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Adrift: Seventy-Six Days Lost at Sea [Hardcover]

Steven Callahan
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Jan 1986
A NEW YORK TIMES besteller, this true story tells the riveting, first-hand account of the only man in history to have survived more than a month alone at sea,fighting for his life in an inflatable raft after his small sloop capsized only six days out. Racked by hunger, buffeted by storms, and broiled by the tropical sun, Steven Callahan drifted over eighteen hundred miles of ocean, fighting off sharks with a makeshift spear, and watching nine ships pass by without turning back. Here is a story of anguish and horror, of undying heroism, hope--and survival.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Product details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin (T) (Jan 1986)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395382068
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395382066
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 15 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 448,461 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

From the Author

Alone & adrift, I came to terms with nature and my humanity.
For 2.5 months, I drifted about 2,000 miles across the Atlantic, learning to become an aquatic caveman. For many, Adrift is strictly an "adventure" survival story in which I starve and dehydrate, battle sharks and slowly adapt to the ocean wilderness in which anything that floats slowly develops an island-like ecology. While writing Adrift, I struggled to keep the pace without losing readers in sailor's jargon. However, deeper themes swim throughout the story, particularly with a school of fish that follow the raft. Although I experience a sort of living death, I am awakened to new sensitivities about my place in the universe and society, which infuses the experience with a sense of awe and wonder as much as pain and desperation. The fish, representatives of the sea's majesty and mystery, become my friends, test me and almost kill me, yet bring about my salvation. Alone, I learn to face my substantial failures, accept myself as a part of humanity, and find a balance between the rational, physical an --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Steven Callahan lives in the United States. He still sails. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
A word of caution-- this is not an accurate review. I'm going back now years ago to a time when I lived in a village in Mexico. We're talking pre-Internet as we know it today. The available reading material in this village consisted of donated books at a so called lending library at a bar that catered to foreign tourists. Anyway, there happened to be Steve Callahan's book there. It was such a powerful reading experience that over the next fifteen years I would sometimes mention it to people: "I read this book once, seventy something days adrift...by....". And I couldn't remember-- I'd only read the book once -- until tonight, thanks to....well, you know. But, whatever, it taught me some other things to remember. One profoundly philosophical message I got from the book was how every action undertaken by the author negated an alternative action (although both were of critical necessity)-- a sort of opportunity cost lesson: bailing water out of the raft meant not gathering drinking water or catching fish for food, etc. I'm now an English teacher in Turkey, and I'm about to introduce this book to my reading class. I'm very glad that I've finally found it again. Keep adrifting!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Truly Scary Tale At Sea 15 July 2003
By Martin A Hogan HALL OF FAME TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Steven Callahan is a blessed man. This true story is one of the most harrowing accounts of survival in a truly hopeless situation. He capsizes in minutes in the middle of the night with a raft and not much more. Nobody knows he's missing. No one is looking for him.
Told with desperation and some much needed occasional humor, Callahan paints a story so real and frought with fear that you can read it in one sitting. It is difficult to imagine what one would do in a similiar situation and the very thought of it is spine tingling.
This is a tale for every person who ever took to the water and every adventurer who feels safe in thier environment. You will never take the ocean for granted again after reading this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
I've always been an avid reader of tales of true adventure and survival, many on the high seas. Rickenbacher's survival in a raft and Shackleton's disastrous expedition to the Antarctic have been two of my favorites--man being pushed to the very edge of the void. But this book, "Adrift", dwarfs and transcends them all. This hearty soul (the survivor/author) has taught me what it means to be a member of the most determined and successful species of life on earth. My god, the cunning perseverance and tenacity of this fella must be legendary by now. He manages his time and meager resources in preparing for the worse, even in the face of awesome physical and mental discomfort for an incredible length of time. His genuine emotional connection with the ocean and its creatures is unique and very moving, which has tended to quiet many fears which I (and I'm sure many others) have had about the deep blue. The author's intricate and logical details--and his somewhat understated style--are what make his account so extremely powerful and believable. I've read this book several times during the past decade--it is the most triumphant and inspirational reading experience of my life, to date. It's one of those few that will remain 'alive' within me, always there in case I should ever find myself in a grave predicament--don't panic, calm down, think, don't rely on others, take thoughtful steps and plan ahead knowing that your life is in your own hands, be inventive and persistent, and never ever give up.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Best Sailing Survival Story by Far 29 Jan 2003
Format:Paperback
...[this]... should easily be considered the bible of offshore sailors who wish to prepare themselves for the possibility of having to abondon ship and take to the liferaft.
Callahan's book provides a blow by blow account of the trials and tribulations of living in a small rubber life raft, collecting water and living off the sea. He also draws the lessons he learned from his experiences and provides useful lists of emergency equipment that should be carried as well as instructions on liferaft repair and fishing.
His experience and a lively intellect have made Callahan one of the world's experts in survival at sea. He has contributed to a redesign of liferafts and this book has caused hundreds of sailors to repack their emergency kits.
If you are ever thinking of voyaging offshore, or simply want a gripping yarn, this book is a must read.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Truly Scary Tale At Sea 15 July 2003
By Martin A Hogan HALL OF FAME TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Turtleback
Steven Callahan is a blessed man. This true story is one of the most harrowing accounts of survival in a truly hopeless situation. He capsizes in minutes in the middle of the night with a raft and not much more. Nobody knows he's missing. No one is looking for him.
Told with desperation and some much needed occasional humor, Callahan paints a story so real and frought with fear that you can read it in one sitting. It is difficult to imagine what one would do in a similiar situation and the very thought of it is spine tingling.
This is a tale for every person who ever took to the water and every adventurer who feels safe in thier environment. You will never take the ocean for granted again after reading this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Glad this book is back in print 2 Dec 1998
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Although it doesn't fully involved the reader emotionally, this book is still well worth-while. Surprisingly, it's not monotonous despite the limited setting and only one character, so conversation is limited. Would have liked a drawing of exactly where to strike a shark, in case I'm ever in that situation. Am wondering what the author has done since this adventure--please post a message for us! Thanks for sharing your story, Steve!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars adrift
This book is a real story of true survival and is very good. One of the best books I have ever read
Published 1 month ago by Milly
5.0 out of 5 stars How to keep going when all seems lost.
I couldn't' put this one down. A brilliant read.
When one thinks the situation is bad it gets worse.
When it seems all over he thinks a way through. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Richard
5.0 out of 5 stars You will not be able to put this book down
Sometimes verging on cathartic, the details of this survivor's 'incredible journey' are mesmerising, fascinating and educational and even to an atheist like me, the occasional... Read more
Published 4 months ago by MR M SEAL
5.0 out of 5 stars Great read!
I really enjoyed this book a great read.. what a thing to go through! Would recommend people to read it
Published 4 months ago by Mandy
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written, very engaging subject matter
I was gripped from start to finish. This is an incredible story which Callahan tells very well. Despite the fact he is essentially doing the same thing most days while adrift,... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Oscar Scafidi
5.0 out of 5 stars Very insightful
A well written insightful account of an epic odyssey. A good book that make you think about how easy day to day life for most every day people is.
Published 5 months ago by Stuart Murtha
5.0 out of 5 stars Adrift
An amazing story of courage and adversity. I can't imagine what it could have been like to be in a plastic raft for two and a half months! A brilliant read and well worth the money
Published 5 months ago by Kate Morwell-Neave
4.0 out of 5 stars Edge of the seat stuff
An amazing and gripping story of sea survival narrated with simplicity and skill. A strong sense of the author's character emerges as he fights for his life against the odds,... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Andrew
5.0 out of 5 stars inspirational!
Insightful narrative on what has the potential to be a fairly dry (!) subject. Great life messages throughout. Human ingenuity at its best.
Published 10 months ago by Chris C
4.0 out of 5 stars A very humbling read.
I gave this a go on the spur of the moment, and I am so pleased I did. This is a very humbling, inspiring and interesting read about one mans fight of survival. Give a go....
Published 11 months ago by Spotonhenry
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