In the heady climate of the nineteenth century goldrushes, “going to see the elephant” was a saying that described an exciting, often dangerous, and usually profitless adventure—something to tell one's grandchildren about. In the spirit of the sensational Island of the Lost, the story is told of the crew of the Connecticut schooner Sarah W. Hunt. When two boats are blown out to sea, off one of the most icy and hostile islands in the sub-Antarctic ocean, the twelve men are abandoned by their skipper, left to live or die by their own wits and stamina. Six struggle ashore against unbelievable odds. Their rescue from remote, inhospitable, uninhabited Campbell Island is a sensation that rocks the world. But no one could have expected that the court hearings that follow would become an international controversy, with repercussions that contribute to the fall of a colonial government, and reach as far as the desk of the president of the United States.