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Last Man Off: A True Story of Disaster and Survival on the Antarctic Seas by [Lewis, Matt]
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Last Man Off: A True Story of Disaster and Survival on the Antarctic Seas Kindle Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 125 customer reviews

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Length: 262 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Review

A story that reminds us of the unforgiving nature of the sea and the courage that lies within the everyday heroes that have found themselves in hell (Bear Grylls)

A dramatic tale of survival in one of the most brutal situations on earth. Feels like reading the diary of a doomed man . . . so personal and chillingly real; totally takes you there in a way that is not always comfortable (Steve Backshall)

Reads like a sinister version of The Perfect Storm...Thrilling, compelling, unsettling, rewarding . . . This breakneck race of a book isn't just required reading for fans of waterborne peril; Harvard MBAs could also scour the pages as a case study in dysfunctional workplaces and woeful man management. It's like the Perfect Storm, but with gruesomely, even murderously, imperfect people (Sunday Times)

A heart-thumping tale of tragedy and survival - minus the Hollywood ending (Daily Telegraph)

A thrilling, horrifying and compelling portrait of human survival. Colossal terror unfolds on every page (The Bookseller, Books of the Year)

For his compelling account of the hardships of fishing in remote Antarctic waters, and of what it means to abandon ship in a severe storm with inadequate equipment and a crew unprepared for survival. The book is objective but non-judgmental in its descriptiveness, so heightening the true sense of disaster. The style makes the book accessible to a wide public, but it is also essential reading for seafarers, fishermen and yachtsmen, as it concerns attitudes to safety and survival. A truly life-affirming and influential work. (The Mountbatten Maritime Award for best literary contribution - Certificate of Merit)

About the Author

Matt Lewis was born in Bristol, England, in 1974. He trained as a marine biologist first at Bangor University and then at Aberdeen University. He now lives with his wife and two children in Aberdeen. Last Man Off is Matt's first book.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 25270 KB
  • Print Length: 262 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0147515343
  • Publisher: Penguin (10 July 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00HO11CR8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars 125 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #7,828 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I was on the other boat, the Northern Pride and met Matt briefly in London. We travelled together to Cape Town and spent a few hours on the quayside before we joined ship and went our separate ways. This book is a faithful account of his story and an accurate depiction of the life of a fisheries observer in some of the most dangerous and treacherous waters in the world. My ship was bigger (and didn't sink) but we had our fair share of problems - inadequate radio mast, autopilot stopped working, clogged filters, life rafts strapped down so that they would not have deployed even if we had sunk. The most appalling thing to me was the fact that the crew were untrained, poorly equipped (as Matt's book relates) and were paid something like US$20 a week for 12 hrs a day, 7 days a week. Matt "had greatness thrust upon him" through the experience he survived - I'm not sure if I would have behaved so heroically and I admire him for both his actions and for telling his story so honestly.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A gripping story of a fishing tragedy, taking the reader carefully through the life of a deep sea fisherman and the relationships that are built living on the edge of the world, fishing for a species many will never even of heard of. I couldn't put the book down as the narrative builds towards disaster, and the author has obviously been very careful to present a balanced account of the various individuals and their roles and responsibilities.

This novel would sit well alongside "the cruel sea" and "the perfect storm" - I found it fascinating.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I couldn't put this down. Totally gripping. Even though you know something bad is going to happen you want to read every detail up to that point as well. The 'regular' dangers of working on a long line fishing vessel are also completely apparent. As a marine conservation advisor I really appreciated the factual and scientific detail. In the end it's an amazing story of survival that you'll recommend to your friends and buy as a gift. The abridged version, which is being read as Radio 4 book of the week, is a great listen too.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What an amazing story! I was gripped from the first few chapters where the author builds our understanding of the boat, crew and work he was to undertake. Written so humbly and without unnecessary sensationalising, Matt Lewis really is the hero of this very real & tragic tale. Well worth reading & buying another copy to give as a gift!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed reading the book. It gives an insight in how different people react and respond in times of disaster. I actually found the facts in it interesting and had never hear of patagonian tooth fish till now.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I bought this book after hearing about it on the radio. I found it gripping. A truly awful disaster for anyone to have to go through but explained in such a humble way. I wasn't aware there was so much involved and the author has written the experience in such a way that I couldn't put the book down. Certainly have a lot more respect for what these guys went through, and continue to do so.

A true hero and well worth a read if you haven't. I have recommended this book to friends and family too.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What an amazing story. It's like something from a really gripping movie but this is a true story as experienced by the author. Even though you know what is going to happen, it is impossible to put the book down as the reader is taken on the journey from start to finish. Excellent read. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a very frightening story of the perfect storm at sea. In brief, the Sudur Harvid, a fishing vessel out of Capetown is caught in a bad storm in South Atlantic some way from the Falklands, founders with loss of life. The author was the scientific observer placed on the ship, an outsider who observed the crew at work. It was his first assignment in international waters and it is a wonder to me that it did not end his career.

The Sudur Harvid was an old ship, under-maintained, not seaworthy, crewed by men from South Africa and Namibia, many of whom were inexperienced in maritime matters. The deckhands and fish factory workers were paid a pittance by the owners, there were no safety procedures, no training and no properly trained officer class on board. The men who commanded the bridge did not have a set of master's papers between them and the agents hired a 'paper captain' who sailed with the vessel though had no active role in directing it. Even when the boat was breached by ingress of sea water the priority remained to keep fishing when to all but those in nominal authority it was clear that there could be only one outcome. All of these deficiencies came together with dreadful consequences for ship and crew.

The book is written in a terse style with short chapters which emphasize the immediacy of disaster. The tension builds throughout and even when rescue is at hand it is far from straightforward.

I don't know why I inflicted this book on myself. I am a landlubber, I like my feet on terra firma and I hate the water. This is a very well written example of my worst nightmare and I strongly recommend it.
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