaking the voyage in a tiny (30ft) steel gaff-rigged schooner. But while I had few major problems sailing between the coasts of India and South Africa, once I had rounded the bend, as it were, and passed into the Atlantic, everything changed: the sea became very rough and (a particular problem in a steel yacht) very cold. And so I abandoned the Atlantic attempta decision that gives me ever greater respect today for the ocean itself, and for those sailors who are brave and determined enough to sail it. (In my defensesince 16 year olds now make the journeyI should point out that I went out without radio or radar, and with only a sextant as a navigation aid. GPS and e-mail make modern yachting a somewhat less arduous business. But the inescapable fact that I wiped out troubles me still. A bit.)
Q: How do todays giant cruise ships compare to their predecessors like the Queen Mary or the Titanic? Have we lost something fundamental in how we experience the ocean with modernization?
Winchester: I detest the big cruise ships of today, immense Vegas style monstrosities filled with amusements specifically designedor so it seemsutterly to detach the passenger from the realities of the ocean he is crossing (and to make even more money for the shipowners, of course). One surely goes to sea to experience the sea, it seems to meand if you are in a gigantic floating play-center, and one that barely moves with the waves, then why not just stay home, and in doing so burn less fuel and pollute the world a little less?
Q: Is it possible for 21st century humans to regain a sense of awe and respect for this magnificent natural wonder? What might it take for us to do so?
Winchester: It is my fond hope that just a few good people who may read and like this book will stop for a moment, and perhaps then begin to think about and regard the ocean in a different way. And then maybe go down to the shore and look at it, and consider some of its wonders. And then, most importantly, tell the next generation that this body of water, like all the great oceanic bodies of water on the planet, is a rare and precious entity deserving of our care and our respect. I realize this may be no more than wishful thinking: but after writing this book I have come to feel a very powerful connection with the Atlantic Ocean, and I so very much want others to look at it in the same way.
Q: How does the Atlantic compare to other oceans? What makes it special/unique?
Winchester: Of the worlds great oceans the Atlantic is not the biggest; it is not the prettiest; it is not the most benign. But it does possess the greatest concentration of the marker-events of human history. And if, as seems unarguable, the Mediterranean could once fairly be said to have been the inland sea of classical civilization, then surely the Atlantic Ocean, by virtue of this huge concentration of ideas, events, inventions and developments, has become, and unarguably also, the inland sea of modern civilization. No other ocean comes close to filling this role which is why the Atlantic rises, head and shoulders, above all of its taller, prettier and calmer maritime cousins.
In a narrative tour de force, Simon Winchester dramatises the life of the Atlantic Ocean, from its birth in the farther recesses of geological time to its eventual extinction millions of years in the future. At the core of the book is the story of mankind’s complex relationship with this immense sea, which stretches for 9,000 miles from pole to pole. The Atlantic has profoundly influenced the lives of those who have lived along its shores, from hardscrabble pioneers in windswept locations such as the Aran Islands and Newfoundland, to the inhabitants of the great port cities of Lisbon, Rio, London and New York. ATLANTIC brings to life key episodes in this compelling human drama – the age of exploration and the subsequent colonisation of the Americas; the flourishing of transatlantic commerce and the rise and fall of the slave trade; extraordinary tales of sea-borne emigration during the nineteenth century; and the great naval battles that have left an indelible imprint on Atlantic history. Travelling by small sailing craft, container ship and general cargo vessel, Simon Winchester will journey around the edges and across the vast expanse of the ocean to report from the places that encapsulate its most fascinating stories. It is an enthralling mixture of history, science and reportage from a master of narrative non-fiction, and the definitive account of this magnificent body of water.