The Custom of the Sea

The Custom of the Sea

Book - 1999
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WILEY
"The nightmarish events of the shipwreck are reported with real power."-New York Times Book Review

Adrift at sea, your food and water gone, you are slowly starving to death: what would you do to survive?

On May 19, 1884, the yacht Mignonette set sail from Southampton, England, bound for Australia. Halfway through the voyage, the crew were beset by a monstrous storm off the coast of West Africa, and the Mignonette was sunk by a massive forty-foot wave. Cast adrift a thousand miles from landfall with no food or water and faced with almost certain death, the captain resorted to a grisly practice common among seamen of the time: the "custom of the sea." While the others watched, the captain killed the weakest of them, the cabin boy, and his body was eaten. In this riveting account of the ordeal of the crew and the sensational trial that followed, Hanson recreates the shocking events that held a nation spellbound. Drawing from newspaper accounts, personal letters, court proceedings, and first-person accounts, he has brilliantly told a tale rife with moral dilemmas.

Baker & Taylor
Drawing on personal letters, diaries, and first-person accounts of the tragedy, this action-packed account describes the 1884 shipwreck of the yacht Mignonette and the ordeal of its crew, which included the murder of a teenage cabin boy whose body was eaten by the others. 50,000 first printing. $75,000 ad/promo.

Blackwell North Amer
Cast adrift in a tiny boat on a vast and desolate ocean, faced with almost certain death, what would you do to survive? This is the agonizing question that lies at the heart of the gripping true drama of The Custom of the Sea.
On May 19, 1884, the yacht Mignonette set sail from Southampton, England, bound for Sydney, Australia. Halfway through the 12,000-mile voyage, Captain Tom Dudley and his three-member crew were beset by a monstrous storm off the coast of West Africa. After four terrifying days battling towering waves and hurricane-force gales, the Mignonette was sunk by a massive forty-foot "freak" wave.
Captain Dudley and his crew were cast adrift a thousand miles from the nearest land in a leaky thirteen-foot dinghy with only two small tins of turnips for food, no water, and no shelter from the scorching sun. After nineteen days, they were all near death, and Dudley determined that they must resort to the horrifying practice well known among seamen of the time called "the custom of the sea." While the others watched, the captain killed the weakest of them, the seventeen-year-old cabin boy, and his body was eaten.
Five days later, the survivors were picked up by a passing ship, and although such cases of survival cannibalism were usually either hushed up or condoned as terrible but justified acts of desperation, in this case the men were arrested for murder. The sensational trial that followed kept a shocked public enthralled during the following winter, from the lowliest ship's deckhand to Queen Victoria herself.
In this riveting account, Neil Hanson re-creates with vivid detail the harrowing ordeal of the Mignonette's crew. Drawing from newspaper accounts, personal letters and diaries, court proceedings, and first-person accounts of the principals, he has pieced together their tragic story, a tale rife with moral twists and turns that will draw you deeper and deeper into the drama of the men's fate.

Baker
& Taylor

Draws on contemporary accounts to describe the ordeal of three shipwreck survivors who resorted to cannibalism to survive while adrift at sea, but were arrested and tried for murder after their rescue

Publisher: New York : Wiley, 1999
ISBN: 9780471383895
0471383899
Branch Call Number: 910.452 HAN
Characteristics: 315 p. : ill. ; 24 cm

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