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Special Event
Book Launch: The Stowaway
Tuesday, January 16, 2018 at 6:30PM

South Street Seaport Museum
Box office at 12 Fulton Street
New York, NY 10038

Registration Required | Limited Availability


Book Launch: The Stowaway

Join the Seaport Museum, along with Simon & Schuster, Atlas Obscura, and Untapped Cities to celebrate the book launch of Laurie Gwen Shapiro's new book, The Stowaway: A Young Man’s Extraordinary Adventure to Antarctica. The evening's conversation will be moderated by Daniel Zalewski, Features Editor at The New Yorker.

The Stowaway is the spectacular, true story of a scrappy teenager from New York’s Lower East Side who, like many Americans during the Roaring Twenties, fantasized about joining the most famous and daring venture of the era: Commander Richard Byrd’s 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? Everyone wanted to join the adventure. Rockefellers and Vanderbilts begged to be taken along as mess boys, and newspapers across the globe covered every stage of planning. 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, The Stowaway takes you on the unforgettable voyage of a gutsy young stowaway who became an international celebrity and a mascot for an up-by-your-bootstraps age.

About the Author: Laurie Gwen Shapiro is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and journalist whose writing has appeared in New York, Slate, Aeon, The Forward, and the Los Angeles Review of Books. The Stowaway is her first full-length work of nonfiction.

Please got to the Melville Gallery at 213 Water Street. Books on sale at the event. Doors open at 6:15 PM. Reception and book signing to follow the book talk.