Left for Dead: Shipwreck, Treachery, and Survival at the Edge of the World (Hardcover)

Left for Dead: Shipwreck, Treachery, and Survival at the Edge of the World By Eric Jay Dolin Cover Image
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The true story of five castaways abandoned on the Falkland Islands during the War of 1812—a tale of treachery, shipwreck, isolation, and the desperate struggle for survival.

In Left for Dead, Eric Jay Dolin—“one of today’s finest writers about ships and the sea” (American Heritage)—tells the true story of a wild and fateful encounter between an American sealing vessel, a shipwrecked British brig, and a British warship in the Falkland archipelago during the War of 1812.

Fraught with misunderstandings and mistrust, the incident left three British sailors and two Americans, including the captain of the sealer, Charles H. Barnard, abandoned in the barren, windswept, and inhospitable Falklands for a year and a half. With deft narrative skill and unequaled knowledge of the very pith of the seafaring life, Dolin describes in vivid and harrowing detail the increasingly desperate existence of the castaways during their eighteen-month ordeal—an all-too-common fate in the Great Age of Sail.

A tale of intriguing complexity, with surprising twists and turns throughout—involving greed, lying, bullying, a hostile takeover, stellar leadership, ingenuity, severe privation, endurance, banishment, the great value of a dog, the birth of a baby, a perilous thousand-mile open-ocean journey in a seventeen-foot boat, an improbable rescue mission, and legal battles over a dubious and disgraceful wartime prize—Left for Dead shows individuals in wartime under great duress acting both nobly and atrociously, and offers a unique perspective on a pivotal era in American maritime history.

About the Author

Eric Jay Dolin is the best-selling and award-winning author of numerous works in maritime history, including Leviathan, Rebels at Sea, and Black Flags, Blue Waters. He lives in Marblehead, Massachusetts.

Praise For…

This stunning account of shifting fortunes is riven with tension on every page, as Dolin provides detailed descriptions of bickering and backstabbing, tricky nautical maneuvers, and desperate survival techniques. It's an edge-of-your-seat adventure.
— Publishers Weekly, starred review

In his latest maritime narrative, Dolin chronicles an early-19th-century calamity featuring the usual privation and acts of heroism but more than the usual bad behavior. Dolin maintains an interesting narrative of their 18 months alone on the barren subarctic Falklands. An entertaining castaway tale.
— Kirkus Reviews

It would hardly be an exaggeration to say that Dolin’s saga has as many twists and turns as a route through the mazy South Atlantic archipelago. … Dolin does justice to the drama of it all ... without stinting on one of pleasures of reading 19th-century history: the wordsmithery of people high and low…The author of several previous books on such maritime topics as piracy and whaling, Dolin is an expert literary steersman.
— Dennis Drabelle - The Washington Post

A master of the maritime narrative, Dolin (Rebels at Sea, 2022) surfaces a submerged shipwreck story. . . . creating a work that will captivate a readership built from his many fans and all readers enamored of true tales of the high seas.

— Booklist

A captivating castaway tale. Left for Dead is highly recommended.

— WindCheck Magazine

Exciting and meticulously detailed book . . . . With twists and turns on nearly every page, Dolin details how the unlikely companions overcame great odds and adversity to survive the deadly winters in the Falkland Islands. Left for Dead is an incredible true story long overdue for exposure in the modern age, and Eric Jay Dolin does not disappoint.

— Quarterdeck

Thanks to his exhaustive research and a flair for storytelling, Eric Jay Dolin has managed to turn out a long string of excellent books in this genre. “Left for Dead,” with its many charts and illustrations, and wonderful descriptions of the Falkland Islands themselves, puts us right there in this strangely near – and yet still somehow far away.

— Bob Muggleston - Points East Magazine

Eric Jay Dolin’s depiction of early 1800s seafaring is filled with as much adventure, intrigue, action, and colorful characters as any classic Hollywood movie. Surviving a thousand-mile ocean journey in a small boat is just one of several scintillating ingredients. Left for Dead is a true account that reads like a grizzled sailor’s tall tale.

— Tom Clavin, author of Lightning Down: A World War II Story of Survival

In Left for Dead, a handful of sailors abandoned on a remote island by their mates more than two centuries ago is only the beginning. Eric Jay Dolin delivers surprise after surprise. With a plot worthy of the best seafaring fiction, Dolin’s gripping narrative has the added fascination of being entirely true.

— Andrea Pitzer, author of Icebound: Shipwrecked at the Edge of the World

No one writes maritime history with as much passion and vibrancy as Eric Jay Dolin. Left For Dead transports us to the remote, wind-scoured Falkland Islands in the early nineteenth century and brings to life an unforgettable cast of characters: speculators, convicts, scallywags, sea captains, and captains of industry—driven by country, greed, and the will to survive at any cost. This is narrative history (and natural history) of the highest caliber. A riveting, rollicking read.

— Buddy Levy, author of Empire of Ice and Stone: The Disastrous and Heroic Voyage of the Karluk

Left for Dead is a truly extraordinary story told in gripping fashion and vivid detail, but, and this is what makes it all so amazing, none of it is fiction; it all, every bit of it, actually happened.

— Mensun Bound, Trustee, Falklands Maritime Heritage Trust, author of The Ship Beneath the Ice: The Discovery of Shackleton’s Endurance

An absorbing adventure that explores the dark shadows of instinct and self-preservation, and the hardships and stress that stretch the bonds of humanity. Fascinating reading.
— Stephen R. Bown, author of Island of the Blue Foxes: Disaster and Triumph on the World’s Greatest Scientific Expedition

Product Details
ISBN: 9781324093084
ISBN-10: 1324093080
Publisher: Liveright
Publication Date: May 7th, 2024
Pages: 320
Language: English