Boon Island: Including Contemporary Accounts of the Wreck
An amazing, true story Right off the coast of Maine There is a light house there now Originally, I was going to give this 1 star, because it is bad, predictable historical fiction Because it is rooted in an actual event, I gave it two stars I had read all of Roberts other historical fiction, and it pales in comparison If I had not looked at the publish date, I would thought it was one of his earlier efforts. During a trip to the Maine coast we visited the lighthouse at Neddick, ME From there across the water you could see Boone Island, about 10 miles away Her lighthouse was not there in 1710 when an English ship, the Nottingham, crashed on the rocky island The survivors spent nearly a month with no shelter, fire, or food before being rescued New Years Day by mainland fishermen Kenneth Roberts brings this tale to life in a fictionalized version of the shipwreck and ensuing struggle to stay alive As people do when faced with the most extreme conditions, they resorted to cannibalism I read a very early edition of the book, not the one above I see now that there is information available about the wreck and what ensued Must get a copy of the newer edition. This is not one of Roberts s big historical novels like Northwest Passage but a smaller, somewhat circumscribed tale of a shipwreck off the coast of colonial Maine The story is certainly vivid and well researched and is a fictionalized account of a true occurrence but the characters do not seem real, and are painted far too black and white Without the broad historical backdrop of events and action one finds in his other novels, this becomes glaringly obvious Boon Island does tie into those other novels, if one is interested in the whole sequence of stories revolving around Maine in this period It might also appeal to those who are interested in nautical subjects Otherwise, it is no than an okay read. Boon Island is based on the true story of the wreck of the Nottingham Galley on the tiny freezing Boon Island off the coast of Maine Roberts works in his extensive research of how this unfortunate group of seamen survived 21 days without food or fire and does a great job of building his characters the positive characters and the negative ones I loved the last passage, How many of us have our Boon Islands And how many of us have our Langmans the scoundrel But doesn t each one of us have an inner America on which in youth his heart is set and if because of age, or greed, or weakness of will, or circumstances beyond his poor control it escapes him, his life, to my way of thinking, has been wasted. The 10 bestseller of 1956 is what I call dick lit Extreme adventure with not one female character until the last few pages Essentially it is a ship wreck story and is meant to show the benefits of strong leadership in times of peril and stress.Kenneth Roberts had two top bestsellers in the 1940s Oliver Wiswell 1940 and Lydia Bailey 1947 He is an excellent story teller, is clearly on the right politically, and can create fascinating female characters when they fit in the story Boon Island however, is Lord of the Flies with a happy ending, where the good guys win.A group of men set out from England in 1710 with a cargo of rope and Irish cheese, bound for Maine They are harboring a young man who accidentally commited murder back in London Also on board are a psychopathic first mate and two of his cronies The first mate is the type of character who brings evil into the midst of men of good will Captain Dean is your level headed, patient yet firm sort who would lead a boyscout troop these days.Within one day s sail of their destination, in the middle of winter, they are driven by a storm onto desolate, rocky Boon Island Will they survive in freezing temperatures on nothing but mussels and seaweed Will the evil Langman succeed in taking over from the admirable Captain Dean It is an exciting story with plenty of psychological content and many mentions of how hardworking people save the day though they carry the slackers on their backs Clearly men still read novels in the mid 1950s. A grim hi fi tale about a shipwreck on a big rock within sight of land When my parents lived in Kittery we took their sailboat out to look at Boon Island There s a tall lighthouse on it now and back then 1960 70 s there was still a Coast Guard crew there To see the place in person was to reinforce the reality those shipwrecked had to deal with The edition I read was without the extra stuff I think Date read is a guess. This author also did Arundel and Rabble at ARms, stories of Revolutionary war Battle of Ticonderoga, focusing on the men of upper New England and their resilience and capabilities The same name keeps coming up, a character named Nason last name Have seen Nason graves at Clinton, Maine Cemetary and it always intrigues me to think of the lives of those hardy people at the birth of our nation This classic tale of shipwreck and survival is reprinted in a new edition, with essays that provide a historical perspective and trace the sources from which Kenneth Roberts 1885 1957 drew his tale A native Mainer, Roberts, whose historical novels include Northwest Passage and Arundel, was intrigued by the story of the December 1710 wreck of the Nottingham After running aground a dozen miles offshore, the ship broke up, stranding her crew with minimal tools, scant shelter, and a few pieces of cheese The men survived nearly a month of screeching gales, sub freezing temperatures, and driving snowstorms During their ordeal they resorted to cannibalism and were finally rescued after one of them made it ashore on a crude raft Included here are contemporary accounts from crew members, offering dramatically different versions of the true life traumatic event and a fascinating counterpoint to Roberts fictionalized version A bestseller when published in 1956, Boon Island is a story of the ways that crisis can inspire the best and worst in human nature. Near the end of the book there is a gross account of eating a dead human body and repeatedly makes reference to it through several chapters Other than that it was a great story Kenneth Roberts always seems to finish the story with the right sentiment of the peace and the freedom of living in America.