Read advance reader review of The Wager by David Grann

Summary | Reviews | More Information | More Books

The Wager

A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder

by David Grann

The Wager by David Grann X
The Wager by David Grann
Buy This Book

About this book


Page 1 of 2
There are currently 13 member reviews
for The Wager
Order Reviews by:
  • Linda M. (Ocala, FL)
    A Wild Ride
    I have read two other books by David Grann so my expectations were high when I began to read The Wager. Coincidentally, I had just returned from a trip through the Strait of Magellan and the Drake Passage to Cape Horn so I have personally experienced the wind, sleet, fog, clouds rocky cliffs and raging seas that he so vividly describes. Reading this book swept me right back to this wild place. Grann is a skilled storyteller who is able to keep the reader engaged as he tells the story of a ship sailing in the 1700s when ships were barely seaworthy, and scurvy, fatal accidents, hunger and thirst were every day events. Unfortunately, shipwrecks were not an uncommon occurrence either. The descriptions of the storms, the land, the natives and the struggles of the crew in the extremely hostile environment keep the reader turning the pages. Grann educates and entertains the reader. My kind of book.
  • Dan W. (Fort Myers, FL)
    Although the subject matter was not of great interest to me when I started reading the book, my opinion quickly changed when more of the narrative was developed. The author takes a maritime scandal and engulfs the reader in a suspenseful historical thriller! Although I usually avoid this genre of book, I suddenly was reading page after page with no thought of stopping.
  • Anita
    Gripping Tale of Survival and History
    This well-researched narrative of The Wager takes elements of true crime and history and combines it with a deliciously literary way of storytelling to make a very compelling read. Set in 1740, The Wager was part of a squadron whose mission was to capture a treasure-filled Spanish galleon near the tip of South America. To say this mission was a disaster is actually understating the case. Grann does an amazing job of piecing together the extensive source material to create a narrative of what likely happened after The Wager vanished. Without spoiling the book, let's just say it's an incredible survival story, but also, a story of what happens to civilized order when lives are on the line. Grann then overlays that with observations on media and empire-building and how this small story has big lessons for us all.

    Engaging, succinct, and a wonderful way to be introduced to important historical concepts while grabbing the reader and not letting go.
  • Gail B
    Heaven Help the Sailors...
    For readers who enjoy swashbuckling tales, David Grann has composed a fascinating account of HMS WAGER, a British man-of-war which began its voyage in 1740. WAGER was part of a squadron whose mission was to capture a treasure-filled galleon in the War of Jenkins' Ear against Spain. Their motives: patriotism and a share of the booty.

    The British ships got off to a promising start until they tried to pass around South America's Cape Horn. The ships were battered by ice and snowstorms, shipwreck, depravation, famine, illness and misery off the coast of Patagonia. An interesting cast of characters from all ages and strata of society: David Cheap, captain of the flagship CENTURION. Castaways: gunner and log keeper John Bulkeley; sixteen-year old John Byron of poet Lord Byron's family; carpenter Cummins, who cobbled together a fragile boat. Together they formed a "Band of Brothers" when WAGER broke up. Survivors made their way back to the coast of Brazil, then home to England, where the story continued and inspired famous writers, to include Samuel Coleridge, John Melville and Patrick O'Brien.

    WAGER is exciting, well-written nonfiction. I couldn't put it down!
  • Jan B. (Estes Park, CO)
    The Wager
    Chilling and thrilling are the best words that I can use to describe David Gann's "The Wager." I found myself torn between being fascinated by how the men and boys could have endured this tragedy on the sea and cringing from the graphic descriptions of the fight for survival. The author did a fantastic job of drawing the reader into the minds and hearts of the characters. He also left the reader grappling with the question of "who is/are the hero(es) and who should be hanging for their deeds?"
    This is a book for someone who enjoys digging into the back stories in history. This would be a fitting discussion for a book club that discusses personalities, events, and motivation for actions. I would not recommend to a book club that prefers lighter subjects.
  • Windell H. (Rock Hill, SC)
    The Wager
    The Wager is a well written account of life, death, murder and intrigue on the high seas during the mid eighteenth century. The story takes place when a group of British ships attempt to round Cape Horn, a very treacherous passage of ocean around the tip of South America. The novel stresses the need for discipline and order with so many men involved. It also shows how men without these qualities can resort to anarchy. Amazingly some the men make it back to England where a court-marshal will determine the consequences of bad choices made by the dissenters of the crew. In the end the crew escapes severe punishment due to the public having heard the accounts of many involved causing confusion in the admiralty. A great read.
  • Jill D. (Palm Beach Gardens, FL)
    Another worthwhile read from David Grann
    I have read a number of books by David Grann, including The Lost City of Z and Killers of the Flower Moon. I am now fortunate to have read a prepublication of his latest book, The Wager. As with all his books, Mr. Grann has distilled a large amount of research. In fact, having read this book on my Kindle, the book itself was finished at 66% and the remainder of the book was citations and footnotes. It is an interesting story of the shipwreck of The Wager. It is not a spoiler to say that more than one group made it back with conflicting stories. It was quite harrowing to read all that they went through in order to survive.

    It was interesting to see that this event was the source material for everything from Herman Melville to the poems of Lord Byron (the grandson of a featured midshipman, John Byron). In light of how ill equipped this ship was with a reluctant crew, diseases such as typhus and scurvy, wooden ships, and no measurement of longitude, it was a miracle that anyone came back alive. Mr. Grann's prose has brought their experiences to life. Some of them are difficult to read about but Mr. Grann moves the story along to its surprising conclusion. It is a story that will fascinate readers of his previous books. A worthwhile read.
  • Page
  • 1
  • 2


Become a Member

Join BookBrowse today to start discovering exceptional books!

Find out more

Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Moonrise Over New Jessup
    Moonrise Over New Jessup
    by Jamila Minnicks
    Jamila Minnicks' debut novel Moonrise Over New Jessup received the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially...
  • Book Jacket
    The Magician's Daughter
    by H.G. Parry
    "Magic isn't there to be hoarded like dragon's treasure. Magic is kind. It comes into ...
  • Book Jacket: The Great Displacement
    The Great Displacement
    by Jake Bittle
    On August 4, 2021, California's largest single wildfire to date torched through the small mountain ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Island of Missing Trees
    by Elif Shafak
    The Island of Missing Trees by Elif Shafak tells a tale of generational trauma, explores identity ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
The Nurse's Secret
by Amanda Skenandore
A fascinating historical novel based on the little-known story of America's first nursing school.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    The God of Endings
    by Jacqueline Holland

    A suspenseful debut that weaves a story of love, history and myth through the eyes of one immortal woman.

  • Book Jacket

    The Last Russian Doll
    by Kristen Loesch

    A haunting epic of betrayal, revenge, and redemption following three generations of Russian women.

Who Said...

It is a fact of life that any discourse...will always please if it is five minutes shorter than people expect

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!


Solve this clue:

R Peter T P P

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.