Adrift: A True Story of Tragedy on the Icy Atlantic and the One Who Lived to Tell about It by Brian Murphy review


Synopsis (as taken from GoodReads)

The small ship making the Liverpool-to-New York trip in the early months of 1856 carried mail, crates of dry goods, and more than one hundred passengers, mostly Irish emigrants. Suddenly an iceberg tore the ship asunder and five lifeboats were lowered. As four lifeboats drifted into the fog and icy water, never to be heard from again, the last boat wrenched away from the sinking ship with a few blankets, some water and biscuits, and thirteen souls. Only one would survive. This is his story.

As they started their nine days adrift more than four hundred miles off Newfoundland, the castaways–an Irish couple and their two boys, an English woman and her daughter, newlyweds from Ireland, and several crewmen, including Thomas W. Nye from Bedford, Massachusetts–began fighting over food and water. One by one, though, day by day, they died. Some from exposure, others from madness and panic. In the end, only Nye and his journal survived.

Using Nye’s journal and his later newspaper accounts, ship’s logs, assorted diaries, and family archives, Brian Murphy chronicles the horrific nine days that thirteen people suffered adrift on the cold gray Atlantic sea. In the tradition of bestsellers such as Into Thin Air and In the Heart of the Sea, Adrift brings readers to the edge of human limits, where every frantic decision and every desperate act is a potential life saver or life taker.


This non-fiction book was wonderfully written. The history through out this novel is spun almost like a work of fiction. I really enjoyed the authors tone of writing. It was fabulously done. The author did a great job of showing the Victorian era compared to the current era in which we live. The whole learning experience was well done in a way that wasn’t boring or felt like it just rattled on. I stayed intrigued on the subject matter and actually ended up researching it after i finished reading this. The only small complaint i had was that it felt like it strayed a bit at times, however it wasn’t bad enough to where i had to sit the book down or skim read. Overall 4 stars!

I received an e-Arc from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Hardcover, 288 pages
Expected publication: September 4th 2018 by Da Capo Press

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