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The Wager : a tale of shipwreck, mutiny and murder  Cover Image Book Book

The Wager : a tale of shipwreck, mutiny and murder / David Grann.

Grann, David, (author.).


A story of shipwreck, survival, and savagery, culminating in a court martial that reveals a shocking truth. On January 28, 1742, a ramshackle vessel of patched-together wood and cloth washed up on the coast of Brazil. Inside were thirty emaciated men, barely alive, and they had an extraordinary tale to tell. They were survivors of His Majesty's Ship the Wager, a British vessel that had left England in 1740 on a secret mission during an imperial war with Spain. While the Wager had been chasing a Spanish treasure-filled galleon known as "the prize of all the oceans," it had wrecked on a desolate island off the coast of Patagonia. The men, after being marooned for months and facing starvation, built the flimsy craft and sailed for more than a hundred days, traversing 2500 miles of storm-wracked seas. They were greeted as heroes. But then-- six months later-- another, even more decrepit craft landed on the coast of Chile. This boat contained just three castaways, and they had a very different story to tell. The thirty sailors who landed in Brazil were not heroes-- they were mutineers. The first group responded with countercharges of their own, of a tyrannical and murderous captain and his henchmen. It became clear that while stranded on the island the crew had fallen into anarchy, with warring factions fighting for dominion over the barren wilderness. As accusations of treachery and murder flew, the Admiralty convened a court martial to determine who was telling the truth. The stakes were life-and-death-for whomever the court found guilty could hang.

Record details

  • ISBN: 9780385534260 (hardcover)
  • ISBN: 0385534264 (hardcover)
  • Physical Description: xii, 329 pages, 16 unnumbered leaves of plates : illustrations (some color), maps ; 25 cm
  • Edition: First edition.
  • Publisher: New York : Doubleday, [2023].

Content descriptions

Bibliography, etc. Note:
Includes bibliographical references (pgs. 265-313) and index.
Formatted Contents Note:
Author's Note -- Prologue -- Part One: The Wooden World -- The First Lieutenant -- A Gentleman Volunteer -- The Gunner -- Part Two: Into the Storm -- Dead Reckoning -- The Storm Within the Storm -- Alone -- The Gulf of Pain -- Part Three: Castaways -- Wreckage -- The Beast -- Our New Town -- Nomads of the Sea -- The Lord of Mount Misery -- Extremities -- Affections of the People -- The Ark -- My Mutineers -- Part Four: Deliverance -- Byron's Choice -- Port of God's Mercy -- The Haunting -- The Day of Our Deliverance -- Part Five: Judgment -- A Literary Rebellion -- The Prize -- Grub Street Hacks -- The Docket -- The Court-Martial -- The Version That Won -- Epilogue -- Acknowledgments -- Notes -- Selected Bibliography -- Index.
Subject: Wager (Ship)
Shipwrecks > Patagonia (Argentina and Chile)
Shipwreck victims > Patagonia (Argentina and Chile)
Shipwreck victims > Great Britain.
Mutiny > Great Britain.

Available copies

  • 85 of 117 copies available at SPARK Libraries. (Show)
  • 1 of 1 copy available at Juniata County.


  • 11 current holds with 117 total copies.
Show Only Available Copies
Location Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Status Due Date
Juniata County Library 910.916 GRA (Text) 39640100657723 JUNM Non-Fiction Available -

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