The Stolen Island

BWB Texts

Book 50
Bridget Williams Books
1
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‘What had happened to the stolen islanders? Had any survived slavery?’

One day in 1863 a strange ship stopped at ‘Ata, a tiny island in the wild seas between Tonga and New Zealand, and sailed away with one hundred and forty-four men, women and children. The ‘Atans were never heard from again, and in Tonga their fate became the subject of legends and superstitions.

Uncovering the tragedy of ‘Ata takes Scott Hamilton on a journey to the kava circles and caves of Tonga and back to the streets of Auckland. The Stolen Island is a twenty-first century true sea story revealing slavers, mutinies, castaways, pirates and a cruel streak in Pacific history that is often overlooked but not forgotten.
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About the author

Scott Hamilton has a PhD in Sociology from the University of Auckland and has published books and essays about British socialism, Tongan art, kava drinking, and New Zealand history. He won the inaugural Auckland Mayoral Literary Grant in 2015 for his study of the city's Great South Road and wrote The Stolen Island with the help of a D'Arcy Literary Residency. He contributes regularly to the online arts journal Eyecontact and blogs at readingthemaps.blogspot.co.nz
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Additional Information

Publisher
Bridget Williams Books
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Published on
Nov 21, 2016
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Pages
112
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ISBN
9780947518127
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Australia & New Zealand
History / Oceania
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Auckland Island is a godforsaken place in the middle of the Southern Ocean, 285 miles south of New Zealand. With year-round freezing rain and howling winds, it is one of the most forbidding places in the world. To be shipwrecked there means almost certain death.

In 1864 Captain Thomas Musgrave and his crew of four aboard the schooner Grafton wreck on the southern end of the island. Utterly alone in a dense coastal forest, plagued by stinging blowflies and relentless rain, Captain Musgrave—rather than succumb to this dismal fate—inspires his men to take action. With barely more than their bare hands, they build a cabin and, remarkably, a forge, where they manufacture their tools. Under Musgrave's leadership, they band together and remain civilized through even the darkest and most terrifying days.

Incredibly, at the same time on the opposite end of the island—twenty miles of impassable cliffs and chasms away—the Invercauld wrecks during a horrible storm. Nineteen men stagger ashore. Unlike Captain Musgrave, the captain of the Invercauld falls apart given the same dismal circumstances. His men fight and split up; some die of starvation, others turn to cannibalism. Only three survive. Musgrave and all of his men not only endure for nearly two years, they also plan their own astonishing escape, setting off on one of the most courageous sea voyages in history.

Using the survivors' journals and historical records, award-winning maritime historian Joan Druett brings this extraordinary untold story to life, a story about leadership and the fine line between order and chaos.
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