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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
It's a miracle that Nick Thorpe's 8 Men and a Duck got written. When dreamer/adventurer Phil Buck set out to sail a reed boat across the Pacific from South America to Easter Island, British journalist Thorpe managed to tag along as a "crew member," never mind the fact that his own sailing résumé consisted mostly of capsizing sailboats into Thames River sewage and being a second-string college rower on a boat nicknamed "Eeyore."
The group's noble (or nutty, depending upon your viewpoint) mission was to complete the "missing link" voyage in the explorer Thor Heyerdahl's still-controversial theory of Polynesian/Amerindian migrations. But fitful funding, media mudslinging from a failed rival, prevoyage crew (and crucial equipment) defections, and swindling tow boat operators almost sank the Viracocha expedition before it ever left the shoreline. Once the boat was launched, the sailing didn't get much smoother; in fact, close encounters with sharks, steamships, and storms (both meteorological and interpersonal) make the eventual Easter Island landfall seem a downright preposterous and completely glorious achievement.
Thorpe adroitly chronicles this watery and wonderful theater of the absurd with appropriately deadpan understatement and genuine admiration for his fellow crew members and their quest. (Janet Dudley)