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Adrift: Seventy-Six Days Lost at Sea

4.07 of 5 stars 4.07  ·  rating details  ·  7,263 ratings  ·  426 reviews
Before The Perfect Storm, before In the Heart of the Sea, Steven Callahan’s dramatic tale of survival at sea was on the New York Times bestseller list for more than thirty-six weeks. In some ways the model for the new wave of adventure books, Adrift is an undeniable seafaring classic, a riveting firsthand account by the only man known to have survived more than a month alo ...more
Paperback, 344 pages
Published October 17th 2002 by Mariner Books (first published 1986)
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Into Thin Air by Jon KrakauerUnbroken by Laura HillenbrandEndurance by Alfred LansingAdrift by Steven CallahanTouching the Void by Joe Simpson
Best True Survival Stories
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Community Reviews

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Torie Duda
LOVE LOVE LOVED this book. I'm a serious oceanophile(?) and seek any and all books associated with sailing/shipwrecks/stranded at sea and this book captured all of them together. Although it sounds weird, I loved living with the author on his sordid journey. I could almost feel the saltwater chafing his skin...feel the sharks poking at the bottom of the raft...smell the rotting fish as they hung from his makeshift drying racks - I loved every moment (this I admit sitting in the comfort of my own ...more
Susan Spieth
The entire book is set in a small life raft where the author struggles to catch fish, capture water, plug holes and stay alive for 76 days. It's monotonous stuff that is somehow riveting. And it made me realize that I have nothin' to complain about....ever.
This is a true tale of Callahan’s survival after his small sloop sunk off the shores of the Canary Islands in 1982. I heard about this from a book magazine that had a section about notable books about the sea. This is supposed to be one of the best books about a ship wreck and living to tell about it. I agree it is pretty good, however, I would have liked to read more about what happened after he was rescued. Of the 344 pages, only 39 pages are devoted to his rescue and recovery. The best part a ...more
was this the predecessor work for Life of Pi? certainly at least some people think so, as the author reveals in the foreword that people have written letters to him claiming 'spiritual guidance' in the tale. and Callahan, moreover, was a philosophy major in university, just as the esteemed Yann Martel, that fraudster. (ha)

1987 New York Times best-seller sensation, Callahan's work does characterize time and philosophy and 76 days passes by in the sweep of a full book. beats that Andean plane cras
Joseph Wiederhold
Despite some of the negative reviews, I found this book bordering on poetic. For being a survival story it has some pretty amazing writing... great example for teaching double voice (Callahan speaks to the various imaginary crew members inside his head)... great recommend for YA teen boy... I started it this morning and couldn't put it down.
Paul Spencer
This was one of the most riveting books I've ever read.

Someone told me about this book back in the 1980s and I knew that I had to read it.

Steven Callahan, an accomplished sailor, decided to build his own sailboat after he and his wife divorced. Once built, he sailed it to England where he intended to enter a boat race that takes place every year. The race is from England to the Caribbean.

He is forced to drop out of the race because his boat is damaged in a storm. When it is repaired, he decides
I heard the author interviewed in connection with his consulting with Ang Lee for the movie Life of Pi. This is the story of his 76 days lost at sea, with close to nothing to sustain him but his knowledge and endurance. He is a thoughtful observer of himself and of the world around him. His experience reinforces his sense of being a tiny morsel in the universe not its center. He suffers physically and emotionally but something drives him on and he arrives in the Caribbean, not far from where he ...more
This book looked very interesting to me when it was offered by Kindle at a price one third the cost of any paper back book on the magazine stand. This book of survival was akin to the book "Up In Thin Air" and "The Perfect Storm". It can be a very fast read but I choose to read it and then deliberate on the experiences of Steve Callahan, in this well written true story (memoir). I am not sure if the uninitiated experiencing this situation would have survived the ordeal. Callahan was very knowled ...more
This is an outstanding book. The struggle for survival for two and a half months would have made a compelling, page-turner even if written by a shitty author. It just so happens that style rivals the substance.

Survival story junkies will revel in all the gory details, from his constant attention to water retrieval to the nuances of spear-fishing to keeping his deteriorating raft afloat for 76 days. Amateur psychologists will enjoy his inner dialogue, the rational consciousness scolding his fear
Sophie Schiller
Adrift is about one man's solitary journey, both internal and external, on the perilous ledge between life and death. Steven Callahan is attempting to cross the Atlantic Ocean from the Canary Islands to Antigua, but before he departs, an elderly fisherman points to his vessel, the 21' long Napoleon Solo, and says, "In such a small boat? Tonto!" Fool. The rest of the journey is fraught with danger, starting from when the Napoleon Solo capsizes and sinks, forcing Callahan to abandon ship in a rubb ...more
Chrissy Cadoret
I respect the inventiveness and survival instinct and will of the author but feel he missed a big opportunity to write a quality, engaging novel. This book was far too long and repetitive without the perspectives of other people or entities, or personal stories, that could have made it great. I wouldn't really recommend it; it was readable if you're interested enough to see it through. Spoiler alert: he gets rescued on day 76. ;-)
Landon Kintner
Seventy-Six Days Lost at Sea was an ok book. Seventy-Six Days Lost at Sea takes place in the on the Pacific Ocean. Chris the main character is brave. He is brave because he gets lost at sea but he doesn't panic, he stays calm and waits to be rescued. One day Chris gets pushed out to sea on a sail boat with his friend. The sail boat was Ducky III. One day his friend died and he had to push him of the boat so the sharks didn't come after the boat. One day he saw a ship coming out of the nearby bay ...more
Jul 30, 2012 Tara rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: survival story lovers, fishermen, sailors
I picked up this book when my family rented a beach place for vacation and I was looking for something to read. I'd finished my own book already and it was the only one that grabbed my attention on the owners' shelf.

Let me say that I did not expect to like this book. I read the last couple chapters first, just skimming out of curiosity and boredom...and then proceeded to get hooked and start from the beginning. Reading a book like this on the beach was quite an experience, and it's a riveting su
After his sailboat sinks in the Atlantic, Callahan is left to survive on a small life raft. (Alone! Eek!) Of course it removes a layer of suspense knowing that he survived (obviously, since he wrote the book), but there was still excellent tension throughout, as he was tossed about in the unforgiving ocean.

While it doesn't have the journalistic edge/drive that you might find in one of Krakauer's books, I found Adrift to be quite well-written. It is as much about his struggle to stay focused and
Mike Lengel
This was a great summer read. Steven Callahan, the author, tells his story of 76 days spent drifting in the Atlantic alone. Some highlights that made this a great book include his organization, his ingenuity and innovation skills in using what he had to surprising success, and his excellent writing style/choice of words. As a reader, one gets to see the physical, mental, and emotional aspects of this journey in great detail. It is interesting to see how many things went wrong, and how he was abl ...more
Steven Callahan wasn't born a writer but he was born a survivor, which is why, although the writing isn't fantastic, his story of survival is inspirational.
'76 Days Lost at Sea' does drag at times but being stuck on your own drifting in the ocean going through the same problems can't have been easy.
Steven uses the minimal amount of resources he has to survive shark encounters, food and water shortages, and damage to his raft. He is to be admired for his continued strength where most people wou
I was rooting for the dorados. OK, relax, just kiddin'. I was surprised to discover that Callahan was a student of philosophy because there's not a real lot of ruminating going on here. Relentless was he in his makeshift repairs to his equipment which was simultaneously keeping him alive and exhausting him. I would have thought someone with his educational background would have had some more pithy things to say about this paradoxical state he found himself in. There's none of Bernard Moitessier' ...more
Andres B
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mike Saade
Wow, what a good book to finish the year with! Every page had mind spinning with different thoughts of what was going to happen. Adrift is about a man named Steven Callahan who had one dream to cross the Atlantic Ocean by a boat he built himself. It was known as the Napoleon Solo. All alone for months to achieve his dream. Until he wakes up and finds out his boat got wrecked over night. Confused and panicking with the boat almost under water he gets the emergency life raft and marks day one for ...more
Ltd Sailing
"It seems impossible, but many things that are hard to believe do happen." Steven Callahan writes on Day 17 as he faces yet one more obstacle to his survival during his 76 days lost at sea. Steven struggles for his life each day: Will he have enough water? Catch enough fish? Will the raft stay together? Will he lose his mind? As I held my breath from page to page wondering "Man, what next?" I kept thinking how lucky he was to have pencil and paper to write down his thoughts! His book includes dr ...more
A fast-moving and captivating book that grabs hold and carries you right through the end.

So why three stars? Well, Callahan is not the most reliable narrator. Once the wild ride is over, the weird inconsistencies that you didn't have time to think about mid-read start to gnaw at the edge of your consciousness. Then there is Callahan's ego, which is big enough to capsize his ship even without a rogue wave. The too careful minimization of his errors, and his tendency towards inflated descriptions
John Dougherty
I read this book when I was in high school. I'm in my 30's now, and it remains one of the few books that has left a lasting impact on me.

Think about it... 76 days. That's about two and a half months. Now stop for a minute, and think about what you were doing two and a half months ago. Now, think about what it would be like to be stuck in a raft somewhere in the Atlantic since then. CRAZY!

***TRUE STORY!!!!***
Callahan, an avid sailor is sailing alone across the Atlantic. He gets caught in a bad s
Ron Irwin
I loved this book. It is a floating Robinson Crusoe. Totally riveting. Every small, niggly thing he has to do is worth his life--from mending holes in the rubber of the raft to spearing dorado to mending the water still to learning to love fish guts. A while summer in a liferaft. Just imagine. This book delivers!
No Remorse
The true hardcore survival story of Maurice Briand who got lost at sea for a grueling 76 days. I stay at sea a large part of my life so this book touched real close to home for me. Excellent story and very well written. Highly recommended.
John Melton
A great survival story that is, in this reader's opinion, too often interrupted by odd existential pontifications that seem rather irrational and borderline silly in the midst of such trials. It actually began to annoy me after a while that a man could be so empathetic recognizing that the loving Hand of God was so obviously and graciously protecting him. All in all the survival story itself and creative processes Callahan implemented to endure his trial are quite intriguing ...more
Steven Callahan left for a voyage across the Atlantic on a boat he built himself and came back on an emergency raft. Hi precious boat the Napoleon Solo sinks and Steven must survive a total of 76 days with little supplies on a life raft. The following book is all about survival.

It was an interesting read, he talks a lot about how he survived but he also goes into what is going on in his mindset, almost a battle within to survive and not give up. The book is set up almost like a journal with spe
When a tale of a man barely surviving certain death alone at sea makes you want to go sailing...that's this kind of book.
Linda B.D.
I read, Survive the Savage Sea", by Dougal Robertson, many years ago. I was very surprised that this author had also read it before this terrible voyage. He made several references to it in the book. the sailing terms/words were foreign to me. I know nothing about sailing. It was still a great exciting read. I cannot help it- Survive the Savage Sea is till a better written book. Survive The Savage Sea (Sheridan House S.) by Dougal Robertson Recommend to all.
Nenia Campbell

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This is the amazing true story of Steven Callahan, a sailor who, after his ship was wrecked by a storm, ended up surviving adrift at sea for seventy-six days.

Nine ships passed him by. Nine fucking ships. The Coast Guard was also apparently being a total douche, hiding facts from his family and refusing to send out a search party. Something that led to much embarrassment when he turned up alive after all.

ADRIFT is all about Steve
Regina Renner
Amazing read! I could not put this book down.
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Non-Fiction Enthu...: December Group Read 2 2 15 Jan 04, 2015 10:27AM  
Robert Redford should have acknowledged Callahan 3 15 Feb 19, 2014 04:41PM  
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Steven Callahan is an American author, naval architect, inventor, and sailor most notable for having survived for 76 days adrift on the Atlantic Ocean in a survival raft. Callahan recounted his ordeal in the best-selling book "Adrift: 76 days lost at sea", which was on the New York Times best-seller list for more than thirty-six weeks.
More about Steven Callahan...
Capsized Survive: Stories of Castaways and Cannibals Rough Water: Stories of Survival from the Sea

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“This life is full of trials and tribulations, so you have to capture humor whenever and wherever you can find it.” 7 likes
“To my mind, voyaging through wildernesses, be they full of woods or waves, is essential to the growth and maturity of the human spirit. It is in the wilderness that you really learn who you are.” 7 likes
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