Caliban's Shore: The Wreck of the Grosvenor and the Strange Fate of Her Survivors

Caliban s Shore The Wreck of the Grosvenor and the Strange Fate of Her Survivors IN THE SUMMER OF the grandees of the East India Company were horrified to learn that one of their finest ships the ton Grosvenor had been lost on the wild and unexplored coast of southeast

  • Title: Caliban's Shore: The Wreck of the Grosvenor and the Strange Fate of Her Survivors
  • Author: Stephen Taylor
  • ISBN: 9780393050851
  • Page: 216
  • Format: Hardcover
  • IN THE SUMMER OF 1783 the grandees of the East India Company were horrified to learn that one of their finest ships, the 741 ton Grosvenor, had been lost on the wild and unexplored coast of southeast Africa Astonishingly, most of those on board reached the shore safely 91 members of the crew and 34 wealthy, high born passengers, including women and children They were hIN THE SUMMER OF 1783 the grandees of the East India Company were horrified to learn that one of their finest ships, the 741 ton Grosvenor, had been lost on the wild and unexplored coast of southeast Africa Astonishingly, most of those on board reached the shore safely 91 members of the crew and 34 wealthy, high born passengers, including women and children They were hundreds of miles from the nearest European outpost and they were not alone They surveyed one another with mutual incomprehension on the one hand the dishevelled castaways on the other, black warriors with high conical hairstyles, daubed with red mud Drawing upon unpublished material and new research, Stephen Taylor pieces together the strands of this compelling saga, sifting the myths from a reality that is no less gripping Full of unexpected twists, Caliban s Shore takes the reader to the heart of what is now South Africa, to analyze the misunderstandings that led to tragedy, to tell the story of those who returned, and to unravel the mystery of those who stayed.

    One thought on “Caliban's Shore: The Wreck of the Grosvenor and the Strange Fate of Her Survivors”

    1. Having opened the covers of this book, I find myself the final passenger of this ill-fated three-masted schooner as she heads west from Madras to England. I have no interest in all the aquaintances I was forced to meet nor was I interested in their reasons for being aboard. This I endured for the first 50 or so pages of my passage. I am more interested in the adventure that I know I will experience in the near future. So far I have not been disappointed. I survived the shipwreck and now find mys [...]

    2. It was a ship full of passengers who had paid good money for the greedy captain to take them home from India. The ship was considered one of the strongest of the 18th-century East India Company ships, but the captain was more experienced in fleecing men and women of the majority of their money than in maritime knowledge. Delayed by the anger of Lord McCartney, who didn't appreciate the captain's demanding ways, the ship left late in the season, missing the standard accompaniment of other East In [...]

    3. The story of the Grosvenor, an English ship that sank off the west coast of Africa in 1782, is fascinating. Most of the officers, passengers, and crew made it to shore, where they decided to walk down the coastline towards a Dutch settlement. It didn't take long for many of the younger, stronger survivors to leave those less able to fend for themselves behind, including several women and children. As the castaways headed south, they broke into ever smaller groups as they faced natural barriers, [...]

    4. (This review was written after reading the book in its paperback edition - titled The Caliban Shore)When the Indiaman, the Grosvenor, ran on to rocks and sank on the east coast of Africa in August 1782 there were more than a hundred survivors. They were officers and men of the ship's crew as well as a range of passengers, men, women and children. At the time of the wreck, the captain had believed his position to be 300 miles out to sea. His next mistake was to try to lead his motley band south t [...]

    5. Not the greatest shipwreck book I've read lately. The prose is a bit dry and I'd guess the author is S. African as there were a few Afrikaans terms he used that I had to look up. Still, it's amazing to think about the world back when it was so much larger. There really is no equivalent today unless you look forward to space exploration.

    6. The book starts slowly, but by the fourth chapter you won't want to put it down. I loved that Stephen Taylor takes you into the people's lives and describes so candidly what it was like to sail on an East Indiaman. I was heartbroken reading the goodbye between the Hosea and Chambers families, each one parting with their precious child. And it pains to think that many of the castaways would have survived had they turned north to the Portuguese settlement of Delagoa Bay. But Taylor has a way of wr [...]

    7. I was immediately impressed by Taylor's recounting of the Grosvenor. He is an excellent writer with a concise style that was never too erudite or long-winded. He sets the story up beautifully depicting 18th century India and the system there, as well as listing the passengers. I'm familiar with a lot of British India, and at this time it was a private enterprise dream under 'John Companye east India Company. The perils and boredom of ocean travel are recounted, and the shipwreck is sad and almos [...]

    8. Stephen Taylor's excellent grasp of the English language was a little difficult to wade through. The first part of the book chronicles the Grosvenor's journey from India and subsequent wreck off the southeastern shore of Africa in the 1780's. The sheer number of passengers made it hard to follow as characters are concerned. The second part attempts to piece together what became of the survivors and the third part relies on the first two parts to retell the story through court documents after an [...]

    9. The tale of an East India Company shipwreck on the south east coast of what is now South Africa, Caliban's Shore is a beautifully written history that reads at times like a thriller. The research, though limited by the scant availability of sources, is exhaustive, and Taylor's story telling whips along at a pace one would not expect from such a subject. It seemed at some points that certain characters had been forgotten, but back they came to surprise me and complete a very good account of a fas [...]

    10. In 1781 the East Indiaman of 741 tons was sailing the India Ocean off the southern coast of Africa when she encountered a storm and sank. This is the story leading up to the tragedy and of the struggle of the survivors to reach civilization. It gives an insight to conditions in Africa during the Eighteenth Century as well what occurs in a struggle to survive a disaster in a hostile environment. It was easy to read and I found it interesting.

    11. Memorable. Entirely riveting - could not put it down. Huge fan of this sort of lit. Although I read it a couple of years ago I can easily bring to mind vivid details of this incredible true story. Rates up there with "In the Heart of the Sea" by Nathaniel Philbrick for its descriptive, nail-biting account.

    12. The Caliban Shore accompanies the survivors of the East India Company’s schooner, Grosvenor, after she was wrecked on the south-east African coast in August 1782.The story starts in India as passengers and crew make preparations to leave the country and return to England – some having made their fortunes, some under a cloud, and others in an unseemly hurry. We follow the trail of events that lead to the Grosvenor sticking the rocks at on the shores of the Wild Coast, and the miraculous escap [...]

    13. I loved this book! Taylor writes fluidly and his detail is what grabbed me from the start. Obviously he researched his subject well, not only the lives of those who were shipwrecked which he follows from start to finish, but also, more generally, the details of sailing at the time: the East Indiaman ship itself, and the routes which sailors had to follow in rounding the Cape from India, the difficulties in establishing longitude in those days, the dangers in the winds and seasons. I gained far m [...]

    14. Very thoroughly researched, but the huge cast of characters and the very long timelines - including the background prior to the voyage, during the voyage, during the wreck, the descendants, the subsequent treasure hunt scams etc - lost my interest at times.

    15. A thoroughly researched and very well-written account of what happened to a group of castaways after their ship was wrecked off the coast of South Africa in 1782.

    16. I really enjoyed this book, a real non-fiction page-turner. It's the true and brutally interesting story of an English shipwreck on African shores in the late 18th-century. Almost everyone survives the impact, but things go south quickly after that for a variety of reasons, some of which (class divisions, utter ignorance of Africa) are particularly Colonial and some of which (poor morale in the ranks, unqualified idiots in leadership positions) are timeless.I confess to having an affinity for a [...]

    17. The second in a series of true-life shipwreck stories I have read (see Brian Hicks' Ghost Ship: The Mysterious True Story of the Mary Celeste and Her Missing Crew, which I rated 4 stars), this one suffers a bit not so much from the quality of the writing but from the paucity of documentation surrounding the wreck and the fate of its survivors.The sad thing is that the remoteness of the Southeast African coast at the time of the wreck, along with bad political blood between England (the ships hom [...]

    18. This book tells the true story of a ship that was wrecked off the coast of South Africa in the 1700's. It tells the story of a series of passengers, from the crew, captain, maids, servants, to high society passengers. I found it a bit difficult to follow at many points, as the author would step back to tell the back story of several passengers before following what happened to them after the wreck. This book was highly recommended to me by a friend from South Africa, but I did not find it to be [...]

    19. For 18th Century British colonists traveling back and forth between India and the mother country, Africa was the equivalent of what is today known as "flyover country." Little was known of the topography, the people, the weather, or the plant and animal life. And if your ship crashed against the African shore, which would happen from time to time, you were stuck, possibly forever, in this unknown land. This is the story of one such ship, as related by a South African author. A little too much sp [...]

    20. This was one of my books that slipped through the system. I read it but forgot to write a review. This is what happens when I get too far behind. A fascinating true story about a shipwreck that occured in the 1700's to mostly British citizens returning from India. The writing is based on several survivors' journals and newspaper interviews. From time to time the writing got a little bogged down in conjecture. I'm sure it's very difficult to write on an event that occured over two hundred years a [...]

    21. A lengthy historical journal on the wreck of the Grosvenor and the individual stories of the shipwrecked crew and passengers as they deal with a strange environment that most haven't experienced before. Some survive, the majority do not, some disappear never to be heard of again whilst others seem to have integrated into the local's customs and traditions. The wreck becomes infamous and stays in the public's mindset for many years prompting many efforts to prove some of the unknowns of the wreck [...]

    22. This was a fascinating read. I'd never heard of this ship wreck which happened on the coast of Africa in 1782. The book not only covers the sinking of the ship and the fate of the survivors, but it also tells you a lot about their lives and the times they lived in. Some reviewers have called this a drawback, but it was all very interesting to me. It is detailed without being too long. If you like historical tales, this is a good one.

    23. Outstanding!It may help if you like boats, but this story is terrifically well told and reconstructs beautifully what it was probably like to be on a ship in 1782, and to be wrecked on the African coast. A masterful piece of research and re-telling.I hope very much that Taylor found no need to embellish any of what is a fantastic story - I doubt he did. it kept my whole attention from p1 to the end and it makes me want to go and look at the sites, as the author did.

    24. A fascinating and thoroughly researched work. It reveals as much about 18th-century trade and travel as it does about the individual lives of the passengers and crew of the Grosvenor. You come away with a clear vision of what getting from point A to point B entailed at the time, as well as the difficulties the traveller faced upon an unexpected arrival at point C somewhere in between.

    25. I enjoyed this historical investigation into the wreck of the Grosvenor and its survivors. The author made this event come to life for me as he gave plausible narratives of those who survived. He did a good job of adding a personal sense to an event happening centuries ago.

    26. Pretty good and very well written history; there was a lot here about the African coast and early British imperialism that I didn't know. The author did an excellent job of piecing together primary sources and making them come alive.

    27. Historical account of ship wreck castaways on the African coast. A well written and researched narrative if you enjoy this genre.

    28. Fascinating and very well researched account of an Indiaman returning to England from Madras in the 1780's and is shipwrecked on the South African coast.

    29. I enjoy ship wrecj tales, partly for what they reveal about people in extreme situations, and also for their exoticism.Very well researched

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