Sunday, July 31, 2022
From the New Yorker writer and author of The Lost City of Z and Killers of the Flower Moon. The book is scheduled to release April 18, 2023. The Hollywood Reporter announced Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Apple have bought the movie rights. Scorsese, DiCaprio, and Apple are finishing a movie adaption of Killers of the Flower Moon now.
The book plot:
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Killers of the Flower Moon, a page-turning story of shipwreck, survival, and savagery, culminating in a court martial that reveals a shocking truth. With the twists and turns of a thriller Grann unearths the deeper meaning of the events on the Wager, showing that it was not only the captain and crew who ended up on trial, but the very idea of empire.
On January 28, 1742, a ramshackle vessel of patched-together wood and cloth washed up on the coast of Brazil. Inside were thirty emaciated men, barely alive, and they had an extraordinary tale to tell. They were survivors of His Majesty’s Ship the Wager, a British vessel that had left England in 1740 on a secret mission during an imperial war with Spain. While the Wager had been chasing a Spanish treasure-filled galleon known as “the prize of all the oceans,” it had wrecked on a desolate island off the coast of Patagonia. The men, after being marooned for months and facing starvation, built the flimsy craft and sailed for more than a hundred days, traversing 2500 miles of storm-wracked seas. They were greeted as heroes.
But then … six months later, another, even more decrepit craft landed on the coast of Chile. This boat contained just three castaways, and they told a very different story. The thirty sailors who landed in Brazil were not heroes – they were mutineers. The first group responded with countercharges of their own, of a tyrannical and murderous senior officer and his henchmen. It became clear that while stranded on the island the crew had fallen into anarchy, with warring factions fighting for dominion over the barren wilderness. As accusations of treachery and murder flew, the Admiralty convened a court martial to determine who was telling the truth. The stakes were life-and-death—for whomever the court found guilty could hang.
The Wager is a grand tale of human behavior at the extremes told by one of our greatest nonfiction writers. Grann’s recreation of the hidden world on a British warship rivals the work of Patrick O’Brian, his portrayal of the castaways’ desperate straits stands up to the classics of survival writing such as The Endurance, and his account of the court martial has the savvy of a Scott Turow thriller. As always with Grann’s work, the incredible twists of the narrative hold the reader spellbound.
The Hollywood Reporter - "Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin Scorsese Tackling Naval Survival Tale ‘The Wager’ for Apple, Imperative (Exclusive)"
Wall Street Journal - "Welcome to Aotearoa? The Campaign to Decolonize New Zealand’s Name"
"The first European contact with indigenous Māori ended with four sailors killed and a hasty retreat. But it led to an identity for this South Pacific country: Nieuw Zeeland in Dutch, or New Zealand when it later became part of the British Empire.
Now, some lawmakers want New Zealanders to drop a name that harks back to an era of colonization and adopt another—Aotearoa, a Māori word referring to the clouds that indigenous oral history says helped early Polynesian navigators make their way here.
Around the world, several countries are rethinking their identities to address resentment at their colonial past and forge a new future. In some cases, that involves changing the head of state, such as Barbados’s severing of ties to the British monarchy. In others, it has meant changing its official name, as Eswatini did in 2018 when its absolute ruler decided it should no longer be known as Swaziland. Australia in recent years tweaked its national anthem because it didn’t reflect its Aboriginal history.
In New Zealand, the issue is coming to a head because a petition to rename the country Aotearoa—pronounced ‘au-te-a-ro-uh’—garnered more than 70,000 signatures and will be considered by a parliamentary committee that could recommend a vote in Parliament, put it to a referendum or take no further action."
New York Times - "He’s Baseball’s Only Mud Supplier. It’s a Job He May Soon Lose."
"While coaching third base for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1938, he heard an umpire complain about the struggle to prepare brand-new balls for use. Blackburne experimented with mud from a Delaware River tributary, not far from his New Jersey home, and found that it de-glossed the ball while mostly maintaining its whiteness.
He now had a side job. After a while, every major and minor league team was using what sometimes came to be called “Mississippi mud” — though “mysterious” would have been more apt than Mississippi.
Before Blackburne died at 81 in 1968, he bequeathed the secret spot to an old friend who had joined him in mud harvesting: Bintliff’s grandfather, who left it to Bintliff’s mother and father, who, in 2000, passed it on to Bintliff."
New Yorker - "The Haves and the Have-Yachts"
By Evan Osnos
"If you’ve just put half a billion dollars into a boat, you may have qualms about the truism that material things bring less happiness than experiences do. But this, too, can be finessed. Andrew Grant Super, a co-founder of the “experiential yachting” firm Berkeley Rand, told me that he served a uniquely overstimulated clientele: “We call them the bored billionaires.” He outlined a few of his experience products. “We can plot half of the Pacific Ocean with coördinates, to map out the Battle of Midway,” he said. “We re-create the full-blown battles of the giant ships from America and Japan. The kids have haptic guns and haptic vests. We put the smell of cordite and cannon fire on board, pumping around them.” For those who aren’t soothed by the scent of cordite, Super offered an alternative. “We fly 3-D-printed, architectural freestanding restaurants into the middle of the Maldives, on a sand shelf that can only last another eight hours before it disappears.”"
"As yachts have grown more capacious, and the limits on passengers have not, more and more space on board has been devoted to staff and to novelties. The latest fashions include imax theatres, hospital equipment that tests for dozens of pathogens, and ski rooms where guests can suit up for a helicopter trip to a mountaintop. The longtime owner, who had returned the previous day from his yacht, told me, “No one today—except for assholes and ridiculous people—lives on land in what you would call a deep and broad luxe life. Yes, people have nice houses and all of that, but it’s unlikely that the ratio of staff to them is what it is on a boat.” After a moment, he added, “Boats are the last place that I think you can get away with it.”"