Island of the Lost
The Extraordinary Story of Survival at the Edge of the World
Hundreds of miles from civilization, two ships wreck on opposite ends of the same deserted island in this true story of human nature at its best—and at its worst.
It is 1864, and Captain Thomas Musgave’s schooner, Grafton, has just wrecked on Auckland Island, a forbidding piece of land 285 miles south of New Zealand. Battered by year-round freezing rain and constant winds, it is one of the most inhospitable places on earth. To be shipwrecked there means almost certain death.
Incredibly, at the same time on the opposite end of the island, another ship runs aground during a storm. Separated by only twenty miles and the island’s treacherous, impassable cliffs, the crews of the Grafton and the Invercauld face the same fate. And yet where the Invercauld’s crew turns inward on itself, fighting, starving, and even turning to cannibalism, Musgrave’s crew bands together to build a cabin and a forge—and eventually, to find a way to escape.
Using the survivors’ journals and historical records, award-winning maritime historian Joan Druett brings to life this extraordinary untold story about leadership and the fine line between order and chaos.
“[A] study of the extremes of human nature and the effects of good (and bad) leadership . . . If the southern part of Auckland Island is all Robinson Crusoe, the northern part is more Lord of the Flies . . . Druett is an able and thorough guide to the minutiae of castaway life . . . [She] shows that real leadership is rare and powerful.”
—New York Times Book Review