Book Review: Adrift – by Steven Callahan

July 9, 2011: Re-publishing this review after just seeing this story featured on TV under “I Shouldn’t Be Alive.”  They did a pretty good job condensing a complex non-fiction book into a one-hour TV show, good enough to stick with through the endless commercials.

Here is the original review:

This is a non-fiction story told by the author about his experience of being shipwrecked in the Atlantic and drifting in a rubber raft for 76 days. The story plays in the early 1980ies. The author is an avid and experienced sailor on his way back to the US, via the Caribbean, from the Canary Islands, in a small sail boat, by himself. A few days into the voyage his boat smashes into something and is completely destroyed. He never actually finds out what happened and he barely escapes with his life. Miraculously, he manages to get the rubber life raft launched and obtain his emergency gear, including a fishing spear gun and a sleeping bag, before his boat sinks and completely disappears.

Given his almost total lack of food and freshwater, you would expect him not to be able to survive beyond a week. Very few people in the history of sailing have been adrift longer than a couple of months and survived to tell about it. He has. The ordeals that he goes through are staggering and beyond anything you can imagine. Since I read his book, I knew that against all odds, he would eventually survive.

This is the book to read if you think you have problems, with your marriage, relationships, children, job, creditors, friends or whatever else you can imagine. Nothing seems like a valid reason for despair after you read Adrift. You have it easy, and you will be grateful for every minute of that easiness. I was tremendously inspired by the courage and indomitable will the author showed in this quest for survival. He succeeded. I wonder if I would have had such strength.

Problems? Do I have problems? Nah!

2 thoughts on “Book Review: Adrift – by Steven Callahan

  1. Ben Brackey

    Hey, I am Bennett Brackey From St. Paul Minnesota. I am doing a research project on how to survive in the wilderness. I read your book, Adrift and i loved it so much! I need an interview source for my paper and thought immediately of you. I was wondering if I could send you a few questions via e-mail about some things that helped you survive out at sea. It would be great if you could respond. Thank so much!
    Bennett Brackey

    1. Hi Ben: The author of Adrift is Steven Callahan. I am just a reader like you who published a review of the book after reading it. I don’t know how to get in contact with the author. There is a wiki page about him you might check. Sometimes authors find reviews such as these and if they notice your message they might respond. Good luck!

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