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Skeletons on the Zahara: A True Story of Survival

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Skeletons on the Zahara: A True Story of Survival Cover

ISBN13: 9780316835145
ISBN10: 0316835145
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

On a calm May morning in 1815, Captain James Riley and the crew of the Commerce left port in Connecticut for an ordinary trading voyage. They could never have imagined what awaited them.

Their nightmare began with a dreadful shipwreck off the coast of Africa, a hair-raising confrontation with hostile native tribesmen within hours of being washed ashore, and a hellish confinement in a rickety longboat as they tried, without success, to escape the fearsome coast. Eventually captured by desert nomads and sold into slavery, Riley and his men were dragged along on an insane journey through the bone-dry heart of the Sahara-a region unknown to Westerners. Along the way the Americans would encounter everything that could possibly test them: barbarism, murder, starvation, plagues of locusts, death, sandstorms that lasted for days, dehydration, and hostile tribes that roamed the desert on armies of camels. They would discover ancient cities and secret oases. They would also discover a surprising bond between a Muslim trader and an American sea captain, men who began as strangers, were forced to become allies in order to survive, and, in the tempering heat of the desert, became friends-even as the captain hatched a daring betrayal in order to save his men.

From the cold waters of the Atlantic to the searing Saharan sands, Skeletons on the Zahara is a spectacular odyssey through the extremes. Destined to become a classic among adventure narratives, Dean King's masterpiece is an unforgettable tale of survival, courage, and brotherhood.

Review:

"Dean King has brought to life one of the great, true-life adventure stories-a riveting tale of suffering and redemption." Nathaniel Philbrick, author of In the Heart of the Sea and Sea of Glory

Review:

"Skeletons of the Zahara is an amazing, mind-boggling story of courage and endurance, rivaling Shackleton's drama and surpassing Krakauer's climb on Everest. This is history boldly told with a novelist's eye for the scorching detail." Doug Stanton, author of In Harm's Way

Review:

"A narrative of chilling miseries and harrowing adventure, Dean King's telling leaves nothing unexplored in the slavery and rescue of American sailors on the blasted sands of the Sahara. The unbelievable is made believable, and the incomprehensible as glaring as the desert sun." David L. Robbins, author of Last Citadel

Review:

"This incredibly true tale exposes its band of shipwrecked Americans to the most extreme tests of cruelty, savagery, and their own will to survive. Best of all, though, are the sweet notes of nobility and kindness that transcend culture, language, and the burning sands." Charles Slack, author of Noble Obsession

Review:

"A grand book." Dr. D. J. Ratcliffe, Emeritus Reader, History Department, University of Durham

Review:

"A jaw-dropping story kept on edge, along with the reader: exquisite and excruciating screw-turning." Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Review:

"King's aggressively researched account of the {Commerce] crew's once-famous ordeal reads like historical fiction....[Skeletons on the Zahara] impresses with its pacing, thoroughness and empathy for the plight of a dozen sailors." Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Review:

"This account of twelve Americans shipwrecked in North Africa in 1815, enslaved by nomads, and then hauled along on a Dantean odyssey through the desert, is scalding enough to induce vicarious dehydration." Men's Journal

Synopsis:

Everywhere hailed as a masterpiece of historical adventure, this enthralling narrative recounts the experiences of twelve American sailors who were shipwrecked off the coast of Africa in 1815, captured by desert nomads, sold into slavery, and subjected to a hellish two-month journey through the bone-dry heart of the Sahara. The ordeal of these men - who found themselves tested by barbarism, murder, starvation, death, dehydration, and hostile tribes that roamed the desert on camelback - is made indelibly vivid in this gripping account of courage, brotherhood, and survival.

Synopsis:

Includes bibliographical references (p. 335-340) and index.

About the Author

An authority on nautical literature and history, Dean King has written nine books, including the much-admired biography, Patrick O'Brian: A Life. An enthusiastic adventurer, King has sailed from New York to Bermuda on a square-rigged ship, walked across England and Wales, and hiked the Tour du Mont Blanc. He has written for many publications, including Esquire, Men's Journal, New York, Outside, and the New York Times. He lives in Richmond, Virginia, with his wife and four daughters.

Table of Contents

Part 1 : Acts of God — Part 2 : Ships of the sand — Part 3 : Journeys and sandstorms — Part 4 : A slow rush to Swearah — Epilogue : Homecomings — Appendix : The publishing of Riley's narrative — Glossary of Arabic terms — Notes.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Jorge, March 31, 2009 (view all comments by Jorge)
In 1815 Captain James Riley and the crew of the United States merchant ship Commerce set sail from Connecticut for Gibraltar. Two months later they were shipwrecked near Cape Bojador, off the coast of Northern Africa, captured by Sahrawi Arabs, sold into slavery and dragged eight hundred miles across the hot and hostile Sahara Desert. Along the way they were fed meager rations and pressed into hard labor as the faced barbarism, murder, starvation, dehydration, scorpions, plagues of locusts, sandstorms, hostile enemies and death.
Also along the way they discovered secret oases and ancient cities as Captain Riley forged a surprising bond with a Muslim trader. They were forced to become allies in order to survive, even as Riley planed on betraying the trader in order to save his men.

Dean tells a disturbing, but true tale of endureance that finally came to an end when an Arab tribal leader brought the exhausted and emaciated men to the provincial trading post of Swearah where the British paid the ransom for their freedom.

This read like a pulse racing thriller. I know I couldn't put it down and I can't recommend it highly enough.

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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)

Product Details

ISBN:
9780316835145
Subtitle:
A True Story of Survival
Author:
King, Dean
Author:
KING, DEAN
Publisher:
Back Bay Books
Location:
New York
Subject:
General
Subject:
Africa
Subject:
Description and travel
Subject:
Ships & Shipbuilding - Shipwrecks
Subject:
Adventure
Subject:
Slavery
Subject:
Essays & Travelogues
Subject:
Sahara
Subject:
Africa, north
Subject:
Special Interest - Adventure
Subject:
Shipwrecks; Sailors; Slavery; Slave trade; Nomads; Barbarism; Adventurers; Survival; Starvation
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st ed.
Series Volume:
03-5
Publication Date:
20050412
Binding:
Hardcover
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
384
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.5 x 1 in 0.76 lb

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Africa » Morocco
Travel » Travel Writing » General

Skeletons on the Zahara: A True Story of Survival Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.95 In Stock
Product details 384 pages Little Brown and Company - English 9780316835145 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Dean King has brought to life one of the great, true-life adventure stories-a riveting tale of suffering and redemption."
"Review" by , "Skeletons of the Zahara is an amazing, mind-boggling story of courage and endurance, rivaling Shackleton's drama and surpassing Krakauer's climb on Everest. This is history boldly told with a novelist's eye for the scorching detail."
"Review" by , "A narrative of chilling miseries and harrowing adventure, Dean King's telling leaves nothing unexplored in the slavery and rescue of American sailors on the blasted sands of the Sahara. The unbelievable is made believable, and the incomprehensible as glaring as the desert sun."
"Review" by , "This incredibly true tale exposes its band of shipwrecked Americans to the most extreme tests of cruelty, savagery, and their own will to survive. Best of all, though, are the sweet notes of nobility and kindness that transcend culture, language, and the burning sands."
"Review" by , "A grand book."
"Review" by , "A jaw-dropping story kept on edge, along with the reader: exquisite and excruciating screw-turning."
"Review" by , "King's aggressively researched account of the {Commerce] crew's once-famous ordeal reads like historical fiction....[Skeletons on the Zahara] impresses with its pacing, thoroughness and empathy for the plight of a dozen sailors."
"Review" by , "This account of twelve Americans shipwrecked in North Africa in 1815, enslaved by nomads, and then hauled along on a Dantean odyssey through the desert, is scalding enough to induce vicarious dehydration."
"Synopsis" by , Everywhere hailed as a masterpiece of historical adventure, this enthralling narrative recounts the experiences of twelve American sailors who were shipwrecked off the coast of Africa in 1815, captured by desert nomads, sold into slavery, and subjected to a hellish two-month journey through the bone-dry heart of the Sahara. The ordeal of these men - who found themselves tested by barbarism, murder, starvation, death, dehydration, and hostile tribes that roamed the desert on camelback - is made indelibly vivid in this gripping account of courage, brotherhood, and survival.
"Synopsis" by , Includes bibliographical references (p. 335-340) and index.
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