The extraordinary true story of the wreck of the "Hornet", and the harrowing 4,300 mile voyage of its survivors.
When an accident with an open oil lantern set the American clipper "Hornet" alight in 1866, the 31 passengers and crew were forced to abandon ship. Cast adrift in three small lifeboats, they had less than 10 days' rations to share between them. They were over 1,000 miles from the nearest island.
Over the next six weeks they were to encounter every danger the Pacific could throw at them. They were attacked by sharks and swordfish. They endured storms, and even tornadoes. Their hunger became so intense that they resorted to eating their clothes, and later, half-mad from the effects of drinking sea-water, were driven to the edge of cannibalism.
'A Furnace Afloat' tells the story of their 4,000-mile voyage through the eyes of three men, who kept journals throughout their ordeal. It is one of the rare, great historical survival stories, and yet it also transcends its genre: the boatful of castaways becomes a microcosm of 1866 America - a diverse mix of immigrants struggling to overcome class divisions, and to recover from the recent Civil War.
- Publication Date:
- 15 / 11 / 2006
- 158 x 242 x 31mm