Summary of The Wager

A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder

David Grann

“The Wager, David Grann’s account of the punishing travails of the 250 men aboard an 18th-century British man-of-war, shipwrecked on an island off the coast of Patagonia, is the most gripping true-life sea yarn I’ve read in years. Setting off for South America on a secret mission in September 1740, the Wager’s crew confronted one disaster after another—and those few who survived carried home competing narratives about what had happened and who was at fault. In 1746 the Admiralty convened a court-martial to determine who was telling the truth. A tour de force of narrative nonfiction, Mr. Grann’s account shows how storytelling, whether to judges or readers, can shape individual and national fortunes—as well as our collective memory.”

—The Wall Street Journal
  1. Prologue
  2. 1 The First Lieutenant
  3. 2 A Gentleman Volunteer
  4. 3 The Gunner
  5. 4 Dead Reckoning
  6. 5 The Storm Within the Storm
  7. 6 Alone
  8. 7 The Gulf of Pain
  9. 8 Wreckage
  10. 9 The Beast
  11. 10 Our New Town
  12. 11 Nomads of the Sea
  13. 12 The Lord of Mount Misery
  14. 13 Extremities
  15. 14 Affections of the People
  16. 15 The Ark
  17. 16 My Mutineers
  18. 17 Byron’s Choice
  19. 18 Port of God’s Mercy
  20. 19 The Haunting
  21. 20 The Day of Our Deliverance
  22. 21 A Literary Rebellion
  23. 22 The Prize
  24. 23 Grub Street Hacks
  25. 24 The Docket
  26. 25 The Court-Martial
  27. 26 The Version That Won
  28. Epilogue