The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder

By David Grann
Adult NonFiction

I was excited to read David Grann’s The Wager, but I was especially excited when I discovered I could snag an e-audiobook copy from Libby. As far as research goes, this book was researched flawlessly. It’s packed with 1700s history, but never once felt heavy or dry with information. Grann gives us the voyage of the Wager: how this beast of a ship and its crew traveled the Drake Passage, how it endlessly endured until its very last demise. We see the characters come to life, some that were reportedly long lost in history and were once found again through Grann’s research. Grann crafts these characters in a way that makes them visible again. We see their utter dominance of life, in some cases their total betrayal, their human destruction, and for many, their eventual death. This book is an astonishing tale of life at sea in the 1700s, and Dion Graham’s (the narrator's) voice is the perfect catch to tell it. Take caution: there are many moments of mutiny and murder, as given in its title, so it may not be for the fainthearted. But if you’re seeking a powerful story of perseverance and survival, Grann’s got you covered.

Reviewed by Carrie Pung
Hoyt Library