Book info

Escape From Disaster (2000)

Escape from Disaster (2000)
Rating
3.4 of 5 Votes: 3
ISBN
0439163889 (ISBN13: 9780439163880)
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English
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publisher
scholastic
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Escape From Disaster (2000)
Escape From Disaster (2000)

About book: This is a fictional account, treated as if it had been fact. This book is the second of a 2 part set that very poorly seeks to base their plot line on Ernest Shackleton's actual 1914-1917 expedition. If you haven't read the first book of the set, which I haven't, then you are simply dumped into an opening action sequence and have to start assimilating the characters and story line from the action and dialogue. In this case I could see the immediate parallels to the Endurance being crushed by the ice, but nothing here fit the actual facts.Shackleton's Boat Journey, by F. A. Worsley is about a thousand times better than this pulp. It was written as documented fact, complete with photos of the expedition. It would be the actual factual account of the boat journey to reach a whaling station after the primary ship was crushed by the ice, and is the factual basis for this very very loose parallel failure of a story and a failed fictional expedition.I don't see this as a kid's story, as I thought it was very poorly written, with dreamed up dialogue and interpersonal relations that might have come from a bunch of failed Hells Angels wann-a-bees after a night of heavy drinking. And I'm sure that all kids want to read about freezing, starvation, penguin eating, and using seal blood as a type of caulking latex.There are so many real accounts, well documented, and well written; with an organized approach to the goals, hardships, supplies, logistical climate and distance aspects, and ship and small boat handling in freezing conditions, that I think this is a waste of time and a shame to recommend to any reader. Much less young readers.This author just grabbed a loose collection of action sequences and surrounded them with loose babble. The action sequences weren't presented in a credible fashion. For example, whaling ships sent out ships boats, "whaleboats", to fire harpoons manually at whales during the age of sail. In 1909, whaling ships would have at least already had boats out to recover a whale or track it in the case of multiple whales. In this book, at least 4 harpoons are sent flying at a surfaced whale right next to the boat that had survivors in it. If the harpooner could see the whale, he could see the boat that was at least 20-30 feet long right next to the whale. This also presumes a cannon type of harpoon gun, which was usually used on a smaller powered vessel, which also used a small flotilla of whaleboats to retrieve the whale(s). A ship's longboat containing survivors would have just been too obvious to a whaling fleet. It would have never floated, sailed, or been rowed to within range of the hunt without investigation.And just to be a stickler, 5 masted sailing ships were used for fast ocean crossing trading and generally had a low width to length ratio, which would have hampered their use as whalers. Whaling ships were very stoutly built, were shorter and fatter, and were for the most part rigged with two primary masts and a mizzen mast, as a bark or barque. A true 3 masted ship usually had a gaff-rigged mizzen sail, and I don't think there were very many of this type of ship in use. Particularly by the British in 1900. The whaling ship had to accommodate the whale rendering furnace and rigging used to handle whales during rendering, which gave them a stout girth profile.The author presented an "afterward" section at the end of the book, which gave the appearance of presenting a true biographical account of the characters in the story, as their lives evolved after the expedition experience. That section was very misleading to me, in that I usually only associate such a section with historical accounts of actual people. This book was presented as a book for young readers, which in my experience could care less about the after effects to people's lives who survive a grand experience and a tragedy. And I'm pretty sure that younger people as a group don't have the background to appreciate reunions of survivors that may span 30 years, as in this presentation.One final thought: Shackleton's experience is currently widely recognized as a shining example of managerial skill in the face of adversity. The actual men on that expedition were very skilled for the expedition needs, and exhibited mental reserve, calmness, and orderliness This book takes the opposite tack with lack of leadership and dysfunctional characters involved in a mutiny.
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