The Stowaway: A Young Man's Extraordinary Adventure to Antarctica (Hardcover)

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Staff Reviews


Usually it takes me a few weeks to read a nonfiction book, but I read this good old-fashioned tale of adventure in just a few days. While its premise alone should be enough to make you want to read this inspiring true story, the details and twists of The Stowaway will leave you shaking your head in disbelief. Exciting, charming, and surprisingly funny, it is both an engrossing portrait of a young man hellbent on living a life of adventure and an insightful examination of a transformative time in American history. 

— Brian

January 2018 Indie Next List

“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.”
— Bill Cusumano, Square Books, Oxford, MS


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? There wouldn't be another encounter with an unknown this magnificent until Neil Armstrong stepped onto the moon.

Everyone wanted in on the adventure. Rockefellers and Vanderbilts begged to be taken along as mess boys, and newspapers across the globe covered the planning's every stage. And then, the night before the expedition's flagship set off, Billy Gawronski--a mischievous, 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 soda shops of New York's Lower East Side to the 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 plucky young stowaway who became a Jazz Age celebrity, a mascot for an up-by-your bootstraps era.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781476753867
ISBN-10: 1476753865
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: January 16th, 2018
Pages: 256
Language: English