King, Dean Skeletons On The Zahara

ISBN 13: 9780099435921

Skeletons On The Zahara

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9780099435921: Skeletons On The Zahara

The western Sahara is a baking hot and desolate place, home only to nomads and their camels, and to locusts, snails and thorny scrub. On 28 August 1815 the US brig Commerce was dashed against Mauritania's Cape Bojador and lost, although through bravery and quick thinking the ship's captain, James Riley, managed to lead all of his crew to safety.

What followed was an extraordinary and desperate battle for survival in the face of human hostility, hunger, dehydration and despair, as the crew were captured, robbed and enslaved. They were reduced to drinking urine (their own and the camels'), flayed by the sun, crippled by walking miles across burning stones and sand. Over time James Riley and Sidi Hamet, slave and captor, came to recognise in each other men worthy of respect... Soon the ransom not only of Riley himself but also of a handful of his crew suddenly seemed possible. But Sidi Hamet had enemies of his own, and to reach safety the sailors had to overcome not only the desert but also the greed and anger of those who would keep them in captivity. Skeletons on the Zahara is a thrilling true story of shipwreck, adventure, and the limits of man.

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Review:

Some stories are so enthralling they deserve to be retold generation after generation. The wreck in 1815 of the Connecticut merchant ship, Commerce, and the subsequent ordeal of its crew in the Sahara Desert, is one such story. With Skeletons on the Zahara: A True Story of Survival, Dean King refreshes the popular 19th-century narrative once read and admired by Henry David Thoreau, James Fenimore Cooper and Abraham Lincoln. King's version, which actually draws from two separate first-person accounts of the Commerce's crew, offers a page-turning blend of science, history and classic adventure.

The book begins with a seeming false start: tracing the lives of two merchants from North Africa, Seid and Sidi Hamet, who lose their fortunesó-and almost their livesó-when their massive camel caravan arrives at a desiccated oasis. King then jumps to the voyage of the Commerce under Captain Riley and his 11-man crew. After stops in New Orleans and Gibraltar, the ship falls off course en route to the Canary Islands and ultimately wrecks at the infamous Cape Bojador. After the men survive the first predations of the nomads on the shore, they meander along the coast looking for a way inland as their supplies dwindle. They subsist for days by drinking their own urine. Eventually, to their horror, they discover that they have come aground on the edge of the Sahara Desert. They submit themselves, with hopes of getting food and water, as slaves to the Oulad Bou Sbaa. After days of abuse, they are bought by Hamet, who, after his own experiences with his failed caravan (described at the novels opening), sympathises with the plight of the crew. Together, they set off on a hellish journey across the desert to collect a bounty for Hamet in Swearah.

King embellishes this compelling narrative throughout with scientific and historical material explaining the origins of the camel, the market for English and American slaves, and the stages of dehydration. He also humanises the Sahrawi with background on the tribes and on the lives of Hamet and Seid. This material, doled out in sufficient amounts to enrich the story without derailing it, makes Skeletons on the Zahara a perfectly entertaining bit of history that feels like a guilty pleasure. --Patrick O'Kelley, Amazon.com

Review:

"Known for his biography of the elusive Patrick O'Brian...Dean King has emerged from the great man's shadow with a compelling work in his own right... Once ashore, King's narrative, like Riley's leadership, grows in stature and certaintly... As King notes, the understanding, respect and compassion between these representatives of the Christian and Muslim worlds offers a timely example in our own troubled age." ( Sunday Times)

"Genuinely gripping, full of twists and turns of fate ... mesmerising ... The torturous journey, with parched tongues and aching bones, in constant fear of bandits who might capture and enslave them, is described in unsparing detail ... The game of bluff and double bluff kept the crewmen's lives on a knife-edge. If you want to know the ending, the Hollywood movie can't be too far behind." ( Daily Mail)

"Dean King has brought to life one of the great, true-life adventure stories - a riveting tale of suffering and redemption" (Nathaniel Philbrick)

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Book Description Cornerstone. Paperback. Book Condition: new. BRAND NEW, Skeletons on the Zahara, Dean King, The western Sahara is a baking hot and desolate place, home only to nomads and their camels, and to locusts, snails and thorny scrub. On 28 August 1815 the US brig Commerce was dashed against Mauritania's Cape Bojador and lost, although through bravery and quick thinking the ship's captain, James Riley, managed to lead all of his crew to safety. What followed was an extraordinary and desperate battle for survival in the face of human hostility, hunger, dehydration and despair, as the crew were captured, robbed and enslaved. They were reduced to drinking urine (their own and the camels'), flayed by the sun, crippled by walking miles across burning stones and sand. Over time James Riley and Sidi Hamet, slave and captor, came to recognise in each other men worthy of respect.Soon the ransom not only of Riley himself but also of a handful of his crew suddenly seemed possible. But Sidi Hamet had enemies of his own, and to reach safety the sailors had to overcome not only the desert but also the greed and anger of those who would keep them in captivity. Skeletons on the Zahara is a thrilling true story of shipwreck, adventure, and the limits of man. Bookseller Inventory # B9780099435921

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Book Description Cornerstone, United Kingdom, 2005. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 196 x 128 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. The western Sahara is a baking hot and desolate place, home only to nomads and their camels, and to locusts, snails and thorny scrub. On 28 August 1815 the US brig Commerce was dashed against Mauritania s Cape Bojador and lost, although through bravery and quick thinking the ship s captain, James Riley, managed to lead all of his crew to safety. What followed was an extraordinary and desperate battle for survival in the face of human hostility, hunger, dehydration and despair, as the crew were captured, robbed and enslaved. They were reduced to drinking urine (their own and the camels ), flayed by the sun, crippled by walking miles across burning stones and sand. Over time James Riley and Sidi Hamet, slave and captor, came to recognise in each other men worthy of respect.Soon the ransom not only of Riley himself but also of a handful of his crew suddenly seemed possible. But Sidi Hamet had enemies of his own, and to reach safety the sailors had to overcome not only the desert but also the greed and anger of those who would keep them in captivity. Skeletons on the Zahara is a thrilling true story of shipwreck, adventure, and the limits of man. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780099435921

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Book Description Cornerstone, United Kingdom, 2005. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 196 x 128 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. The western Sahara is a baking hot and desolate place, home only to nomads and their camels, and to locusts, snails and thorny scrub. On 28 August 1815 the US brig Commerce was dashed against Mauritania s Cape Bojador and lost, although through bravery and quick thinking the ship s captain, James Riley, managed to lead all of his crew to safety. What followed was an extraordinary and desperate battle for survival in the face of human hostility, hunger, dehydration and despair, as the crew were captured, robbed and enslaved. They were reduced to drinking urine (their own and the camels ), flayed by the sun, crippled by walking miles across burning stones and sand. Over time James Riley and Sidi Hamet, slave and captor, came to recognise in each other men worthy of respect.Soon the ransom not only of Riley himself but also of a handful of his crew suddenly seemed possible. But Sidi Hamet had enemies of his own, and to reach safety the sailors had to overcome not only the desert but also the greed and anger of those who would keep them in captivity. Skeletons on the Zahara is a thrilling true story of shipwreck, adventure, and the limits of man. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780099435921

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Book Description Cornerstone, 2005. Book Condition: New. The western Sahara is a baking hot and desolate place. On 28 August 1815, the US brig Commerce was dashed against Mauritania's Cape Bojador and lost, although through bravery and quick thinking the ship's captain, James Riley, managed to lead all of his crew to safety. What followed was an extraordinary and desperate battle for survival. Num Pages: 368 pages, Illustrations, maps, ports. BIC Classification: 1HBW; 3JH; BTP. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 198 x 131 x 23. Weight in Grams: 264. . 2005. Paperback. . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780099435921

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Book Description Paperback. Book Condition: New. Not Signed; The western Sahara is a baking hot and desolate place, home only to nomads and their camels, and to locusts, snails and thorny scrub. On 28 August 1815 the US brig Commerce was dashed against Mauritania's Cape Bojador and lost, although through bravery and quick thinking the ship's captain, James Ri. book. Bookseller Inventory # ria9780099435921_rkm

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Book Description Cornerstone. Book Condition: New. The western Sahara is a baking hot and desolate place. On 28 August 1815, the US brig Commerce was dashed against Mauritania's Cape Bojador and lost, although through bravery and quick thinking the ship's captain, James Riley, managed to lead all of his crew to safety. What followed was an extraordinary and desperate battle for survival. Num Pages: 368 pages, Illustrations, maps, ports. BIC Classification: 1HBW; 3JH; BTP. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 198 x 131 x 23. Weight in Grams: 264. . 2005. Paperback. . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780099435921

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