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How a shipwreck from 282 years ago became the best-selling book in the US

By Jorge de Souza

On January 28, 1742, a group of squalid men on the verge of death came to the remote village of Rio Grande, on the coast of the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul, aboard a precarious wooden boat, with an extraordinary story to tell:

How they had overcome more than 5,000 kilometers of sea, with an improvised boat, to escape from a desert island on which they had spent months confined in a desperate attempt to return to their homeland, England.

They were castaways from the HMS ("His Majesty's Ship") Wager, one of . . .

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