Decent but not that inspiring A good non fiction read for anyone who s dreamed about being a castaway on a deserted island and who hasn t This book tells the story of men and women who have been stranded on islands whether the tropical paradise we dream of or a rocky outcropping near Antarctica how they lived, how they survived, and how they were rescued I enjoyed this book, it s pretty well written and it s certainly entertaining If you re a bit bored by one story, it s easy enough to skip the next If you think you might ever be shipwrecked, it s a great read about how others have survived This compendium of South Seas adventures involving deserters, pirates and mutineers has a breezy tone that belies the horrifying reality of its true stories The author never romanticizes these tales of Europeans and Americans on expeditions that go terribly wrong, yet the idea of being abandoned to your own devices with no friends still somehow shimmers with romantic allure Alexander Selkirk s adventures on Mar a Tierra Island kick off the book in grand style Selkirk the real life adventurer on whom Defoe based Robinson Crusoe chooses to be left behind rather than continue a voyage on an English privateer captained by a lunatic, but his voluntary isolation soon leads him to despair He mopes on the beach, waiting in vain for another ship s sails to appear on the horizon, but what actually appears is a better cure for his loneliness than he ever could have imagined sea lions Mar a Tierra Island turns out to be the mating ground for a colony of sea lions, who arrive in such numbers that Selkirk is forced to flee his beach Wandering inland, he discovers a paradise abundant in goats, clear streams, wild root vegetables and house cats that had been stranded on the island during previous shipwrecks He finds a cave to live in, tames some goats, and spends the next four years in isolated bliss, teaching his domesticated animals to dance to sea shanteys, until Captain Woods Rogers accidentally lands on the island in 1709 and saves him.Other castaway adventures did not end so well Simmons tells the horrifying story of the whaleship Essex, which was battered to bits by an angry whale in 1821 Melville based Moby Dick on this episode The crew of the Essex take to their lifeboats, but, fearing that cannibals inhabit a nearby island downwind from them, they set a course against the currents and tradewinds for South America That nearby island was Tahiti and was actually inhabited by tribes friendly to Europeans, but because of the slow communications of the early 19th century, this discovery was not yet widely known Had they steered toward Tahiti, they would have been saved as it was, they exhausted their resources fighting the currents and began to die of hunger and thirst, and the survivors were forced to eat their starved shipmates for nourishment By fleeing supposed cannibals, the crew of the Essex were forced to become cannibals themselves, and only five of the 21 crew members survived.Simmons covers a wide span of time, from the early 17th to the mid 20th century, at an incredibly fast and entertaining clip The tales fall into two distinct camps happy stories of paradise on earth and relentlessly horrifying nightmares By the end of the book, you ll either want to drop everything and begin your own South Seas adventure or you ll curl deeper into your armchair and think twice about ever leaving the house again Avast, ye lubbers The Polynesian fantasy of pulling the plug on modern life and living on a tropical island immersed in the sensuality of the elements drew me to Castaway in Paradise Mr Simmons well researched stories about real life castaways has quelled my urge Still I enjoyed learning about the hardships of those unfortunate souls who found themselves struggling to survive in severe circumstances The harsh realities of Alexander Selkirk, the original Robinson Crusoe, stranded in the San Juan Fernandez Islands to the desperate crew of the Essex stove by a whale that inspired Herman Melville are presented here in rich detail The hermit of Suwarrow who chose to live alone on his tiny atoll in the South Pacific most closely embodies the spirit of the romantic castaway It is not that he didn t like people, it is all the noise of civilization that cluttered his mind and made him nervous He loved listening to the rustle of the palms staring at a searing sunset and sleeping to the sound of waves of the waves on the reef that circled his lagoon Anyone who relishes the idea of becoming a dedicated beach comber should read this book. Castaway In Paradise Explores The Reality In The Myth Through The Exciting Stories Of Castaways Who, Because Of Shipwrecks, Perfidious Sea Captains Or Their Own Choice, Found Them Selves True Life Robinson Crusoes From Alexander Selkirk, Defoe S Model For Crusoe, To Melville S Voluntary Marooning In The Marquesas Coming To The Present Time With Tom Neale, A Drifter From New Zealand Who Became The Hermit Of Suwarrow The Author Presents A Fascinating Array Of Castaways And Their Adventures I can t praise this book enough Thoroughly researched, the true historical stories of Castaways and survival will please any adventure lover As I read it I would exclaim out loud in disbelief and awe at the courage, endurance and luck of those written about Incredible stories which seem so incredible I had a few favourites and will return to this book again and again. I m not sure how I ran across this book, but it was on myWish List for awhile It is out of print, so I purchased a very nice used copy from a 3rd party seller onWhat could be better for a summer book, but an easy to read, interesting book about castaways Quite a good write up on various famous castaways and their adventures The chapter on Herman Melville was especially well done.
Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the Castaway in Paradise: The Incredible Adventures of True-Life Robinson Crusoes book, this is one of the most wanted James C. Simmons author readers around the world.
- 272 pages
- Castaway in Paradise: The Incredible Adventures of True-Life Robinson Crusoes
- James C. Simmons
- 06 January 2019 James C. Simmons