The Stowaway
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? This was the moon landing before the 1960s. Everyone wanted to join the adventure. Rockefellers and Vanderbilts begged to be taken along as mess boys, and newspapers across the globe covered the planning’s every stage.The night before the expedition’s flagship launched, Billy Gawronski—a skinny, 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 grimy streets of New York’s Lower East Side to the rowdy 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 gutsy young stowaway who became an international celebrity, a mascot for an up-by-your bootstraps age.

The Stowaway Details

TitleThe Stowaway
Author
ReleaseJan 16th, 2018
PublisherSimon Schuster
ISBN-139781476753867
Rating
GenreNonfiction, History

The Stowaway Review

  • Cynthia
    January 1, 1970
    The Stowaway starts with a great opening and continues as a tightly written narrative. It's an entertaining non-fiction that reads like fiction. Plucky Billy Gawronski is a highly likable, smart-aleck, teenager who stows away on Admiral Byrd's ship to Antartica. What's special about this book is that I wanted to know more about Billy as he aged - he became a friend. Laurie Shapiro describes the many real individuals with a light, caring and amusing touch so that Billy's parents, teachers, and hi The Stowaway starts with a great opening and continues as a tightly written narrative. It's an entertaining non-fiction that reads like fiction. Plucky Billy Gawronski is a highly likable, smart-aleck, teenager who stows away on Admiral Byrd's ship to Antartica. What's special about this book is that I wanted to know more about Billy as he aged - he became a friend. Laurie Shapiro describes the many real individuals with a light, caring and amusing touch so that Billy's parents, teachers, and his pals in the coal room of Byrd's flagship all come joyously to life. She also tells the story in the context of the era, painting images of the Great Depression, sharing little known WWll exploits, and capturing Polish, Jewish and Black struggles to get ahead. All this is done in a straightforward, engaging manner. It's a short novel packed with a lot of fun. I would recommend it to most of my friends.
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  • Jennifer S. Brown
    January 1, 1970
    What an amazing story about a young man who is a stowaway on then-Commander Byrd's Antarctic expedition in 1928. I normally gravitate toward fiction, but this book gripped me, and I read it in a single day. The balance between background/history and adventure story was perfect, and a clear picture, through Shapiro's use of great details, emerged of both the times and the exploits of the crew. I developed a real connection to Billy Gawronski (and also his poor, frightened mother!) and was happy w What an amazing story about a young man who is a stowaway on then-Commander Byrd's Antarctic expedition in 1928. I normally gravitate toward fiction, but this book gripped me, and I read it in a single day. The balance between background/history and adventure story was perfect, and a clear picture, through Shapiro's use of great details, emerged of both the times and the exploits of the crew. I developed a real connection to Billy Gawronski (and also his poor, frightened mother!) and was happy we followed him through the years. Definitely enjoyed this. An exciting read!
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  • Marika
    January 1, 1970
    In 1928, Admiral Richard Byrd decided to explore the unknown..the Antarctica. At that time going to Antarctica was the last frontier to conquer on earth and just the idea of his attempting this voyage was the stuff of legends. Thousands of men and women wanted to be a part of Byrd's adventure, and even members of the Rockefeller and Vanderbilt family begged to be allowed to come along. Then you meet Billy Gawronski, a 17 year old from New York who was so desperate to be a part of that he jumped In 1928, Admiral Richard Byrd decided to explore the unknown..the Antarctica. At that time going to Antarctica was the last frontier to conquer on earth and just the idea of his attempting this voyage was the stuff of legends. Thousands of men and women wanted to be a part of Byrd's adventure, and even members of the Rockefeller and Vanderbilt family begged to be allowed to come along. Then you meet Billy Gawronski, a 17 year old from New York who was so desperate to be a part of that he jumped into the river and swam to the boat to be a stowaway. Did he make it? This is one rollicking read that brings to life the past in ways that will leave you flabbergasted. It's written in the same manner as Unbroken by author Hillenbrand in that you have a hard time believing that it is all true. Every word. I read an advance copy and was not compensated for it.
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  • Bonnye Reed
    January 1, 1970
    Laurie Gwen Shapiro has done an exquisite job of bringing to life the times and trials of that Polish stowaway 'Billy' Gawronski. Her author's note following this work, telling of the steps and luck involved in uncovering the story of the life of this stowaway is as extraordinary as the tale itself. This is a book I was not able to put down.Every decision Billy makes, from the approach most hidden while swimming through the dark port waters in the small hours to stow away on the 'City of New Yor Laurie Gwen Shapiro has done an exquisite job of bringing to life the times and trials of that Polish stowaway 'Billy' Gawronski. Her author's note following this work, telling of the steps and luck involved in uncovering the story of the life of this stowaway is as extraordinary as the tale itself. This is a book I was not able to put down.Every decision Billy makes, from the approach most hidden while swimming through the dark port waters in the small hours to stow away on the 'City of New York' and try to talk his young 17 year old self into becoming a member of the crew on the first American expedition to Antarctica under the direction of Commander Byrd, to how to secure employment for himself in the height of the Depression, highlight the drive and worth of William Gregory Gawronski. However you want to spell that last name. The Stowaway gives us insight into New York City in the roaring '20's, the intricacies of fielding an exploratory force into unknown territories and an environment completely hostile to mankind, to what makes the call of the sea so compelling to some souls to New York during the Depression, and World War II all around the world. This is a book I can recommend to my friends and family, of all ages and all walks of life. I received a free electronic copy of this biographical history from Netgalley, Laurie Gwen Shapiro, and Simon Schuster in exchange for an honest review. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me.pub date Jan 16, 2018Simon Schuster
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  • Melanie
    January 1, 1970
    Adventures change you. Let's say, I have never been one to have looked out new adventures. I am that girl who prefers not to have surprises, and to have complete control over my life. I have definitely never been an adventure-junkie.I am still not, but I have learned to appreciate change and recognize that, without it, your life will be dull, you will never learn to take what life throws at you, and you never grow. A few years ago, I went to Costa Rica. My husband is completely the opposite from Adventures change you. Let's say, I have never been one to have looked out new adventures. I am that girl who prefers not to have surprises, and to have complete control over my life. I have definitely never been an adventure-junkie.I am still not, but I have learned to appreciate change and recognize that, without it, your life will be dull, you will never learn to take what life throws at you, and you never grow. A few years ago, I went to Costa Rica. My husband is completely the opposite from me, and wanted to do an adventure trip. I promised him that I would do the activities such as zip-lining and rappel, as long as we could go to the Sloth Sanctuary. So, it was a deal. Those adventures changed my life.And, in this nonfiction book, Billy finds his own adventure - a bigger one than ziplining. He becomes a stowaway on a ship heading to the Antarctic.I think I smell a possible movie in the making with this nonfiction work. The Cover and the TitleThe first thing I have to mention is the cover. It is a beautiful life-like drawing, or just a beautiful photograph that brings the feel of the Antarctic: snow, ice, and a classic ship. The font is clear, and one that shows an interesting story is to be unfolded.The Stowaway is obviously the perfect title of the book. The life of a teenager completely changes because of his bravery and decides to become a stowaway and hide on the ship heading for the Antarctic for the first time. Billy's life is completely changed from this experience, and it reminds you that sometimes the biggest moments of bravery are the ones that change your life completely. Like when I decided to zip line in Costa Rica, when I cannot even go on a rollercoaster! This story magnifies the outcomes of changing our destiny.What to ExpectIn all honesty, I am not a nonfiction reader. I blame my too-many years at university, which does not allow me to read nonfiction for pleasure. So, I did have a somewhat difficult time finishing this book. The only way I finished reading this is because it is extremely well-written. At the beginning I was confused because it was written more like a novel than a traditional nonfiction book, which pleased me. I actually had to go back to Goodreads to confirm that this was a nonfiction work. Obviously, we could not go into any of the characters' heads, but the imagery was beautiful, and explanations were cleverly woven into the text. I would love to see this book turn into a movie - especially for those who dislike reading nonfiction. This is also one of those stories where truth is better than fiction, which also made me question if this was not a fictional story!The only thing I would complain about, is that the author explains a lot of backstory of all of the characters and, because they have such a little part in the story, I could not remember them. I am not sure if all of this extra fluff was really necessary to tell the story. Some repeat characters do need this extra information, but some people's information seemed too thrown in to me. I would get lost with all of the characters at certain moments. And, I repeat, characters are essential to my liking a story.Billy is one of those characters that you have to love, though. Even through you do not enter his head, you do understand a lot of what Billy was thinking, and you could feel the excitement coming off of him - even if you did not know him intimately. Shapiro was extremely successful with this.The Final WordIf you like nonfiction, you will love this book. It is extremely well-written, and has an extremely interesting storyline. It is a story that you never would have heard about, but one you should know. It is a story of epic proportions and emphasizes the importance of the scientific discoveries we make today. If you do not like nonfiction, you may have trouble getting through it but, when you do, it is worth it!Who Should Read This BookAdventure-loversChristopher Columbus wannabeesNonfiction readersThose who are not HUGE fans of nonfiction, but can handle itHistory buffsI want to thank NetGalley and Simon & Schuster for providing me with this pre-released copy of the book for an honest review.
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  • Joe Jones
    January 1, 1970
    Billy Gawronski wanted something more than just working in the family business in late 1920's New York City. He had a dream of adventure and exploration. Richard Byrd's planned trip to Antarctica was just the ticket and nothing was going to stop Billy from joining the crew. Even if he had to stowaway. More than once! A fascinating tale I knew nothing about brought to life. And what a life Billy led. History buffs, adventure fans, and those just looking for a real life story of someone achieving Billy Gawronski wanted something more than just working in the family business in late 1920's New York City. He had a dream of adventure and exploration. Richard Byrd's planned trip to Antarctica was just the ticket and nothing was going to stop Billy from joining the crew. Even if he had to stowaway. More than once! A fascinating tale I knew nothing about brought to life. And what a life Billy led. History buffs, adventure fans, and those just looking for a real life story of someone achieving their dreams will love this book.
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  • Valerity *
    January 1, 1970
    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 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 January 16, 2018 By Simon and Schuster
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  • Lisa Cleveland
    January 1, 1970
    Ms. Shapiro brought this amazing story to life. It reads like fiction, but it's not. No stuffy professor, boring, dust ridden, dry reading here. Billy is someone I admire. The guy had chutzpah! I'll confess to being a bit envious. There are oftentimes that I wish I had discovered my love of the Northern Arctic much earlier in life. Would it have made a difference? Ach, probably not. Thankfully I have fantastic books like this. If you like tale of the north or south regions, and adventure then th Ms. Shapiro brought this amazing story to life. It reads like fiction, but it's not. No stuffy professor, boring, dust ridden, dry reading here. Billy is someone I admire. The guy had chutzpah! I'll confess to being a bit envious. There are oftentimes that I wish I had discovered my love of the Northern Arctic much earlier in life. Would it have made a difference? Ach, probably not. Thankfully I have fantastic books like this. If you like tale of the north or south regions, and adventure then this is a recommended read.
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  • Zohar - ManOfLaBook.com
    January 1, 1970
    The Stowaway: A Young Man’s Extraordinary Adventure to Antarctica by Laurie Gwen Shapiro is the story of an American boy, of Polish origins, who stowed away on a ship planning to join Admiral Robert Byrd’s Antarctica expedition in the late 1920s. Ms. Shapiro is a talented writer and filmmaker.This book right up my alley. A story of adventure, guts, gumption set in an era where these things actually mattered.An era where exploration of the Earth was still as exciting as exploration of space, when The Stowaway: A Young Man’s Extraordinary Adventure to Antarctica by Laurie Gwen Shapiro is the story of an American boy, of Polish origins, who stowed away on a ship planning to join Admiral Robert Byrd’s Antarctica expedition in the late 1920s. Ms. Shapiro is a talented writer and filmmaker.This book right up my alley. A story of adventure, guts, gumption set in an era where these things actually mattered.An era where exploration of the Earth was still as exciting as exploration of space, when there was still an Earthly frontier still left to be conquered. Admiral Richard Byrd caught the imagination of Americans everywhere by deciding to go and explore Antarctica, including that of 17 year old Billy Gawronski of New York. Desperate to get on Byrd’s crew, Gawronski stowed away on one of Byrd’s ships, and somehow manages to get on the crew for the expedition.This is a non-fiction book that reads as fiction. The teenager with guts (and a mouth), his supportive friends and less supportive family that eventually comes around. The author gives a background of 1920s society and culture, what it was like living in New York and being son of immigrants.The expedition is just the beginning of the story, and of course a key milestone to the life of a young man. Ms. Shapiro keeps on going, telling us how Billy grew up, became a man, a lifelong adventurer who somehow managed to keep a wife as well.From some reason this book took me awhile to read, twice as long as I thought it would actually. It was packed with information and some parts I had to re-read. I also got an e-galley, so no pictures were included, even though I understood from the context that the finished copy would have them. That is my loss since I feel pictures would have enhanced the book even more.A story of adventure and a fascinating tale brought to life by a talented writer.For more reviews and bookish posts please visit: http://www.ManOfLaBook.com
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  • Jenn
    January 1, 1970
    The year was 1928. The Great War was over. America was optimistic. What better time to launch an expedition to Antarctica? Not a whole lot was known about the planet's final frontier. Almost everybody wanted to join Admiral Byrd on his journey, even the Rockefellers and Vanderbilts begged to be taken on as mess boys. Young Billy Gawronski was no different. The skinny New York City high-schooler begged his father to sign the paper to let him go, but it wasn't happening. Billy didn't want to go in The year was 1928. The Great War was over. America was optimistic. What better time to launch an expedition to Antarctica? Not a whole lot was known about the planet's final frontier. Almost everybody wanted to join Admiral Byrd on his journey, even the Rockefellers and Vanderbilts begged to be taken on as mess boys. Young Billy Gawronski was no different. The skinny New York City high-schooler begged his father to sign the paper to let him go, but it wasn't happening. Billy didn't want to go into the upholstery business with his father. So he did the only thing he could think of that might work - he jumped into the Hudson River and snuck aboard. I would love to go to Antarctica. But not as much as Billy because there's no way I'd do what he did. I admired his tenacity. Nothing deterred this young man from getting what he so desperately wanted which was a place alongside Richard Byrd on his exciting and highly publicized expedition to Antarctica. This doesn't read like a non-fiction book. It wasn't bogged down and it was never boring. The author's note was great as well. I won an ARC from a Goodreads giveaway. Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada and to Laurie Gwen Shapiro for bringing Billy's story into 2018.
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