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Adrift: Seventy-six Days Lost at Sea Paperback – October 17, 2002
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About the Author
Steven Callahan is the author of Adrift, Seventy-Six Days Lost at Sea, which chronicles his life-raft drift across half the Atlantic in 1982, became an NYT Bestseller and has been translated into 15 languages. He also wrote Capsized for survivor Jim Nalepka who spent four months with four other men on an overturned, half-flooded boat. Callahan has contributed writings, illustrations, and photos to more than a dozen other books, many about seamanship or survival, and has authored hundreds of articles for the marine press worldwide. His website is www.stevencallahan.net.
- Publisher : Mariner Books (October 17, 2002)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 237 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0618257322
- ISBN-13 : 978-0618257324
- Reading age : 14 years and up
- Item Weight : 9.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.68 x 8.25 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #27,781 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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A great short read that I love going back to ever so often to be reminded how tough the human spirit can be.
Structurally you could divide it into two parts. In the first half, tension builds as he faces probable death and gradually loses one safety margin after another. His speargun snaps, then he springs a leak. On and on until he reaches his lowest ebb, a sort of near-death experience. After that, hope builds and excitement rises as he starts to approach land.
As an authentic first-hand account, it is reasonably engaging, but not exactly literature. It is structured as a diary, each day focusing on the pressing need to catch fish and water, as well as take care of bodily functions. What I find of interest is his train of thought, the feelings and emotions of one who faces death at any moment. So its not a bad read, but I felt he could have spiced it up a bit more by reminiscing about his life up to that moment, what brought him there, his marriage perhaps, his spiritual beliefs. The fairly dry text is also augmented by his own pencil sketches, which I find rather ugly.
Anyone battling demons of their own will find solace in Callahan's struggle to survive, which is a metaphor for all mens' struggles to survive an often hostile world with often insurmountable odds.
"I imagine two stone-faced poker players throwing chips into a pile. One player is named Rescue and the other is Death. The stakes keep getting bigger and bigger. The pile of chips now stands as tall as a man and as big around as a raft. Somebody is going to win soon."
The ocean, the sharks, the weather, and hunger are all metaphors for the demons we all battle on a daily basis: joblessness, despair, jealousy, hatred, vengeance. Yet, depite the terrible privations he experiences on the sea, Callahan also experiences moments of profound solace:
"As I look out of the raft, I see God's face in the smooth waves, His grace in the dorado's swim, feel His breath against my cheek as it sweeps down from the sky. I see that all creation is made in His image."
A truly remarkable tale of survival against the odds, "Adrift" is a a great gift for anyone going through a crisis. It will remind him that "...to be well fed, painless, and in the company of friends and loved ones are privileges too few enjoy in this often brutal world." Well said Callahan!
He includes drawings and descriptions of the various repairs and adaptations that enabled him to survive. I appreciate that the Kindle version included the drawings though they were a little hard to make out. He also describes how he navigated, as well as his physical condition which became very bad from starvation and the constant exposure to salt water. Glad to know that Steven Callahan continues to write about sailing, and that he was a consultant for the film version of Life of Pi.
Top reviews from other countries
It never occurred to him to fail and give in; you will not forget what a human being is capable of.