Stock Image

A Furnace Afloat: The Wreck of the Hornet and the Harrowing 4,300-mile Voyage of Its Survivors

Jackson, Joe

59 ratings by Goodreads
ISBN 10: 074323037X / ISBN 13: 9780743230377
Published by Free Press, 2003
Condition: Near Fine Hardcover
From Trilby & Co. Books (San Jose, CA, U.S.A.)

AbeBooks Seller Since 15 July 2011

Quantity Available: 1

Buy Used
Price: 19.82 Convert Currency
Shipping: 2.69 Within U.S.A. Destination, Rates & Speeds
Add to basket

About this Item

First printing. Inscribed and SIGNED by Joe Jackson on the half title page. The volume is very lightly bumped at the spine ends and corners. The unclipped dust jacket, sleeved in mylar, has a thin piece of reinforcing tape on the spine tail. Bookseller Inventory # 15062734

Ask Seller a Question

Bibliographic Details

Title: A Furnace Afloat: The Wreck of the Hornet ...

Publisher: Free Press

Publication Date: 2003

Binding: Hardcover

Book Condition:Near Fine

Dust Jacket Condition: Neer Fine

Signed: Signed

Edition: First Edition.

About this title


In the tradition of Nathaniel Philbrick's bestselling In the Heart of the Sea, Joe Jackson's A Furnace Afloat tells of the American clipper ship Hornet, which went down in flames, casting its crew adrift for forty-three days on the open ocean. Along with the stories of the Bounty and the whaleship Essex, the Hornet disaster was once one of the country's most infamous naval disasters.

Over the years, a handful of famous shipwrecks have become symbols of something greater, their accounts a floating opera of sudden disaster, wasted life, and privations endured by survivors. One of these was the 1866 saga of the clipper ship Hornet, the crew of which barely survived for six weeks on ten days' worth of rations and shoe leather, drifting 4,300 miles in a single lifeboat as they all slowly weakened and became delirious or mad.

The American clipper ship Hornet left her homeport of New York City on January 15, 1866, and embarked on what was considered a routine voyage to San Francisco around Cape Horn. She enjoyed an exceptionally smooth passage until the morning of May 3, when the ship ghosted gently a thousand miles west of the Galápagos Islands. On that day, the first mate went below to draw some varnish from a cask and accidentally set the cask afire. Within minutes, the entire ship was engulfed.

The ship's company of thirty-one men escaped into three small boats, set adrift under the burning sun of the Pacific Ocean to watch helplessly as the Hornet became a floating bonfire and sank beneath the waves.

The Hornet's complement -- twenty-nine officers and crew, and two aristocratic passengers -- mirrored all the prejudices and nuances of Industrial Age America. Their ordeal was harrowing: half of the Hornet's crew disappeared; the survivors were stalked by sharks and waterspouts, desiccated by heat, driven mad by lack of food and water. Soon the social divisions in the boat erupted into class war.

The crewmen accused the captain of hoarding food, water, and even gold, and they plotted mutiny. Their only salvation was to land on the "American group," a mythical set of islands said to exist somewhere in the Pacific. But the islands never materialized, and with no hope left, the men planned the details of cannibalism. On the day they were to draw straws, they reached Hawaii. By chance, a young, little-known Samuel Langhorne Clemens was in Hawaii. He wrote an account of the voyage that would make the crew famous, and Mark Twain (Clemens' nom de plume) a household name.

Drawing on extensive primary sources, including survivors' diaries and letters, as well as newspaper accounts and Twain's reporting, Jackson has created a gripping narrative of the horrors and triumphs of men against the sea.

About the Author:

Five-time Pulitzer nominee Joe Jackson is the author of Leavenworth Train: Bitter Justice in the Vanishing West, a finalist for the 2002 Edgar Awards for Best Fact Crime. He is coauthor with William F. Burke of Dead Run: The Shocking Story of Dennis Stockton and Life on Death Row in America. From 1985 to 1997, he was an investigative reporter for The Virginian-Pilot. He lives in Virginia Beach with his wife and son.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Store Description

Trilby & Co. Books is located in Northern California. The company was founded years ago by a Shetland Sheepdog named Trilby. Trilby's message to her family was brief and direct - the sale of books would increase disposable income and improve the quality of provisions in her food dish. My name is McTavish (picture at left). I am the current CEO of this company, and I approve of her message. Oh, by the way, my speciality is literature, with an emphasis on first editions and signed books.

Visit Seller's Storefront

Terms of Sale:

We guarantee the condition of every book as it's described on the Abebooks web sites. If you're dissatisfied with your purchase (Incorrect Book/Not as Described/Damaged) or if the order hasn't arrived, you're eligible for a refund within 30 days of the estimated delivery date. If you've changed your mind about a book that you've ordered, please use the Ask bookseller a question link to contact us and we'll respond within 2 business days.

Name: Al Denison
Address: 88 Cashew Blossom Drive
San Jose...

More Information
Shipping Terms:

Shipping costs are based on books weighing up to 3.25 lbs. If your book order is heavier or oversized, we may contact you to let you know extra shipping is required.

List this Seller's Books

Payment Methods
accepted by seller

Visa Mastercard American Express