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Second ReadWriters Look Back at Classic Works of Reportage$
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The Staff of the Columbia Journalism Review and James Marcus

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780231159319

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231159319.001.0001

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Gabriel García Márquez’s

Gabriel García Márquez’s

The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor

(p.147) Gabriel García Márquez’s
Second Read

Miles Corwin

Columbia University Press

This essay reviews the book The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor, by Gabriel García Márquez. First published as a book in 1970, The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor is an account of the tragedy that befell eight crew members of a Colombian naval destroyer in the Caribbean after they were allegedly swept overboard by a giant wave. Luis Alejandro Velasco, a sailor who spent ten days on a life raft without food or water, was the lone survivor. The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor was originally published as a fourteen-consecutive-day series of installments in El Espectador newspaper in 1955. García Márquez, then a young journalist, quickly uncovered a military scandal; the sailors perished not because of a storm, as Colombia's military dictatorship had claimed, but because of naval negligence. Written in the first-person from the perspective of Velasco, The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor sold about ten million copies, most of them in the original Spanish.

Keywords:   sailors, The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor, Gabriel García Márquez, Colombia, naval destroyer, Caribbean, Luis Alejandro Velasco, El Espectador, military scandal, negligence

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