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Brandt's selections range from the apostle Paul to Mark Twain to the Titanic disaster. The Tragic History of the Sea draws from tales around the globe: the doomed Medusa, whose survivors were abandoned to their fate by a cowardly crew, to live on only in a famous painting in the Louvre; the infamous Essex and her fatal cruise which inspired Melville's Moby Dick; and the harrowing wreck of the Wager, which left the earlier Lord Byron, the poet's kinsman, starving on Patagonia's bleak shores.
A riveting anthology of high adventure and astonishing survival against all odds, this storm-tossed voyage through history's gales and across unforgiving seas represents the best of a storytelling tradition that goes back centuries. Each extraordinary tale is linked to the next by Brandt's expert annotations and commentary, which sets them in context, provides a wealth of maritime and literary background and places this volume of shipwreck tales in a class by itself.