In early 1968, desperate entrepreneur Donald Crowhurst was trying to sell a nautical navigation device he had developed when he saw that the Sunday Times would be sponsoring the Golden Globe Race, the first ever solo, round-the-world sailing competition. An avid amateur sailor, Crowhurst sensed a marketing opportunity and shocked the world by entering the competition using an untested trimaran of his own design. Shock soon turned to amazement when he quickly took the lead, checking in by radio message from locations far ahead of his seasoned competitors.
But on July 10, 1969, roughly eight months after he had sailed from England--and less than two weeks from his expected triumphant return--his wife was informed that his boat, the Teignmouth Electron, had been discovered drifting quietly, abandoned in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Crowhurst was missing, assumed drowned. How did he come to such an end when his race had begun with such incredible promise?
In this masterpiece of investigative journalism, Nicholas Tomalin and Ron Hall reconstruct one of the greatest modern stories of one man's descent into self-delusion, public deception, and madness. Based on in-depth interviews with Crowhurst's family and friends, combined with gripping excerpts from his logbooks that revealed (among other things) he had been falsifying his locations all along, Tomalin and Hall paint an unforgettable, haunting portrait of a complex, deeply troubled man and his final fateful journey.
About the Author
Nicholas Tomalin studied English literature at Trinity Hall, Cambridge. He was a featured columnist for the Daily Express, the Sunday Times, and the Evening Standard, before becoming literary editor of the New Statesman. He was nominated for Reporter of the Year for his coverage of the war in Vietnam. Tomalin was killed in Israel in 1973 while reporting on the Yom Kippur War.
Ron Hall studied mathematics and statistics at Pembroke College, Cambridge. He was cofounder of the Sunday Times' investigative unit "Insight," where he was editor from 1964-66, and became managing editor of the Sunday Times in 1969. He died at age 79 in 2014.
"Inside Crowhurst's head is precisely where the real drama was always taking place, and the only way we can really get there is by reading his own unvarnished thoughts, as transcribed by Hall and Tomalin. As so often, the old saying holds true: if in doubt, buy the book."
—Jonathan Coe, The New Statesman
"A masterpiece."—The New Yorker
"A meticulous investigation into the seeds of disaster . . . Fascinating, uncomfortable reading."—Sunday Times
"The extraordinary story . . . for me goes with the essential documents of our time."—The Observer