Literary Quote of the Month

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

Monday, August 28, 2023

Memoir Monday... or rather Ironing out the Truths of History

The Wager, A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder by David Grann... 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 nearly 3,000 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 told a very different story. 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 senior officer 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.

The Wager is on all the Buzz lists. Descriptions like Masterful, a Tour de Force, Incredible have all been used to describe it. Although not a Memoir, the base of its' essence is memoirs. The diaries and journals David Grann could find to lay out all the players and their accounts of the HMS Wager and what happened to the ship and its' crew. Years of research. It sounds so interesting to me. And I am also curious as to the different accounts of what happened. Published by Doubleday ( and found on the Penguin Randomhouse website), The Wager is available at your favorite bookstore! 


Deb Nance at Readerbuzz said...

I read Killers of the Flower Moon last year for the first time, and I found it to be a very well-written nonfiction story. I'm thinking about The Wager.

Harvee said...

Sounds intriguing. Long ship rides are on my mind as I just finished a book, thriller, about an ocean liner with missing passengers facing an uncertain future.

Happy reading week.

Harvee at

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