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Thursday, September 3, 2020

Extraordinary Story of Survival ... and Leadership

Over the years, Island of the Lost has had some great newspaper and magazine reviews, written by professional reviewers.  That is always very nice, but even better are thoughtful reviews from readers.  This one, which came out yesterday, appealed to me because the reader picked exactly the points I was trying to emphasize in the book.  The Challenge, and the Contrast.  And the ordeal that the castaways went through, at the most basic level of existence.

Reviewed in the United States on September 1, 2020, by Laurie Kelley

Verified Purchase

This is truly a riveting and human story about two terrible shipwrecks really: The Grafton and subsequently, on the same island, the Invercauld. The two stranded parties never met during their time on the islands, but are easily comparable. The Grafton party, under the leadership of Cap. Thomas Musgrave, all survive, thanks to his leadership but also to the incredible teamwork and attitude of the crew. The Invercauld party suffers, and many die, due to the inept leadership of its captain, and its lack of teamwork. Only a lowly seaman shows any spark of leadership. And through their deprivations and sufferings, you learn about leadership: using each individual's skills rightly and to the fullest; the importance of celebrating holidays; keeping a journal; stepping into leadership when the leader (Musgrave) falters (he was prone to deep depression); and the all-important purpose of prayer. It's stunning to watch the evolution of their leadership and teamwork, especially when Raynal creates all the tools needed eventually for the final outcome. Truly extraordinary and superb. This is a page-turning, fantastic read, and powerfully inspiring.

For those animal lovers who rated this book only one or two stars... apparently they have never felt true hunger. I have while on expeditions, where the hunger grips you so badly, down to your cells, you want to eat anything--a wrapping paper, a dribble of honey, a leaf... even my guide's arm, I joked. And that was only for a week. I cannot imagine it daily, over a year! The seals were killed in droves, just as orcas would do when they were hungry. Druett had to include this to show the extreme conditions they battled. The same people who critiqued the explicit killing scenes didn't mention the horrid and explicit suffering the men experienced battling scurvy. Nature cannot be appreciated, understood or respected from your armchair. Hunger and the food chain are part of nature. So kudos to Joan Druett for a spectacular book, that puts a human side to suffering together as a team, and shows that many facets of leadership.

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