Left for Dead: Shipwreck, Treachery, and Survival at the Edge of the World (Hardcover)
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.
— Stephen R. Bown, author of Island of the Blue Foxes: Disaster and Triumph on the World’s Greatest Scientific Expedition
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, author of The Ship Beneath the Ice: The Discovery of Shackleton’s Endurance