The Stowaway: A Young Man’s Extraordinary Adventure to Antarctica

Laurie Gwen Shapiro. Simon & Schuster, $26 (225p) ISBN 978-1-4767-5386-7
In this true-life adventure yarn, filmmaker Shapiro reconstructs the story of Billy Gawronski, who captured the boundless optimism of the American national psyche in the lead up to the Great Depression when, in 1928, he attempted to stow away on a ship headed to the Antarctic. The enthusiastic 18-year-old was caught trying to sneak onboard three times before he could finally convince his hero, commander Richard Byrd, to let him join as a mess boy aboard the Eleanor Bolling en route to the South Pole. Shapiro interweaves snippets of Russell Owen’s Pulitzer Prize–winning coverage of the expedition for the New York Times into the main narrative, which tracks Billy’s progression from being a reckless stowaway to commanding a ship in WWII. In the characters of Billy and his shipmates, Shapiro finds a “microcosm of American barriers and dreams.” This coming-of-age story about a strong-willed boy with an insatiable appetite for adventure is evocative of the Hardy Boys and will appeal to both adult and young adult readers. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/13/2017
Release date: 01/16/2018
Genre: Nonfiction
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-5082-4457-8
Ebook - 978-1-4767-5388-1
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