A long forgotten tale gets a new life as this book reveals the true story of the 18th-century shipwreck cannibalism scandal
During the fierce winter of 1710, 14 Englishmen had taken refuge on Boon Island, a sparse 100-yard long stretch of rock, without food or adequate shelter, uncertain of when or if they would be rescued. They endured for 24 days. An attempt to escape failed and four men died. Facing starvation, their captain, John Dean, gave the order to butcher and eat a member of the crew. Dean's decision fended off starvation and sustained his crew until rescue. John Dean first emerged an unlikely hero, but soon thereafter an alternative version of events began to circulate. The First Mate painted Dean as a murderous fraudster, tyrant, and an enthusiastic consumer of human flesh. Centering on the scandal that defined him, this book tells the forgotten story of John Dean; criminal, mercenary, gentleman, diplomat, and cannibal.