Reviews

About The Stowaway:

“Inspired by (an) engrossing yet little-known case of derring-do, (The Stowaway) evokes the magic of early 20th-century New York.”
– The New York Times

“Excellent… Shapiro has rescued Billy Gawronski’s story from obscurity and given us a nuanced portrait of an extraordinary young man. It’s also a fascinating window into the life of Richard Byrd and America itself in the exuberant 1920s and crushing Depression that followed.

The Stowaway is a must-read for all polar exploration enthusiasts and
lovers of well-told adventure stories.”
— USA Today

Stowaway is not only Gawronski’s tale, it also highlights a time in our nation’s history when people thrilled to the excitement of exploration, and daring men and women of the age rose to unprecedented challenges.

This is the first book written about a gutsy lad who wouldn’t take no for an answer — thanks to its author, Gawronski’s experiences have been brought to light in an inspiring-not-to-be missed story.”
The Missourian

The Stowaway is an engaging story, engagingly told, that makes the reader root for Billy … prompts one to ponder the effects of social class on fate, and the special qualities that make some people push themselves to the limit… It reads like a story of pure fiction: A scrappy teenage boy finds his way to Antarctica by sneaking aboard a famed explorer’s ship.”
— The Wall Street Journal

The Stowaway is a charming book, a glimpse of history that, by definition, fascinates and delights.”
— Minnesota Star Tribune

The Stowaway is a book about one man’s brush with history, and how that changed the course of his life. Shapiro has used Billy’s story to familiarize the reader with a fascinating period in early 20th-century history. Bookended by exploration on one side and the Great Depression on the other, this is an absorbing tale.”
— Bookreporter.com

“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.”
— Indie Next

“This fascinating and exciting story contrasts the optimism and sense of progress of the 1920s with the devastation of the 1930s…much to delight in here.”
— Library Journal

“In this true-life adventure yarn, filmmaker Shapiro reconstructs the story of Billy Gawronski, who captured the boundless optimism of the American national psyche in the lead up to the Great Depression when, in 1928, he attempted to stow away on a ship headed to the Antarctic.
… This coming-of-age story about a strong-willed boy with an insatiable appetite for adventure … will appeal to both adult and young adult readers.”
— Publishers Weekly

“Shapiro has revived the history of a once-celebrated stowaway to Antarctica in this well-wrought true tale of a young man who captured the hearts of millions and found adventure at sea.”
— Booklist

“The narrative reads like a yarn from that era… [and] ultimately reveals as much about a country’s changing values as it does about one boy’s pluck.”
— Kirkus Reviews

“Shapiro has rescued from oblivion a wondrous tale of exploration. The Stowaway is a thrilling adventure that captures not only the making of a man but of a nation.”
— David Grann, bestselling author of Killers of the Flower Moon

“The Stowaway proves that fact is stranger and funnier and more amazing than fiction. Laurie Gwen Shapiro artfully draws the reader into the tale of Billy Gawronski, a dreamer and adventurer. Through the wild story of his travels to Antarctica, we see history come vividly to life.”
— Susan Orlean, bestselling author of Rin Tin Tin

“Laurie Gwen Shapiro wrote The Stowaway like a Jack London novel: with a sense of adventure, wonderful detail, a lineup of intriguing characters, and above all a great story. This is the best of nonfiction.”
— Mark Kurlansky, bestselling author of Paper

“What has the world come to when sled dogs and short wave radio mix, when wooden sailing barks compete with aeroplanes, when ‘Eskimos’ figuratively dance with flappers, and all of this is captured and disseminated by the first public relations hucksters? Laurie Gwen Shapiro’s The Stowaway is magnificent.”
— Bob Drury & Tom Clavin, bestselling authors of The Heart of Everything That Is

“The Stowaway tells one of the most engaging, but forgotten, stories from the Age of Exploration. A fascinating and charming book—I highly recommend it!”
— Douglas Preston, bestselling author of The Lost City of the Monkey God

“Laurie Gwen Shapiro’s The Stowaway is full of twists, turns, and moments of pure wonder—both joy to read and a surprisingly insightful tale of scientific exploration at its generous and courageous best.”
— Deborah Blum, bestselling author of The Poisoner’s Handbook

“A gripping, gritty, mischievous tale from an age of exploration and wonder. The Stowaway makes real history read like a boy’s adventure novel.”
— Kevin Baker, bestselling author of Paradise Alley