Caliban's Shore: The Wreck of the Grosvenor and the Strange Fate of Her Survivors

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9780393327076: Caliban's Shore: The Wreck of the Grosvenor and the Strange Fate of Her Survivors
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"This incredible true story reads like the wildest fiction."―Booklist

In the summer of 1783 the grandees of the East India Company were horrified to learn that one of their finest ships, the 741-ton Grosvenor, had been lost on the wild and unexplored coast of southeast Africa. Astonishingly, most of those on board reached the shore safely―91 members of the crew and 34 wealthy, high-born passengers, including women and children. They were hundreds of miles from the nearest European outpost―and they were not alone. "They surveyed one another with mutual incomprehension: on the one hand the dishevelled castaways; on the other, black warriors with high conical hairstyles, daubed with red mud..." Drawing upon unpublished material and new research, Stephen Taylor pieces together the strands of this compelling saga, sifting the myths from a reality that is no less gripping. Full of unexpected twists, Caliban's Shore takes the reader to the heart of what is now South Africa, to analyze the misunderstandings that led to tragedy, to tell the story of those who returned, and to unravel the mystery of those who stayed.

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About the Author:

Stephen Taylor, a former journalist working at The Times in London, is the author of Storm and Conquest and Commander. He lives in Windsor, England.

From Publishers Weekly:

The Grosvenor's passengers and crew feared shipwreck and death, but "shipwreck and survival was not a possibility that anyone had much considered." When the England-bound mercantile ship ran aground in heavy seas off Africa on August 4, 1782, death would have been easier for the 125 who made it ashore. Drawing primarily on two contemporary reports, British historian Taylor reassembles the Grosvenor's story with precision and vision, making each passenger a character and each incident a fate twist. Merchants and children, Anglicans and Muslims, officers and gentlewomen were stranded without weapons or food on shores inhabited by the Pondo tribe in present-day South Africa. Fearful that the peaceful natives would turn hostile, the survivors struck out along the coast for known European settlements. But the bad decision-making that had resulted in shipwreck produced more disaster, and, by the end, only 13 survivors of the wreck are accounted for. Over the years, as news of the fate of the Grosvenor and its passengers drifted back to Britain, the ship and its fate became legendary, even Dickens contributing. The book may not resonate for Americans as much as for more direct descendants of the British Empire, but Taylor has brought the ship and its survivors to modern eyes with this commendable work. Photos.
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Book Description WW Norton & Co, United States, 2005. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English. Brand new Book. In the summer of 1783 the grandees of the East India Company were horrified to learn that one of their finest ships, the 741-ton Grosvenor, had been lost on the wild and unexplored coast of southeast Africa. Astonishingly, most of those on board reached the shore safely-91 members of the crew and 34 wealthy, high-born passengers, including women and children. They were hundreds of miles from the nearest European outpost-and they were not alone. "They surveyed one another with mutual incomprehension: on the one hand the dishevelled castaways; on the other, black warriors with high conical hairstyles, daubed with red mud." Drawing upon unpublished material and new research, Stephen Taylor pieces together the strands of this compelling saga, sifting the myths from a reality that is no less gripping. Full of unexpected twists, Caliban's Shore takes the reader to the heart of what is now South Africa, to analyze the misunderstandings that led to tragedy, to tell the story of those who returned, and to unravel the mystery of those who stayed. Seller Inventory # BZV9780393327076

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Book Description WW Norton & Co, United States, 2005. Paperback. Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English. Brand new Book. In the summer of 1783 the grandees of the East India Company were horrified to learn that one of their finest ships, the 741-ton Grosvenor, had been lost on the wild and unexplored coast of southeast Africa. Astonishingly, most of those on board reached the shore safely-91 members of the crew and 34 wealthy, high-born passengers, including women and children. They were hundreds of miles from the nearest European outpost-and they were not alone. "They surveyed one another with mutual incomprehension: on the one hand the dishevelled castaways; on the other, black warriors with high conical hairstyles, daubed with red mud." Drawing upon unpublished material and new research, Stephen Taylor pieces together the strands of this compelling saga, sifting the myths from a reality that is no less gripping. Full of unexpected twists, Caliban's Shore takes the reader to the heart of what is now South Africa, to analyze the misunderstandings that led to tragedy, to tell the story of those who returned, and to unravel the mystery of those who stayed. Seller Inventory # BZV9780393327076

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