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The Stowaway: A Young Man’s Extraordinary Adventure to Antarctica (2018)

por Laurie Gwen Shapiro

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1519178,178 (3.76)24
The spectacular, true story of a scrappy teenager from New York's Lower East Side who stowed away on the Roaring Twenties' most remarkable feat of science and daring: an expedition to Antarctica. It was 1928: a time of illicit booze, of Gatsby and Babe Ruth, of freewheeling fun. The Great War was over and American optimism was higher than the stock market. What better moment to launch an expedition to Antarctica, the planet's final frontier? This was the moon landing before the 1960s. Everyone wanted to join the adventure. Rockefellers and Vanderbilts begged to be taken along as mess boys, and newspapers across the globe covered the planning's every stage. The night before the expedition's flagship launched, Billy Gawronski--a skinny, first generation New York City high schooler desperate to escape a dreary future in the family upholstery business--jumped into the Hudson River and snuck aboard. Could he get away with it? From the grimy streets of New York's Lower East Side to the rowdy dance halls of sultry Francophone Tahiti, all the way to Antarctica's blinding white and deadly freeze, Laurie Gwen Shapiro's The Stowaway takes you on the unforgettable voyage of a gutsy young stowaway who became an international celebrity, a mascot for an up-by-your bootstraps age.… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 9 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
PLC 2020
  Ronaldo2 | Jan 3, 2020 |
3.75 stars

Billy Gawronski’s parents immigrated from Poland to New York. He grew up wanting to be a sailor, and at 17, though his Dad wanted him to take over his successful interior design business, Billy stowed away on a ship belonging to his hero, Richard Byrd. Byrd had planned to be the first to fly over the Atlantic, but Lindberg just barely beat him to it. Instead, Byrd decided to head to Antarctica by ship, then to be the first to fly to the South Pole. Billy wanted to be part of it all.

This was good. It followed Billy (and Byrd), not just to Antarctica and back (and that is the bulk of the book), but I liked that it continued when they returned. They returned in 1930, just after the collapse of the stock market and the economy was bad, so it was not easy for any of the returning crew (though hailed as heroes) to find work at that time. ( )
  LibraryCin | Jul 26, 2018 |
This is the story of seventeen-year-old Billy Gawronksi, a stowaway (after a few attempts) on the ship Eleanor Bolling that followed Admiral Richard Byrd’s flagship to Antarctica. In the late 1920s, Byrd-mania had swept through America, igniting the imaginations of youth in New York City where his ships were docked before his grand polar adventure. Young Billy was not going to fall victim to a sad existence of life working in his father’s upholstery business. He was going to have a life of adventure, and nobody was going to thwart him. Billy’s chutzpah was without parallel, and his derring-do earned him a spot on the unknown continent.

Shapiro provides enough biographical information to make Billy’s motivations relevant and sympathetic without bogging down her reader with extraneous details. Billy’s story, along with those of other historical characters on Byrd’s first Antarctic expedition, is set against the backdrop of the Jazz Age in between the World Wars. Shapiro weaves in the significance of the Great Depression, the nationalistic pride in America’s heroes, and the onset of WWII on Billy’s decisions and career. Shapiro also doesn’t shy away from including the blatant racism and prejudice that affected Billy’s tenure, among other wannabe adventurers on Byrd’s expedition. Her perseverance in uncovering the details and admirable life story of this unknown boy-explorer is evident in the comprehensive story she presents to her readers.

The Stowaway filled a lot of gaps in my knowledge of American polar exploration. The stories of the lesser-known idealistic adventure-seekers who accompanied Byrd to Antarctica provided an interesting perspective of the polar-fever that had captured Americans during the beginning of the 20th century.

This book will appeal to many different readers: those interested in Polar exploration will, of course, love Billy’s tale, but anyone with a passing interest in early 20th century American history, particularly the immigrant experience, will find a great story in this book as well. Highly recommended.

Many thanks to Netgalley and Simon & Schuster for this advance copy in exchange for my review.
( )
  ErickaS | May 2, 2018 |
This was an interesting, but not quite captivating, story about a young man from New York City who hungered for adventure and stowed away on an expedition to Antarctica in 1929. The story is fascinating - I really liked the scene in which Billy hid on the ship and discovered two other stowaways in his chosen hiding place. At times lighthearted and other times more serious and mundane, I enjoyed this book without really getting much out of it. ( )
  wagner.sarah35 | Mar 26, 2018 |
The year was 1928. The Great War was over. America was optimistic. What better time to launch an expedition to Antarctica? Not a whole lot was known about the planet's final frontier. Almost everybody wanted to join Admiral Byrd on his journey, even the Rockefellers and Vanderbilts begged to be taken on as mess boys. Young Billy Gawronski was no different. The skinny New York City high-schooler begged his father to sign the paper to let him go, but it wasn't happening. Billy didn't want to go into the upholstery business with his father. So he did the only thing he could think of that might work - he jumped into the Hudson River and snuck aboard.

I would love to go to Antarctica. But not as much as Billy because there's no way I'd do what he did. I admired his tenacity. Nothing deterred this young man from getting what he so desperately wanted which was a place alongside Richard Byrd on his exciting and highly publicized expedition to Antarctica. This doesn't read like a non-fiction book. It wasn't bogged down and it was never boring. The author's note was great as well.

I won an ARC from a Goodreads giveaway. Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada and to Laurie Gwen Shapiro for bringing Billy's story into 2018. ( )
  jenn88 | Mar 10, 2018 |
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The spectacular, true story of a scrappy teenager from New York's Lower East Side who stowed away on the Roaring Twenties' most remarkable feat of science and daring: an expedition to Antarctica. It was 1928: a time of illicit booze, of Gatsby and Babe Ruth, of freewheeling fun. The Great War was over and American optimism was higher than the stock market. What better moment to launch an expedition to Antarctica, the planet's final frontier? This was the moon landing before the 1960s. Everyone wanted to join the adventure. Rockefellers and Vanderbilts begged to be taken along as mess boys, and newspapers across the globe covered the planning's every stage. The night before the expedition's flagship launched, Billy Gawronski--a skinny, first generation New York City high schooler desperate to escape a dreary future in the family upholstery business--jumped into the Hudson River and snuck aboard. Could he get away with it? From the grimy streets of New York's Lower East Side to the rowdy dance halls of sultry Francophone Tahiti, all the way to Antarctica's blinding white and deadly freeze, Laurie Gwen Shapiro's The Stowaway takes you on the unforgettable voyage of a gutsy young stowaway who became an international celebrity, a mascot for an up-by-your bootstraps age.

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