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Adrift: Seventy-six Days Lost at Sea [Kindle Edition]

Steven Callahan
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (394 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Before The Perfect Storm, before In the Heart of the Sea, Steven Callahan’s dramatic tale of survival at sea was on the New York Times bestseller list for more than thirty-six weeks. In some ways the model for the new wave of adventure books, Adrift is an undeniable seafaring classic, a riveting firsthand account by the only man known to have survived more than a month alone at sea, fighting for his life in an inflatable raft after his small sloop capsized only six days out. “Utterly absorbing” (Newsweek), Adrift is a must-have for any adventure library.

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

YA Sailing Napoleon Solo in a single-handed Mini-Transat race from Spain to Antigua, Callahan was west of the Canary Islands when he realized that his sailboat was sinking. He managed to grab the life raft, a knife, his emergency duffel bag, a piece of mains'l, and a sleeping bag. These items became his home and sole possessions for 76 days. Loneliness, hunger, thirst, pain, and weakness dogged Callahan, yet his ingenuity and knowledge of the sea enabled him to survive. The illustrations and diagrams of life aboard Rubber Ducky III enable readers to visualize the hardshipsthe cramped living space of the raft, the hundreds of salt water sores that covered his body, the foreboding appearance of an approaching storm, or the primitive method used to collect fresh water. Harassed by sharks and dorados; at the mercy of storms; sore, cold, and miserable, Callahan shows fortitude and perseverance. An excellent book for all YAs, whether sailors or landlubbers. Pam Spencer, Mount Vernon High School Library, Fairfax, Va.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Callahan, a marine architect, lost his boat in a storm off the Canary Islands while engaged in a singlehanded race across the Atlantic in 1981. Luckily, he carried far more than the basic emergency equipment required, e.g., a six-person raft. Before sinking he was able to recover his emergency equipment bag and his life raft. Callahan admits to having read the survival accounts of Maurice and Maralyn Bailey ( Staying Alive , 1974) and Dougal Robertson ( Survive the Savage Sea , 1973) and even had the latter's manual Sea Survival (1975) with him in the raft. What makes his story different was his lack of a companion. Through his own ingenuity he learned how to spear fish, fix his solar still, and even repair his holed raft. This is a real human drama that delves deeply into a man's survival instincts. It should be read by anyone venturing offshore in a small boat. John Kenny, San Francisco P.L.
Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 2314 KB
  • Print Length: 260 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0618257322
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; Reprint edition (October 17, 2002)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0042JSNQI
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #39,079 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
110 of 114 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A revealing odyssey May 13, 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the fascinating story of a resourceful sailor who drifted in a life raft across the Atlantic Ocean. Unlike other adventurers who have chronicled solo transoceanic journeys (Joshua Slocum, Thor Heyerdahl, Alain Bombard, William Willis, etc.), his journey was unplanned. After the sudden sinking of his sailboat, he had to hurriedly abandon ship into an inflatable life raft with whatever supplies he could snatch. His seventy-six day ordeal takes place in this constantly leaking raft too small to accommodate his full body length. He knows from the outset that his food and water supplies are inadequate. His story of survival thus becomes not one of simple endurance, but a confrontation of many external and internal challenges ranging from securing food and water to dealing with isolation and despair. He meets these with remarkable ingenuity and determination. Forced into introspection that borders on the mystical at times, his reflections on how his mindset and personal characteristics responded to these challenges make for as fascinating an inner journey as the one his body endured. This is what separates this from most adventure stories, and why I think it will endure as a classic of the genre.
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52 of 58 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Truly Scary Tale At Sea July 14, 2003
Steven Callahan is a blessed man. This true story is one of the most harrowing accounts of survival in a truly hopeless situation. He capsizes in minutes in the middle of the night with a raft and not much more. Nobody knows he's missing. No one is looking for him.
Told with desperation and some much needed occasional humor, Callahan paints a story so real and frought with fear that you can read it in one sitting. It is difficult to imagine what one would do in a similiar situation and the very thought of it is spine tingling.
This is a tale for every person who ever took to the water and every adventurer who feels safe in thier environment. You will never take the ocean for granted again after reading this book.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
Steven Callahan's story of sheer determination is one of the best survival tales since Swiss Family Robinson. I believe the book's most powerful asset lays within the nararation though, having the story told by the actual survivor gives the reader an extremely good feeling of what it was like on that small raft. The nararation also opens the mind of the author so the reader can experience first hand Callahan's struggle with sanity. The story starts in Callahan's boat as he attempts to sail around the whole world, alone. When disaster strikes Callahan's ever present knowledge of the sea is shown. Having grown up on a sailboat, one of my favorite features of the book is its vast variety of factual information pertaining to nautical exploration. Although the pictures were shown in rather awkward places at times (pages ahead of where they were to be talked about), they were extremely helpful and interesting as well. Overall I would say that Adrift by Steven Callahan is a great read. If you like stories of adventure, this is a dose and a half of pure survivalism, at its best. I feel that Callahan's story is so surreal that I could say that I might have serious reservations about actually going out on the open sea again, but not about picking up another book of this caliber.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read for action/survival fans July 28, 2000
By Davlo
I read this book for the first time about ten years ago and I have never forgotten it. It was one of the most compelling, absorbing books I've ever read, if not the most. How he survives is truly amazing, and this story belongs in the collection of anyone with an interest in true stories of survival. It made me wonder how I would handle such a situation, and would I be tough enough to make it. I'm sure anyone who reads this will ask themselves the very same questions.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great survival book! August 27, 2003
By AceAg82
This book is an excellent ocean survival story that kept me throughly entertained from start to finish. Honestly I couldn't put the book down. This book will change the way you look at your life. After you finish reading it, you won't take the simple things in life for granted anymore. If you enjoy true life adventure and survival books, then I suggest you read this one, it's excellent.
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31 of 38 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Incredible Survival, but Repetitive October 19, 2010
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was on the search for another adventure book (having read The Lone Survivor, Into Thin Air, Into the Wild, The Worst Journey in the World) and found this on many lists as a top read. My concern going into it was that it could get boring. I mean, how many different things can happen on a raft?

I bought the book anyways and gave it a shot. I enjoyed the first part of the book. He explains how he got started in the race that led him to his adventure. There are horrible days of rain, storms, sharks, fish getting teasingly close, nearby ships, thirst, hunger, etc. His ingenuity is incredible (solar stills, fish jerkey, etc.). But then, my concers with the book became reality. The story starts to repeat. Same stories of the same fish, same stories of rain, no water, etc. It is no doubt horrible and I can't imagine being with such small rations of water, however, as a read, it became repetitive.

I started skimming pages, then jumped to the final few chapters which again was exciting...his glimpse of land, rescue, and recovery.

In the end, it was an incredible tale of survival, ingenuity, and the will to live. As a read, in my opinion it became a bit repetitive. I didn't recommend it to my wife to read. What you think happens, is what happens.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book
Liked the book from the moment I started reading it. I like books about survival and how far the human mind and body can be pushed and this book is exactly that.
Published 3 days ago by Ruben Sanchez
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Talk about an enjoyable and exciting read gosh.
Published 13 days ago by Ken Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars Real survival story
Was this what All is Lost was based on? Seemed like some similar incidents took place. Good story and glad he lived to write the book.
Published 14 days ago by Jeanajoan
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly inspiring
It would be hard to describe this book without being cliche. There are many scenes which will stick with me, and along the way I've learned much about survival at sea, the tragedy... Read more
Published 22 days ago by Corey Brown
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome story!!!!
Awesome book!!!! Keeps you captivated throughout the entire book. Callahan is a very detailed, excellent writer. Read more
Published 29 days ago by SP
4.0 out of 5 stars You might think that the days and nights would be boring, lolling in...
A gripping description of what it took for the author to remain alive and sane during a grueling 76 days on a life raft as he drifted across the Atlantic. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
great book if you are a seafarer
Published 1 month ago by rixkix
5.0 out of 5 stars The greatest lost at sea book ever.
The greatest lost at sea book I've ever read. I don't know how this guy did it. What resilience!! Read this book and you'll feel guilty about complaining about your bad day. Read more
Published 1 month ago by eoz
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing story. I felt like I was on that ...
Amazing story. I felt like I was on that raft with him. The book was beautifully written and edited. A real nail biter. I got nothing else done until I had finished this one.
Published 1 month ago by connie
5.0 out of 5 stars Bought this for extra credit for my last college course ...
Bought this for extra credit for my last college course, but didn't need it so now I'm holding onto it for a rainy day.
Published 1 month ago by Maria Cutolo
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More About the Author

Steven Callahan is probably best known for completing an Atlantic crossing after losing his boat mid-ocean in 1982. For 76 days, he learned to live like an aquatic cave in a life raft and drifted 1,800 nautical miles, a voyage he chronicled in Adrift (Houghton Mifflin), which became a NY Times best seller and has been translated into 15 languages. He also authored Capsized (HarperCollins) for survivor Jim Nalepka who spent four months with four other men on an overturned, half-flooded boat, most of their time crammed into the space of a double bed with eighteen inches of headroom. Callahan has contributed writings, illustrations, and photos to more than a dozen other books, many about seamanship and/or survival, such as Michael Greenwald's Survivor, as well as authoring hundreds of articles for the marine press worldwide. He's served as contributing editor to Sailor and Sail magazines, and senior editor at Cruising World for which he continues to do special projects such as testing new boats and lifesaving equipment.

From the time he was a kid, Callahan was addicted to the water and boats, and by age 10 was whacking together barges using old roofing boards. He taught himself the basics of boat design and celestial navigation, and helped build a 40 footer prior to graduating high school. As an adult, he has spent more than 40 years in the marine and communications trades, first building boats, then designing and teaching design, as well as living aboard, racing, doing boat deliveries, writing, illustrating, and doing photography. His educational background in philosophy and the arts as well as boat design, and sailing more than 80,000 offshore miles, most shorthanded and on unusual craft, have inspired his primary literary and artistic goal to broaden the audience for maritime subjects by taking non-sailors into the unique and magnificent offshore world where universal human issues often are magnified. He is intrigued by not only the technical elements of boats and the sea but also by the human questions that arise when sailing in the world's greatest wilderness.

Callahan continues to write about and speak publicly on survival, voyaging, and seamanship, and has been frequently interviewed for television and other media programs. He resides with his wife in Maine where they enjoy living close to nature.

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Topic From this Discussion
Help, I need the name of a similar book
The man you are thinking of is Poon Lim, and the book is Sole Survivor
Mar 21, 2012 by Steven Callahan |  See all 6 posts
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