The Stowaway

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 16 Jan 2018

Member Reviews

This book was good but slow. As a bit of history nerd myself, I liked the parts between action or "the good stuff" but that will be a sticking point with many of my students. It takes perseverance to get through this book and with struggling readers that is a lot to ask, which is why I only gave 3 stars.

I would have easily given this four stars if it just moved a bit quicker.
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Okay, to start off with, I need to say that I did not realize that this was non-fiction. I thought it was historical fiction, so my expectations were flawed. I was expecting more intimate knowledge of Billy's life, not just the facts. I was wrong. :(

I will say that even when depicting Billy solely with the facts available about him, he comes off as quite a character! I mean, he completely went against his parents in a time that that wasn't quite so common, he swam through the Hudson River (ew) to sneak onto the expedition ship with no supplies, got kicked off, and snuck back on not once, but two more times, and when given the chance, he worked his butt off for the chance to go...

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This book had all the elements that make a good adventure story fun, but there were so many details that I found myself skipping over pages to get to the "good" stuff.  I love that we are given details of Billy's childhood but I was more interested in his adventure than his personal story up to that point.  I did enjoy reading this book
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What I Liked
Lots of historical context. I really appreciated the way in which the author went into detail about the history of Billy the stowaway’s family. Shapiro starts from the Gawronski’s immigration to Poland, Billy’s birth and his parent’s home decor enterprise, and only then leads into the central story of the expedition to Antarctic in which Billy participated. The reader really feels they know Billy and the Gawronski family well therefore, once Billy decides to attempt to run away to Antarctica. Aside from the Gawronski’s backstory, Shapiro also provides really useful context on previous similar expeditions carried out to the North and South Poles, with interesting historical...

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In 1928, Billy Gawronski was the 17 year old son of a Polish immigrant family that once lived in the lower east side of Manhattan. He was looking for more adventure than he would find by joining his father's interior decorating business and he became obsessed with Antarctica. After repeated attempts, he managed to successfully stow away on one of the ships headed to Antartica as part of Richard Byrd's first expedition. I was expecting an adventure story but what I got was the biography of man who played a small role in the expedition, became a media darling, returned home, dropped out of college during the Depression and served in the Merchant Marine during World War II.

I...

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Looking at the other reviews, I am definitely in the minority with regards to this book!

I am a big fan of historical books; I find learning about other time periods and how life was then fascinating. I am also a big fan of biographies because I love the feeling of getting to know a person, seeing what shaped their life. Putting the two together, I thought The Stowaway would carry me away with young Billy on his adventure to travel with Admiral Byrd to the South Pole. A sure fit, I thought. I can't tell you how much I looked forward to settling in with this book for a vicarious adventure. But such was not to be. While it is obvious that Ms. Shapiro has done extensive research on the...

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'Wherever you're from, there's always somewhere more exciting.'
Excellent - a rollicking, fun ride to the edge of the earth and back!
The story of Billy Gawronski is one that I had never heard before but I feel like now, it will be one that I never forget. A true tale of perseverance and adventure. Young Billy dreamed of traveling to far off places and saw his dreams become a reality when the infamous Admiral Byrd planned an excursion from NYC, where Billy lived with his immigrant parents, to the last unknown frontier of Antarctica. Billy was willing to do anything to be a part of this expedition - including stowing away - which is exactly what he did.
This book...

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Extraordinary! Exquisite! A spectacular true account of a young NY boy Billy Gawronski and his determination to make a name for himself on an expedition that would go down in history as one of the greats.
I'm in awe of this story as I've never heard about the Stowaway and was mesmerized by this story. A remarkable feat considering the roaring 20's and early 30's during The Great Depression , Prohibition and the ending of the Great War.
Everyone wanted to have their hand in this media frenzy from the most elite like Rockellers to the Vanderbilts. I've added this link from the Stowaway Crazy by the New Yorker which I found interesting :...

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Ahoy there me mateys! Though this log’s focus is on sci-fi, fantasy, and young adult, this Captain does have broader reading tastes. So occasionally I will share some novels that I enjoyed that are off the charts (a non sci-fi, fantasy, or young adult novel), as it were. I received this non-fiction eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. So here be me honest musings . . .

the stowaway (Sarah Krasnostein)

Title: the stowaway: a young man's extraordinary adventure to antarctica

Author: Laurie Gwen Shapiro

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Publication Date: Available Now! (hardback/ebook)

ISBN: 978-1476753867

Source: NetGalley

This novel was recommended by stephanie...

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What would you be willing to do to gain the opportunity to experience an adventure of a lifetime? What risks would you take to take part in something historic? How far would you go? Would you travel to the ends of the earth?

For Billy Gawronski, the answer to that last question was “Yes.”

Young Billy is the star of Laurie Gwen Shapiro’s new book “The Stowaway: A Young Man’s Extraordinary Adventure to Antarctica.” It’s the true story of a teenager who wanted nothing more than to take part in a great adventure – specifically, to be a part of Richard Byrd’s expedition to Antarctica. And with nothing more than overflowing reserves of desire and chutzpah, Billy made it so.

In the year 1928...

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I finally finished reading this book a couple of days. It took me almost a month to get through it. (I might have taken a break from it for a few days.) The story behind this book is that the author Laurie Gwen Shapiro discovered the name William "Billy" Gawronski-or as it was often misspelled, Gavronski-in records related to the Antarctic expedition in 1928. This book is the result of all the research she did. When I read the description of the book I actually thought it was a fictional character set in real historic times, places and events. I was so surprised to learn that it was really a biography! I thought the historic facts of Billy's story were interesting and...

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Absolutely fascinating story and well written. I often lose attention during non-fiction, but was engaged throughout this book. I will be recommending it to lots of people I know.
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I received a free Kindle copy of The Stowaway by Laurie Gwen Shaprio courtesy of Net Galley and Simon and Shuster, the publisher. It was with the understanding that I would post a review to Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes and Noble and my nonfiction book review blog. I also posted it to my Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google Plus pages.

I requested this book as I the subject of the book sounded interesting. This is the first book by Laurie Gwen Shapiro that I have read.

While the subtitle of the book, "A Young Man's Extraordinary Adventure to Antarctica", gives an overview of the contents, it covers more than that. The main focus is on William...

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❄️ 4 adventurous, Antarctic stars to The Stowaway ❄️

I enjoy reading nonfiction, and it’s a delight when I read nonfiction that feels like fiction. I would say this particular book feels mostly like fiction, but it is a bit on the detailed side. This worked perfectly for me, but I wanted to mention it for fiction fans who might be considering this book.

What fascinated me from the start is I was yet again reading about the 1920s in the United States! I’ve read several books lately set during that interesting time. Billy Gawronski was a captivating figure. How exactly does an 18 year old manage to be a stowaway on one of the most famous expeditions? What will his parents think? Wait...

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Billy stayed awake hours into the night, guessing the right moment to jump off the pier

In THE STOWAWAY, author Laurie Gwen Shapiro tells the incredible story of determined stowaway Billy Gawronski, who actually made it all the way to Antarctica. Billy didn’t really have much of a plan--he would just appeal to the mercy of Commander Byrd, who reportedly, “liked stowaways.”

For his first attempt, Billy swam to the ship “covered in river scum, hair hanging down his forehead like oily kelp.” To his astonishment, Billy found that he was one of three stowaways!

On his second attempt, Billy tried for a cargo ship, believing it would be “less guarded than the flagship had been.” He was...

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This well-researched adventure tale reads like a “Boy’s Own” story.  Billy Gawronski, a skinny New York Pole just graduated from high school, makes an almost desperate grab for a life of adventure by stowing away on Byrd’s first Antarctic expedition.  

Shapiro didn’t meet Gawronski, but she met his widow and sons, and did an immense amount of reading and traveling to write this book.  That research shows in the vivid stories of life on ship and in the Antarctic.  An engrossing read.
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This is the story of seventeen-year-old Billy Gawronksi, a stowaway (after a few attempts) on the ship Eleanor Bolling that followed Admiral Richard Byrd’s flagship to Antarctica. In the late 1920s, Byrd-mania had swept through America, igniting the imaginations of youth in New York City where his ships were docked before his grand polar adventure. Young Billy was not going to fall victim to a sad existence of life working in his father’s upholstery business. He was going to have a life of adventure, and nobody was going to thwart him. Billy’s chutzpah was without parallel, and his derring-do earned him a spot on the unknown continent.

Shapiro provides enough biographical information to...

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I really enjoyed this book on the exploration of Antarctica. I've read many books on polar exploration, and this book does something unique. It tells the tale, not only from the viewpoint of the expedition leader, but a minor player on the expedition as well. The book focuses on this stowaway, who gives his all to be part of Byrd's second expedition to Antarctica. This person was someone many could relate too, and hearing his story really helped me stay engaged in the story.

The Stowaway's story is paralleled by Byrd's story, but not in the typical fashion of exploration history text. Rather it focuses on the marketing and publicity around the expedition.

Another...

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An enjoyable, well written and researched true story about a recent high school graduate Billy Gawronski, who fears being resigned to a life in his father's upholstery business, while he dreams of a life of adventure. He wants permission to go off and join his hero Admiral Richard Byrd who is about to embark on an expedition to Antarctica, but his father has refused, and now it's far too late to apply. He is determined to stow away if necessary, to get his place on this trip...and it leads to a lifetime of lessons learned. A great story that reads like it was made up. Thanks for reading. An advance ecopy was provided by NetGalley for my review.

Expected publication date is...

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