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Not Without Hope Hardcover – March 2, 2010

4.3 out of 5 stars 116 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“A harrowing account of his grim ordeal at sea...a nightmare of exhaustion, madness and death.” (Washington Post)

“Eye-opener.” (USA Today)

“Still haunted by the experience and the rumors that followed...Schuyler has written a memoir to set the record straight.” (People)

“A harrowing tale...The story [that] made headlines all over the world.” (New York Post)

“A compelling account of tragedy at sea.” (Cleveland Plain Dealer)

“A profoundly sad struggle.” (Bloomberg News)

From the Back Cover

On February 28, 2009, Nick Schuyler, a twenty-four-year-old personal trainer, left for a deep-sea fishing trip with three friends: NFL players Marquis Cooper and Corey Smith, and Will Bleakley, his best friend, who once played football for the University of South Florida.

It was supposed to be a day of fun and relaxation aboard Cooper's twenty-one-foot boat, which anchored seventy miles west of Tampa, Florida, in the Gulf of Mexico. The friends were out to catch some amberjack and grouper and maybe a few sharks. They planned to drink a few beers, have some laughs, and get home before an approaching cold front hit.

As the seas began to swell and the winds picked up in the late afternoon, they packed their gear and decided to head to shore. One problem. The anchor was stuck.

Inexperienced boaters, they made what would become a fatal mistake, tying the anchor rope to the stern of the boat and hitting the throttle. The anchor did not yank free. Instead, the stern sank and filled with water, and the boat capsized.

And so the nightmare began. The men had to forage for life jackets beneath the boat. They had no emergency beacon to alert authorities, and their cell phones didn't work so far out in the Gulf. With no food or water, the men clung to the overturned hull through the night as the seas roughened and the cloudy sky became inky black. They were continuously tossed from the boat by brutal waves, and sometimes found each other only by swimming toward their friends' voices.

During the rare lull, they would pray and talk about the ones they loved, what they would've done differently with their lives, and what they would do once they returned home. As the hours passed, the four friends, who had grown up as athletes, worked as a team in their desperate bid to survive. They battled hypothermia, hallucinations, hunger, dehydration, and huge waves.

A witness to incredible heroism and unspeakable tragedy, Nick remained at sea for more than forty hours, holding on, hoping against hope and clinging to the thought that he couldn't bear to have his mother attend his funeral.

Not Without Hope is much more than a story of survival. It is an inspiring story of friendship, resolve, and courage.


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; 1 edition (March 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061993999
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061993992
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (116 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,006,666 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
On February 28, 2009 four friends... excited as little kids... headed out on a fishing trip in Clearwater, Florida. The fact that all four young men were exceptionally physically fit makes the tragedy at sea that occurred hours later even more shocking to their loved ones... and the world at large. The four men were Nick Schuyler a physical trainer... Will Bleakley a former college football player... Corey Smith a professional football player... and Marquis Cooper a professional football player. The "excuse" for the fishing trip (as if an excuse was needed)... was that Marquis was getting ready to head out to the Oakland Raiders training camp. Marquis owned a twenty-one-foot, three-thousand-plus-pound boat and he wanted to get one more day of fishing in before succumbing to the brutality of an NFL training camp. All the guys were almost giddy with anticipation. Will and Nick were best friends and Corey and Marquis were new friends and training associates. Sandwiches were made... beer was packed... and Marquis had an unbelievable collection of fishing necessities.

The morning of the fishing trip Nick's Dad Stu who knew of the fella's fishing trip woke up early "TURNED ON THE TELEVISION AND SAW THAT A FORCEFUL UPPER AIR DISTURBANCE WAS APPROACHING THE SOUTHEASTERN UNITED STATES FROM THE NORTHWEST." Stu called his son and his call went directly to voice mail: "NICK, IF YOU GET THIS MESSAGE, HEAD BACK EARLY. A BIG STORM'S COMING IN."

What would follow is the death of three of the four men. This story is told in an unrelenting... heart pounding... literally spell binding manner... that will continue to assault your senses... as assuredly as the next wave would unmercifully pound Nick, Will, Corey... and Marquis.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The pettiness and the greatness of man

Buy the book and read it; it is hard to put down. I'll comment about the writing of the book and then about the story.
The survival story is gripping, as I said. Yet, since every book about someone stranded at sea goes into the survivor's reflections about his own life, beware that in this case the survivor is a 24 YO bodybuilder. His life might not interest the reader as much so skim through those sections and you'll loose nothing. AH, beware also that the book is plagued with "Me's" and "I's" so if you are intolerant to self-centeredness go get your anti-acid before you start to read.

Before I turn to my opinion about the story, I'll tell you that I agree with others that have commented that the narrative seems a little strange. One example is enough to show this: they are dying of thirst and suddenly Will retrieves a Gatorade from the capsized boat. First the author says "I didn't drink it right away" as if he were the only one in the boat and as if he had recovered it and not somebody else who should drink first. But not only that. They decide to drink only half and then the story keeps going without ever saying what happened to the other half of this vital supply. Isn't that weird?

No, I will give a second example: they have been stranded suffering from hypothermia and hanging from the boat with their fingernails. Waves come and go and suddenly the author says "by the way, I had previously managed to get on the boat". What??? Is that not like something you tell every detail about? Well, enough about the narrative, let me go briefly into the story.
I have to say I was astonished. The story shows the pettiness and the greatness of human beings in the course of 48 hours.
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1 Comment 12 of 13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
I followed this story on the news as it was happening and live in the same area, but I am one who only heard what was on TV or in the paper and we all know how they easily twist the facts. I wanted to know more and how it really happened. I bought this book and could not put it down. It is so detailed, it makes you/me feel like I really knew him, and the others. Every time I say something like.... its cold, in my mind I think its not bad at all compared to what they went through, in the water! This was a very SAD story and I shed a few tears for the men and families, but think the worst is those who dare criticize someone who lost his 3 best friends. I would love to see the tables turned.....
1 Comment 21 of 25 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
This was one of the best non-fiction books I've read in a long time. It's disturbing, but truthful. You know the ending, but this explains how everything went down that weekend. I cried a few days, and laughed a few, but mostly read it so intensely that I couldn't help from turning page after page despite the fact that my clock read 3:00 a.m. just a few pages from the end of the book.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Nick is not one to dive beneath life's surface now, before, or during the accident. There is is a sense that more is waiting to be told.

When his friends counted on him to help retrieve life jackets from the boat, he refused to dive under. But 24 hours later when Nick was the sole survivor, he suddenly was able to search under the craft.

When Corey wanted a chance to climb on the boat, Nick fought him off. Then he justifies it by saying, "There isn't room." Why didn't they take turns on the boat? Why was Corey always the one left in the water? Nick says that Corey went crazy at the end. Maybe Corey was mad as hell that Nick would not share the safe spot.

Maybe Corey was mad as hell that Nick took it upon himself to declare Marquis's death. Nick let Marquis float away and fifteen minutes later, Nick says, Corey went crazy on him. Did Nick have any prior experience in declaring people dead? And once Marquis was gone, why wouldn't Nick let Corey on? Nick says he was holding on to Corey for Corey's sake but maybe Nick was holding Corey OFF the boat. Only Nick knows and only Nick will always know. I wonder how any of us would handle ourselves out in the middle of a stormy ocean when that human survival instinct kicks in.

Nick details his efforts to save the others and the tale as told is spellbinding but only because it offers insight into one man's death defying efforts to survive deep, frigid, roiling waters. Without a doubt, Nick battled the elements. His fortitude is inspirational. But a surface kind of guy comes off shallow in the telling of his story.
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