The Wager by David Grann Summary

The Wager Summary, A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder is the fifth nonfiction book by American journalist David Grann. The book focuses on the Wager Mutiny. It was published on April 18, 2023 by Doubleday.

The Wager book became a bestseller, topping The New York Times best-seller list in the nonfiction category for its first week of publication. 24 weeks later, it was still at #10 on their list of best selling hardcover non-fiction books.

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The Wager by David Grann Summary

The Wager Summary

On January 28, 1742, a ramshackle vessel of patched-together wood and cloth washed up on the coast of Brazil. Inside were thirty emaciated men, barely alive, and they had an extraordinary tale to tell. They were survivors of His Majesty's Ship the Wager, a British vessel that had left England in 1740 on a secret mission during an imperial war with Spain. While the Wager had been chasing a Spanish treasure-filled galleon known as "the prize of all the oceans," it had wrecked on a desolate island off the coast of Patagonia. The men, after being marooned for months and facing starvation, built the flimsy craft and sailed for more than a hundred days, traversing nearly 3,000 miles of storm-wracked seas. They were greeted as heroes.

But then six months later, another, even more decrepit craft landed on the coast of Chile. This boat contained just three castaways, and they told a very different story. The thirty sailors who landed in Brazil were not heroes – they were mutineers. The first group responded with countercharges of their own, of a tyrannical and murderous senior officer and his henchmen. It became clear that while stranded on the island the crew had fallen into anarchy, with warring factions fighting for dominion over the barren wilderness. As accusations of treachery and murder flew, the Admiralty convened a court martial to determine who was telling the truth. The stakes were life-and-death—for whomever the court found guilty could hang.

The Wager is a grand tale of human behavior at the extremes told by one of our greatest nonfiction writers. Grann's recreation of the hidden world on a British warship rivals the work of Patrick O'Brian, his portrayal of the castaways' desperate straits stands up to the classics of survival writing such as The Endurance, and his account of the court martial has the savvy of a Scott Turow thriller. As always with Grann's work, the incredible twists of the narrative hold the reader spellbound.

You may also like to read: The Four Agreements Book Summary

Questions about The Wager Plot

What is The Wager about by David Grann? “Grann tells the riveting tale of the British ship the Wager, which embarked from England on a secret mission against Spain in 1740. Two years later, 30 ragged men from the Wager landed ashore in Brazil. Six months after that, three more Wager sailors washed up in Chile.

What is the theme of The Wager? He explores themes of addiction, morality, and the allure of quick riches, providing readers with much food for thought. “The Wager” is not just a tale of horse racing and gambling; it also serves as a commentary on the human condition.

What was the mission of The Wager? The Wager was a British Royal Navy warship that set off in September 1740 from England as part of a squadron of five warships with a secret mission to capture a Spanish galleon filled with treasure.

Who is the main character in The Wager? Grann pulls you effortlessly into the lives of his three main characters – the Wager's captain, David Cheap, John Byron, a young shipman and great-grandfather of the writer Lord Byron, and John Bulkley, a gunner.

Is The Wager a true story based on true story? In “The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny, and Murder,” David Grann recounts a true story that could have been a beautiful tale of survival under the leadership of a competent commander, but that too often reminds us of “Lord of the Flies”.

Is The Wager by David Grang fiction or nonfiction? The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder is the fifth nonfiction book by American journalist David Grann. The book focuses on the Wager Mutiny. It was published on April 18, 2023 by Doubleday.

Is The Wager a good book? This page-turner surges forward with the pacing of a true-crime thriller, elevated by Grann's crisp and evocative prose and enhanced by dozens of period photographs. Dogged original research and superb narrative skills come together in this gripping account of pitiless evil.

Would The Wager by David Grann be a good recommendation for him? Final answer: 'The Wager' by David Grann could be a good recommendation for a student who appreciates suspenseful adventure stories that also explore deeper philosophical and ethical issues.

Who was the captain of the Wager? The Navy commissioned Wager under Captain Dandy Kidd, who died before the ship reached Cape Horn; Lieutenant David Cheap was promoted to captain (acting). The squadron rounded Cape Horn in terrible weather, which scattered the ships of the squadron. Wager became separated and then needed to make her rendezvous.

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