From the list on true-life sea adventures that blow you overboard.
Who am I?
You have to appreciate the intrepid nature of those who ventured out to sea in the days before satellite-enabled navigation, modern weather forecasting, and Coast Guard rescue swimmers. The books I’ve listed span a time of great global exploration occurring simultaneously with the engines of novel economic development. Most of that development was based on the exploitation of human and natural resources. A thread of curiosity through all of these picks is how those individuals most directly involved in its physical pursuit and transport were rarely the same who benefitted from it. But instead lived lives of constant hardship and danger – profiting, if at all, only in the adventure itself.
Kevin's book list on true-life sea adventures that blow you overboard
Why did Kevin love this book?
The near-savant brilliance of Charles Wilkes, captain of the U.S. Exploring Expedition (1838-1842), is prominently tee’d up here by Philbrick (one of our greatest writers of lesser-known nautical history), as is his jealous, petty, venal and stubborn mindset which ultimately was his undoing.
Also the primary reason you’ve never really heard of this remarkable scientific voyage that set out to map the entire Pacific Ocean and even named the newly discovered Antarctic continent. I was surprised to learn the Exploring Expedition was much more ambitious than the overland Lewis and Clark trek, scooped up infinitely more specimens of natural history and scientific data – but was nearly completely forgotten in our history books.
Philbrick untangles the perils and personalities to help us understand why.