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Free Textbooks Skeletons on the Zahara: A True Story of SurvivalAuthor Dean King –

Skeletons on the Zahara is a true but gut wrenching, dehydrating, queasy story of fate of Captain James Riley and the men of The Commerce The story itself is horrifying and contains a quality of human suffering that is incomprehensible to the first world mind I read this book right after reading Endurance Shackleton s Incredible Voyage and I was constantly comparing the two the whole time Both stories are remarkable and I can t imagine how anything but Divine providence could ever attribute to their survival From a writing style, I found Dean King s prose preferable but a little choppy at times His re telling was much faster paced than Shackleton s though the events in Africa were far eventful than in the Antarctic Additionally, though King painted many scenes like a novelist would, I found myself wishing that he worked harder to develop his real life characters and portrayed even of their humanness.On a personal note, reading survival stories like those of Shackleton and Riley seem have a noticeable impact on my moral character I can t imagine how one could read these stories and not find their hearts swelling in thanksgiving and gratitude I am reminded how heavy God s hand of blessing and how light his hand of affliction has been on me.Shackleton and Riley have left their mark on me and I imagine I will tell these stories to my children once they develop strong enough stomachs of course. The Quick and the Dead Skeletons on the Zahara was a worthy addition to my harrowing tales shelf 42 books and growing Obviously, I like this kind of book What makes a good harrowing tale is than depicting suffering, deprivation, and endurance No, a good harrowing tale gives the reader a sense of what qualities allowed the central figure to endure Captain James Riley and eight of his crew, shipwrecked on the desolate Atlantic shore of the Sahara desert, escaped one band of marauding Arabs in a leaky longboat, only to come ashore again, half dead, to face capture and immediate enslavement by another The men were split into several groups, despite Riley s frantic attempts to keep his crew together, and most were traded or resold to other Arab tribesmen, who wandered seemingly randomly through the desert Skeletons on the Sahara does a fine job of recreating the fragmented events and making them clear, with maps and evocative depictions of the key Arab figures and their nomadic lifestyle I learned, for example, of the peculiar physiology of camels, of the shifting alliances and pecking order of Saharan tribes, and of the harsh and implacable conditions on the Sahara, which is not, despite popular imagery, one vast ocean of rolling sand dunes There is also material on the physiology and effects of the extremes of thirst and hunger on the human body I learned, to my surprise, that drinking seawater is not necessarily fatal as long as it is mixed with fresh water And then there is camel s urine but enough said on this matter In short, the author did a fine job of providing details, but not too much detail, and not than was warranted by his research, which was largely based on the two existing survivor narratives, as well as his own experiences attempting to retrace the survivors peregrinations through the Sahara.As mentioned earlier, those who endure in these harrowing tales of survival share certain features and beliefs Sometimes, as in the case of Louis Zamparelli of Unbroken fame and the protagonist of this tale, Captain James Riley, there is faith in and submission to a higher power Riley, nearing death in an enslaved trudge across the desert, has a vision of a future rescue that keeps him going He comes to believe that God has kept him alive for some particular purpose Moreover, Hamet, the Arab that Riley has become enslaved to, also comes to believe that Riley is being kept alive by the will of Allah Despite their differences, the author notes, Riley and Hamet both believed in a higher being, whether called God or Allah, and found unity in his presence in their relationship Oddly enough, a strong bond of mutual respect and trust formed between Riley and his captor Just as important as belief in a higher power, however, may be the nature of the leader Several examples, both positive and negative, spring to mind There is, at the negative end of the pole, the high handedness of a Captain Bligh of the Bounty or the imperial conceit of a Stanley, who abandoned his rear column in equatorial Africa On the positive side we have an Ernest Shackleton , whose wise shepherding of men and resources brought his entire crew of the stranded Endurance arctic expedition back to civilization or a John Wesley Powell, leader of the first expedition down the Colorado River, who faced seemingly insurmountable obstacles yet still brought most of his men back alive Captain Riley, while perhaps not as heroic a figure as Shackleton or Powell, clearly was cast from a similar mold His actions, encouragement, and sacrifices single handedly led to the survival of several of his crew, though it was impossible for him to save a few who were sold away and never heard of again And, as the author makes abundantly clear, one last very important factor in survival is companionship Riley s crew formed strong bonds and clung together in adversity It seems that for some, it becomes just as important to survive as a group as to survive individually Riley in particular put his men first, although at times this meant he had to make difficult decisions, while at other times he faced opposition, resentment, and ingratitude But he never gave tit for tat Upon his return to the United States, Riley became a committed abolitionist, whose impassioned condemnation of slavery almost certainly sprang from first hand experience He had, it seemed, learned something important in captivity Men though covered with a black skin are not brutes, he concluded The hypocritical advocate of slavery shall be detested by all mankind Perhaps not surprisingly, when Riley s account was published in the early 1800s, it became an instant classic, and later a favorite book of Abraham Lincoln.For modern day readers, Dean King provides succinct historical background and lucid commentary on early 19th century life, providing just enough information on the New England seafaring towns and families that Riley and his men set sail from, the types of ships they sailed and life at sea, and the relevant national and international political and commercial events All this is grafted onto a distillation of the survivor s two narratives, resulting in a well paced but not over dramatized tale, told with enough verve to hold our interest and engage our imaginations and sympathies. Am mai citit pove ti inspirate din cazuri reale despre cum au supravie uit diver i oameni n s lb ticie sau n situa ii extreme, inclusiv despre sclavie, dar pu ine mi s au p rut at t de intense, poate doar Revolta de pe Bounty a f cut excep ie Aproape la fel de detaliat i fascinant precum cea a lui Solomon Northup, dar s nu uit m c ,,12 ani de sclavie este o autobiografie, deci cu at t mai mult trebuie apreciat ,,odiseea modern de fa , pentru c a reu it s redea cu at ta elocven experien ele i tr irile celor implica i Dac sunte i pasiona i de istorie, episodul relatat aici nu trebuie ratat Dac nu sunte i, s ar putea s fie un pic greu de parcurs pentru c ve i g si multe date legate de geografia locurilor de atunci i naviga ie, dar sunt mbinate cu anecdote i informa ii cu mare impact, care v vor facilita drumul Pentru mine a fost o lectur uluitoare i cred c reu ita lui Riley i a echipajului s u merit s nu fie uitat Recenzia aici The book tells the true tale of American sailors on the cargo ship Commerce, who were shipwrecked in 1815 off the coast of Africa They were captured, sold into slavery, beaten and starved Through the efforts of Commerce Captain James Riley, many found their way to freedom.To research the book, Dean King embarked on a National Geographic Society sponsored expedition to retrace the horrific journey of Riley and his crew across the Saharan Zahara desert The main source of his information where the two books, one written by Captain James Riley and the other by a crew member Archibald Robbins In addition, the author gives significant information on the Sahara environment, the tribes that lived there at the time, camels, accounts from other captives in different incidents and other background information The story is rich and intense and I found that I read it in a short time one of the main indications for me to appreciate a book. A Spectacular True Odyssey Through The Extremes Of The Sahara Desert In The Early Th Century Reader And Protagonist Alike Are Challenged Into New Ways Of Understanding Culture Clash, Slavery And The Place Of Islam In The Social Fabric Of Desert Dwelling PeoplesIn A Calm May Morning In , Captain James Riley And The Crew Of The Commerce Left Port In Connecticut For An Ordinary Trading Voyage They Could Never Have Imagined What Awaited Them Their Nightmare Began With A Dreadful Shipwreck Off The Coast Of Africa, A Hair Raising Confrontation With Hostile Native Tribesmen Within Hours Of Being Washed Ashore, And A Hellish Confinement In A Rickety Longboat As They Tried, Without Success, To Escape The Fearsome Coast Eventually Captured By Desert Nomads And Sold Into Slavery, Riley And His Men Were Dragged Along On An Insane Journey Through The Bone Dry Heart Of The Sahara A Region Unknown To Westerners Along The Way The Americans Would Encounter Everything That Could Possibly Test Them Barbarism, Murder, Starvation, Plagues Of Locusts, Death, Sandstorms That Lasted For Days, Dehydration, And Hostile Tribes That Roamed The Desert On Armies Of Camels They Would Discover Ancient Cities And Secret Oases They Would Also Discover A Surprising Bond Between A Muslim Trader And An American Sea Captain, Men Who Began As Strangers, Were Forced To Become Allies In Order To Survive, And, In The Tempering Heat Of The Desert, Became Friends Even As The Captain Hatched A Daring Betrayal In Order To Save His Men From The Cold Waters Of The Atlantic To The Searing Saharan Sands, Skeletons On The Zahara Is A Spectacular Odyssey Through The Extremes Destined To Become A Classic Among Adventure Narratives, Dean King S Masterpiece Is An Unforgettable Tale Of Survival, Courage, And Brotherhood I enjoyed Unbound A True Story of War, Love, and Survival better than this book In Unbound, it seemed like King had better handle on his subjects, not surprising considering the modern setting Here the only subject King seems to have a handle on is Capt Riley not surprising, he wrote a book.It is, however, a fasinating, if not riveting, story about survival and far interesting than say Robinson Crusoe Not only did Riley and co have to live though the shipwreck, they had to cross the Zahara desert or as some students say the Sahara Dessert This meant that they had to drink urine Camel or human King did not try this, but apparently camel urine is still drunk.I m glad King included infromation about Hamet because I found myself saying you better not betray him under my breath a copy times. Harrowing true survival story of the crew of the American brig Commerce who were shipwrecked off the western coast of Africa in 1815, held as slaves by nomadic tribes, and subjected to extreme deprivation in crossing the Zahara Sahara desert in a desperate attempt to reach safety It is a tale of courage, tenacity, quick thinking, adaptability, endurance, and persuasion Dean King has blended accounts written separately by two survivors, along with his own research, and his trip retracing the path of the crew s journey, to create a compelling narrative of survival in the face of tremendous adversity The crew endured separation, enslavement, beatings, extremes of heat and cold in the desert, sandstorms, starvation, dehydration, and they were tested to their physical and mental limits I found this book well plotted and engrossing The writing is journalistic in style One of my favorite parts is the bond of trust developed between two men of very different culture and language, and I thought the author did a great job depicting their characters Content warnings include consumption of bodily fluids, insects, and worse , slaughter of animals, slavery, and brutality The maps, images, list of terms, cast of characters, and footnotes are extremely helpful Recommended to fans of maritime history, true adventure, and survival stories. Many readers have complained that the book is dry It is It is very repetitious It is also amazing 12 American sailors are shipwrecked on the coast of Africa in 1815 and taken as slaves by desert nomads They are beaten, poorly fed, often nude, worked to skin and bones and traded among different groups for as little as a torn blanket In two months Captain Riley goes from 240lbs to 90 and others are reduced to 40lbs Through Riley s determination, leadership and guile 5 of the group eventually are freed with another couple coming out of the desert later Riley writes a memoir of the experience and becomes quite famous Abraham Lincoln read the book King weaves this and another memoir together with his own studies into an interesting story Riley suffers from classic PTSD after his deliverance from slavery I found the descriptions of the nomads behavior and customs interesting Stealing and lying are common and expected If you don t guard your possessions and someone else gets them they aren t yours any Generosity in the sharing of food with whoever visits is expected Yelling, bullying, threatening and aggression are the accepted ways of interacting, both in 1815 and in 1983 when Amy and I honeymooned in Moroccoboy did people yell and connive a lot The way the sailors were treated was barbaric, no different than American blacks at the time and Riley returns as a staunch abolitionist He also has great compassion for his final owner, Sidi Hamet, who did indeed profit from his final sale to a British Consul but did nothing contrary to the standards of the time and was honest and brave in his determination to bring Riley and his men to freedom Later Hamet is killed in transporting several other of Riley s men north for ransom The descriptions of the landscape of what is now western Morocco and Mauritania is eye opening It is a dry but fascinating tale. Suspect this would be an informative, entertaining re read especially, since I have only the foggiest notion of the events and timing Fading memory doesn t alway make for interesting re reads.