The Wager by David Grann A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder

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The Wager by David Grann

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(8 customer reviews)
The Wager by David Grann
The Wager by David Grann A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder $40.00 Original price was: $40.00.$12.99Current price is: $12.99.

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The Wager by David Grann

Editorial Reviews



“The most gripping sea-yarn I’ve read in years….A tour de force of narrative nonfiction. Mr. Grann’s account show how storytelling, whether to judges or readers, can shape individual and national fortunes – as well as our collective memories.”
Wall Street Journal 

“Glorious, steely…a tightly written, relentless, blow-by-blow account that is hard to put down”The Washington Post

“As much a rousing adventure as an exploration of the power of narratives to shape our perception of reality.”  —
The New York Times

“Propulsive….finely-detailed…a ripping yarn…remarkable.” —
The Boston Globe

“Riveting…The Wager reads like a thriller, tackling a multilayered history—and imperialism—with gusto.” —
Time Magazine

“The beauty of The Wager unfurls like a great sail…He fixes his spyglass on the ravages of empire, of racism, of bureaucratic indifference and raw greed…one of the finest nonfiction books I’ve ever read.” — The Guardian (UK)
“The story of the shipwreck and its aftermath features scenery-chewing characters, unexpected twists and an almost unimaginable amount of human misery. Grann, the author of the acclaimed “Killers of the Flower Moon,” tells it with style. He manages to wring maximum drama out of the events and sketch out nuanced portraits of key players on the doomed ship.”
Associated Press

“His dogged search through ships’ logs and other contemporaneous accounts of the disaster and its mutinous aftermath has turned up the kind of sterling details that make his writing sing; he is also interested in the way these events were recorded and then recounted, with many different people trying to shape the memory of what happened. Grann simultaneously reconstructs history while telling a tale that is as propulsive and adventure-filled as any potboiler.”
The Atlantic

“A genre-defying literary naval-history thriller, part Master and Commander, part Lord of the Flies” — Vanity Fair
“A thrilling account…dramatic and engrossing.” —
The Economist

“This astonishing tale of maritime warfare, mutiny and survival in the 18th-century Atlantic proves that a nonfiction book can be as thrilling as any summer blockbuster.”
— People

“The Wager” is a soaring literary accomplishment and seductive adventure tale… enthralling, seamlessly crafted… ‘The Wager’ then, is an accomplishment as vividly realized and ingeniously constructed as Grann’s previous work, on par with Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air and Sebastian Junger’s The Perfect Storm. Welcome a classic.” 
Minneapolis Star Tribune

“A masterclass in story-telling…With a series of twists and turns worthy of a well-plotted thriller, the author of ‘Killers of the Flower Moon,’ uncovers an epic sea-faring tale…Epic true story as told by a master… David Grann has produced this riveting book…with the artistry of a superb novelist.” —
The Toronto Star

“[Grann’s] meticulously researched stories, with their spare, simmering setups that almost always deliver stunning payoffs, have made him one of the preeminent adventure and true-crime writers working today…[Grann] has mastered a streamlined, propulsive type of narrative that readers devour for its hide-and-seek reveals…David’s stuff reads like literature, but every detail, every quote, every seemingly implausible glimpse into a subject’s mind is accounted for”
New York Magazine
“Your favorite writer’s favorite writer for decades…David Grann is poised to become the moment’s leading storyteller… [Grann] specializes in gripping historical chronicles and crime stories…so rich in intrigue that they would strain credulity in fiction…[Grann’s] become one of our culture’s leading sources of holy shit page-turners.” —
“David Grann is one of the premier nonfiction storytellers of our time…Grann’s masterful new book…is at once an adventure on the high seas, a horror story, and a courtroom drama — a little bit Rashomon meets Lord of the Flies.” —
Rolling Stone

“Not just a good but a great story, fraught with duplicity, terror and occasional heroism… the story of the Wager is, like many of its antecedents — from Homer’s “Odyssey” to “Mutiny on the Bounty” — a testament to the depths of human depravity and the heights of human endurance, and you can’t ask for better than that from a story…The Wager will keep you in its grip to its head-scratching, improbable end.”Los Angeles Times

About the Author

DAVID GRANN is the author of the #1 New York Times bestsellers KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON and THE LOST CITY OF Z. KILLERS OF THE FLOWER MOON was a finalist for the National Book Award and won an Edgar Allan Poe Award. He is also the author of THE WHITE DARKNESS and the collection THE DEVIL AND SHERLOCK HOLMES. Grann’s investigative reporting has garnered several honors, including a George Polk Award. He lives with his wife and children in New York.

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Additional information

Dimensions 0.88 × 9.18 cm
Publisher ‏

‎ Random House Large Print; Large type / Large print edition (April 18, 2023)

Language ‏

‎ English

Paperback ‏

‎ 528 pages

ISBN-10 ‏

‎ 0593678257

ISBN-13 ‏

‎ 978-0593678251

Item Weight ‏

‎ 1.06 pounds

Dimensions ‏

‎ 6.03 x 0.88 x 9.18 inches

8 reviews for The Wager by David Grann A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder

  1. J-Readsalot

    It seems to me there have often been romanticizing of sea voyages of the 17th, 18th, and even the 19th centuries. Perhaps with exception of Mutiny on the Bounty, movies of larger than life heroes and brave captains fighting off pirates never fully depict the horrible reality of life on any of those warships. David Grann’s detailed story of the doomed Wager voyage quickly puts an end to any romantic fantasies of life at sea. Ships then were crowded , dark and filthy. Living quarters were extremely small, cramped, hot and putrid smelling, infested with rats and other vermin. They were often leaky with constant need to pump seawater out. Stouthearted hardworking sailors in those days endured suchthings, as well as, poor and sometimes rotten food, They often became gravely ill with scurvy.This is the backdrop for an ill fated mission and a series of bad decisions, unimaginable violent storms, and a stubborn mission blinded captain who won’t concede to the reality of failure once the Wager is shipwrecked. Despite the desperate living conditions and having no ship, he irrationally pushes to find a way to continue the mission of capturing a treasure laden Spanish galleon. The tedium of the crew’s brutal fight for life in it’s excruciating detail as days, weeks and months pass bring the reader into a fuller understanding of the conditions and what they endured.A number of men, including the captain, eventually survive. In various separate small groups each with their own first hand versions of the events eventually stagger back to England where they face Court Marshall. The intricacies of the CourtMarshal, its final decision and what happens to the individuals make for a gripping ending.The book is full of fascinating facts that the reader probably hasn’t encountered before. It reads at times like a novel. A 4 star adventure story

  2. amachinist

    David Grann, an award winner non-fiction author, has done his best to tease out the facts of the history of the British vessel, the Wager. Britain was at war with Spain. In 1740, the re-fitted merchant ship, Wager, joined a fleet setting out to capture a Spanish galleon loaded with treasure. The galleon had been sighted off the coast of Patagonia. Many on the Wager were enlisted naval men, but most were “pressed” into service and were of questionable character. On route, typhus killed the Captain and many of the original crew. Other sailors succumbed to scurvy. A young, inexperienced Captain, David Cheap was put in command of the Wager. Severe storms in the Strait of Magellan in addition to faulty navigation techniques, caused the Wager to shipwreck on a desolate island. There were sailors, who could not swim and they drowned in their attempts to swim ashore.The survivors were weak, starving and frightened. Many were angry at the Captain and blamed the shipwreck on him. Three sects formed: those loyal to their Captain, those loyal to the gunner, John Bulkeley, and those loyal only to themselves. Captain Cheap did his best to keep a “stiff upper lip” and impose the chain of command codified by the British Navy. Cheap shot and killed one sailor for stealing from their meager food supplies. This deepened the rift and strife among the factions.Separate groups sailed for home at different times and some made it to Britain. Once the history of the Wager was revealed, a court-martial tribunal was formed against the mutineers. If found guilty, they would be hanged. In the end, all were acquitted. Was this a “white-wash” by the British naval court or a moment of compassion and contrition? Several of the survivors wrote their own accounts of the wreck of the Wager. Between the embellishments and omissions to save their own necks and their naval careers, the sailors published their yarns. Grann deserves kudos for trying to present the many sides of this navalepisode.

  3. Dave Schwinghammer

    In 1740, Five ships, including the Wager, sailed with a fleet of five under Commodore Anson to confront the Spanish and capture a galleon with a fortune in gold and silver. They pretty much knew where she’d be, off the coast of Patagonia, and they would have to sail through the tempests of the Strait of Magellan.Before they could start, they had to wait for the restoration being done on The Wager, which had previously been a merchant ship, and they needed to find a crew. Eventually they had to settle for some of the dregs of society, and they would pay for it later.Once at seas many of the 2,000 men contracted typhus and Anson lost many men before he could even attempt to sail through the straits. Once they landed in Brazil another plague attacked the crew, scurvy, a lack of Vitamin C, which took more men than typhus had and weakened the others.Lieutenant Cheap a subordinate officer on board the Centurion, Anson’s flag ship, ultimately became captain of the Wager, when the original captain died of scurvy. Once inside the strait, the Wager lost site of the rest of the fleet and was bombarded by the winds and the storms, losing more men yet. Once they exited the strait they were confronted by more high winds and the Wager suffered a shipwreck. Cheap and the men on board made it to a spit of land that would later be called Wager Island.They soon ran out of food and the men began to starve. They broke off into factions. They could have been saved if they had treated the Indigenous tribe that tried to help them better. Ultimately the Indians disappeared. Cheap wanted to take the long boat from The Wager north to reconnoiter with Anson at an arranged site. They tried several times but the storms drove them back. Bulkeley, the respected gunner’s mate on board the Wager, led a faction that wanted to go back across the strait and try to find the original landing spot in Brazil. Mutiny resulted, and Cheap went so far as to kill one of the seamen.Eventually some of these men returned to England and faced court martial. Bulkeley kept a journal that he published as a book. It became one of David Grann’s sources, but there were several other books published that used not only Bulkeley’s journal but Cheap’s account of what happened. They were all extremely popular.One of the sailers a Midshipman named Byron stuck with Cheap after joining Bulkeley’s group for a brief time. His grandson was the famous poet Lord Byron.All you need to do is check out Grann’s acknowledgments, bibliography and Index to learn how hard this guy worked on this book. He should get another mention National Book Award. He’s already been on “60 Minutes”. That’s why I read the book.

  4. Ron

    Can’t wait for the moviethis was a great story and the fact many of the passages came from the actual voyage logs made it more realistic. But read it on your kindal as there are many nautical terms and vintage words from the 1700’s you may need to look up.

  5. Jorge P. Castello

    About The Wager storyThe Wager is an excellent book. Very well written keeps the reader a captive. Based upon actual events the author shows a master quality for understanding several and rich human qualities.

  6. Raghu

    Page turner.Just like his previous book, this real story too is gripping from start to end. Would recommend to anyone who likes to read historical non fiction.

  7. Kindle Customer

    Excellent readPage Turner ! Who needs fiction when you have books likes this one

  8. Richard Stark


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