Sunk: The Incredible Truth about a Ship that Never Should Have Sailed makes for some terrifying reading (at least for me, and I gather, via conversation, most people who have sailed). The author's a UD grad student, apparently, and she seems to have done a bang-up job of outlining and analyzing the Bounty's sinking. Her description of the rigging going into the water just horrifies me.
But what also horrifies me -- and tends to
terrify me about survival stories in general -- is the way that social dynamics
can force people into situations they are clearly realize are risky, even if the
height of the stakes isn't clear. It's all very well to say, on shore and with
hindsight, "I wouldn't have set sail." But clearly even crewmembers who weren't
entirely comfortable with the decision to sail didn't break ranks and leave. I
don't know if it genuinely occurred to them to do so, or whether staying in port
was financially or practically feasible for them. Given that any departing
individuals would have been shorting the ship on crew, I also don't know if it
was *socially* feasible. The urge to help out your community is pretty
Anyway. If you have time, it's a worthwhile read.