The true story of the ship Grosvenor, a vessel that made the journey from England to India in the 1780ies. On one of the trips back from India, it suffers a complete shipwreck on the eastern coast of what is today South Africa.
But the shipwreck was the easy part. We follow the survivors (most of the passengers) through the next several months and then years. A fascinating story, I learned much about the world in the 18th century, the nature of its trade with India, and how the colonies were run and governed. I found out many of the details of the class structure, what things cost, what was involved in an overseas journey, and of course, the state of southern Africa at that time.
Following this account takes you away from this world entirely. I am always fascinated by how little I know about the world. I swear, you could pick up this book, read it, and then spend the rest of your life studying that small part of history in that small part of the world.
I am also fascinated how many people in all times of history suffered so much more than any of us ‘moderns’ have ever suffered.
Reading Caliban’s Shore is not reading a book, it’s immersing yourself in another world, a world so exotic, so breathtaking, so alien, it leaves you stunned.