The Stowaway Craze
In the roaring twenties, sneaking on board a ship became a way to go viral.
Image courtesy Gizela Gawronski / The Pilsudski Institute of America
From Publishers Weekly:
The Stowaway tells the true story of 17 year-old Billy Gawronski, a young Polish boy growing up in New York City, who, dreaming of a life of adventure, sneaks aboard Rear Admiral Richard Byrd’s 1928 expedition to Antarctica. Deeply researched and tightly written, The Stowaway is nonfiction at its finest. Billy’s remarkable personal story and the details of Byrd’s incredible voyage are only part of what hooked me–the book also brilliantly evokes the immigrant experience in New York, as well as an extraordinary period in American history when much of the world was still undiscovered and explorers, armed with guile, grit, and crude technology, were our national heroes, often greeted with massive cheering crowds and ticker tape parades upon returning from their expeditions. I read nonfiction almost exclusively, it’s part of my job here at PW, and I’ll be blunt: this has been a depressing year, filled with political works and stories of America’s decline and social disintegration. But Laurie Gwen Shapiro’s fascinating book saved my reading year, offering an incredible story, and a reminder that American Exceptionalism once had real meaning. —Andrew R. Albanese, senior writer
I just received this picture which made me smile. Endurance swimmer, environmental lawyer, and ocean advocate Lewis Pugh is reading my non-fiction book out 1/16 THE STOWAWAY: A Young Man’s Extraordinary Adventure to Antarctica. Pugh has been described as the “Sir Edmund Hillary of swimming.” In 2015 he swam in his Speedos off the coastline of Antarctica to help draw attention to the wildlife of the Ross Sea – including the Emperor and Adelie penguins, and whales. Success! In 2016 he helped negotiate the creation of the largest protected area in the world – the Ross Sea off Antarctica. Speedo diplomacy. Pugh was on my expedition to Antarctica in 2015 – he was a tremendous source of inspiration and helped me figure out how to write about swimming in open water.
My dad has read Scientific American religiously since he was a teen and he was genuinely surprised THE STOWAWAY is one of their four new books recommended in their Jan/Feb 2018 issue. And happy too! I think he may read my book now.
I got two very early hardcovers of The Stowaway delivered to my door today!!! and gave one to my dad who was so happy he was able to read this dedication in hardcover. “I’ll hold this up and you put on Facebook but I’m really going to wait until the Kindle version is ready so I can read it in a big font. But very nice!” Every version – print, Kindle, audio – out January 16.
I’m so excited to announce that my book, The Stowaway, has been selected as a January 2018 Indie Next Pick! (A list of the 20 best books of the month by the independent bookstores across America!) Many thanks to American Booksellers Association and IndieBound and of course Simon & Schuster.
From Indie Next:
The story of Billy Gawronski, the young man who repeatedly tried to join Richard Byrd’s Antarctic expedition, reads like an adventure novel. The reality of his life is beyond the realm of the wildest imagination. Shapiro brings this resilient and resourceful man to life against the changing world of the Roaring Twenties, and his story perfectly reflects a world undergoing vast change. Combining narrative, science, and portraits of outsized personalities, Shapiro treats the reader to a story that is not only relevant but a total joy.
The Stowaway is now available for preorder! 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.