THE WAGER has it all: shipwreck, survival, and a thrilling courtroom climax…. the most gripping true-life sea yarn in years. A tour de force of narrative nonfiction, Grann’s account shows how storytelling, whether to judges or readers, can shape individual and national fortunes – as well as our collective memory.

The Wall Street Journal

“[Grann has] been your favorite writer’s favorite writer for decades. But with a thrilling new book and an unprecedented back-to-back collaboration with Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio, David Grann is poised to become the moment’s leading storyteller…He specializes in gripping historical chronicles and crime stories, filled with fearless explorers and ruthless killers, with twists and double-crosses so rich in intrigue that they would strain credulity in fiction. But Grann’s stories are all true, and because they actually happened, because every detail is invariably backed up by some unearthed court testimony or a dusty file plucked from a long-neglected archive, he’s become one of our culture’s leading sources of holy shit page-turners…Grann has managed to push the conventions of true crime and pop history into something more meaningful: THE WAGER is a story about a shipwreck, but it’s also about how the men who somehow made it off the island told their competing accounts, which became the sensational true-crime of their day, and watching Grann make sense of the tangle raises fascinating questions about how stories take on a life of their own.


“A thrilling account…Those who love yarns involving cannon fire, sea-chests, plum duff and mainmasts will find THE WAGER riveting, as will those less intrigued by the age of sail. In the hands of David Grann, the story transcends its naval setting. The author . . . is a master of exciting tales in far-flung places. He has produced a volume so dramatic and engrossing that it may surpass his previous books.

The Economist

“Remarkable…finely detailed…a ripping yarn. Grann, the author of thinking-person’s adventures, has a rare gift for applying the rigors of narrative nonfiction to the stuff of myth and legend. Through tireless research and storytelling guile, he places the reader amongst a tempestuous collection of 18th-century British seamen, at war with the elements and, more fatefully, each other. As you read you feel the sting of freezing saltwater against the face, and the desperate pangs of hunger. Grann guides us step by step, storm by storm, man by man, in prose that the writers he references, including Herman Melville and Joseph Conrad, would appreciate.

The Boston Globe

“An engrossing survival story…THE WAGER is a knotty tale of moral compromises and betrayal and a metaphysical inquiry into the elusive nature of truth and the power of stories to shape history and our perceptions of reality. For Grann, telling the story of the shipwreck and its scandalous aftermath was a chance to excavate not just a rousing adventure, but to explore how history is constructed, who writes it and what gets distorted or left out. After six years of research—including his own harrowing journey to the inhospitable island where the castaways washed up—Grann has delivered what will likely endure as the definitive popular account.

The New York Times

“A masterclass in storytelling…A series of twists and turns worthy of a well-plotted thriller≥Grann has produced this riveting book so soon after the radically different but equally impressive “Killers of the Flower Moon” — a No. 1 New York Times bestseller. Simply put, Grann is working to a three-part formula. One: unearth a tremendous story from within a forgotten haystack. Two: spend months and months and months researching it. Three: write the narrative with the artistry of a superb novelist…One, two, three. Grann makes it look easy, even while exploring how desperate people behave in life-and-death situations. Hint: not well. This book is a tour de force.

Toronto Star

“David Grann knows a good story when he sees one…In THE WAGER: A TALE OF SHIPWRECK, MUTINY AND MURDER, he has found not just a good but a great story, fraught with duplicity, terror and occasional heroism.

…One trick Grann pulls off—again and again—is not showing his hand, and this review honors that accomplishment by not revealing the details of what happens next…Another Grann specialty is on full display— creating a cast of indelible characters from the dustiest of sources: 18th century ship’s logs, surgeons’ textbooks, court-martial proceedings… The story of the Wager is, like many of its antecedents—from Homer’s “Odyssey” to “Mutiny on the Bounty”—a testament to the depths of human depravity and the heights of human endurance, and you can’t ask for better than that from a story. Maybe you get seasick at the thought of a seafaring novel; make an exception in this case. THE WAGER will keep you in its grip to its head-scratching, improbable end.

Los Angeles Times

“There were multiple moments while reading David Grann’s new book, THE WAGER, about an 18th-century shipwreck, when it occurred to me that the kind of nonfiction narratives The New Yorker writer has become known for share something essential with a sturdy ship. A vessel freighted with historical controversy, tangled facts and monomaniacal characters needs to be structurally sound, containing and conveying its messy cargo. It should be resilient yet nimble enough to withstand the unpredictable waters of readers’ attentions and expectations. Only an impeccable design will keep everything moving…Grann is so skillful…the consummate narrative architect…It’s the kind of inspiring chronicle that would make for a rousing maritime adventure. But this is a David Grann book, and so he gives us something more.

The New York Times

“[Grann’s] meticulously researched stories, with their spare, simmering setups that almost always deliver stunning payoffs, have made him one of the preeminent adventure and true-crime writers…The Rashomon-like atmosphere is what gives THE WAGER the intellectual heft of a David Grann endeavor…He has mastered a streamlined, propulsive type of narrative that readers devour for its hide-and-seek reveals.

New York Mag

“Grann tells the riveting tale of the British ship the Wager, which embarked from England on a secret mission against Spain in 1740. Two years later, 30 ragged men from the Wager landed ashore in Brazil. Six months after that, three more Wager sailors washed up in Chile. The two groups accused each other of mutiny, eventually going on trial in England. THE WAGER reads like a thriller, tackling a multilayered history—and imperialism—with gusto.

Time Magazine

“From its first to its last page, THE WAGER never stops being jaw-dropping. Even a sidebar account – of how a ship in the squadron, the Centurion, made it to the Philippines and somehow sank a Spanish galleon – reads better than any thriller. It’s a book about the limits of human endurance but also about the power of Britain’s class system and naval codes, which held sway – almost – even on a deserted island thousands of miles away.

The Globe and Mail

“One of the most masterful historical nonfiction writers working today, investigative reporter David Grann has turned his attention to a 1742 shipwreck off the coast of Brazil. [T]his centuries-old crime story feels as prescient and timely as today’s front page.

— Elle

“Few writers of fact can spin a narrative as well as David Grann, whether it be the quest for a fabled place (The Lost City of Z) or unearthing gross injustices against oil-rich Native Americans in the 1920s (Killers of the Flower Moon). His gift for detail, drama, and insight is unmatched. THE WAGER, takes place in the 1700s and melds an adventure tale with a courtroom saga that is nothing less than riveting.


“Grann vividly narrates a nearly forgotten incident with an eye for each character’s personal stakes while also reminding readers of the imperialist context prompting the misadventure. A new account of the Wager Mutiny, in which a shipwrecked and starving British naval crew abandoned their captain on a desolate Patagonian island, emphasizes the extreme hardships routinely faced by eighteenth-century seafarers as well as the historical resonance of the dramatic 1741 event.

BOOKLIST, starred review

“A rousing story of a maritime scandal…a brisk, absorbing history.In 1741, the British vessel the Wager, pressed into service during England’s war with Spain, was shipwrecked in a storm off the coast of Patagonia while chasing a silver-laden Spanish galleon. Though initially part of a fleet, by the time of the shipwreck, the Wager stood alone, and many of its 250 crew members already had succumbed to injury, illness, starvation, or drowning. More than half survived the wreckage only to find themselves stranded on a desolate island. Drawing on a trove of firsthand accounts—logbooks, correspondence, diaries, court-martial testimony, and Admiralty and government records—Grann mounts a chilling, vibrant narrative of a grim maritime tragedy and its dramatic aftermath.

KIRKUS, starred review

“Bestseller Grann (Killers of the Flower Moon) delivers a concise and riveting account of the HMS Wager. . . Grann packs the narrative with fascinating details about life at sea—from scurvy-induced delirium to the mechanics of loading and firing a cannon—and makes excellent use of primary sources, including a firsthand account by 16-year-old midshipman John Byron, grandfather of the poet Lord Byron. Armchair adventurers will be enthralled.

Publishers Weekly

Preorder The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny, and Murder.

Click here to Preorder from Penguin now

On January 28, 1742, a ramshackle vessel of patched-together wood and cloth washed up on the coast of Brazil. Inside were thirty emaciated men, barely alive, and they had an extraordinary tale to tell. They were survivors of His Majesty’s Ship the Wager, a British vessel that had left England in 1740 on a secret mission during an imperial war with Spain. While the Wager had been chasing a Spanish treasure-filled galleon known as “the prize of all the oceans,” it had wrecked on a desolate island off the coast of Patagonia. The men, after being marooned for months and facing starvation, built the flimsy craft and sailed for more than a hundred days, traversing 2500 miles of storm-wracked seas. They were greeted as heroes.

But then…six months later, another, even more decrepit craft landed on the coast of Chile. This boat contained just three castaways, and they told a very different story. The thirty sailors who landed in Brazil were not heroes – they were mutineers. The first group responded with countercharges of their own, of a tyrannical and murderous senior officer and his henchmen. It became clear that while stranded on the island the crew had fallen into anarchy, with warring factions fighting for dominion over the barren wilderness. As accusations of treachery and murder flew, the Admiralty convened a court martial to determine who was telling the truth. The stakes were life-and-death—for whomever the court found guilty could hang.

THE WAGER is a grand tale of human behavior at the extremes told by one of our greatest nonfiction writers. Grann’s recreation of the hidden world on a British warship rivals the work of Patrick O’Brian, his portrayal of the castaways’ desperate straits stands up to the classics of survival writing such as THE ENDURANCE, and his account of the court martial has the savvy of a Scott Turow thriller. As always with Grann’s work, the incredible twists of the narrative hold the reader spellbound. Most powerfully, he unearths the deeper meaning of the events, showing that it was not only the Wager’s captain and crew who were on trial – it was the very idea of empire.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese team again on The Wager

Leonardo DiCaprio and Martin Scorsese are teaming up once again for an adaptation of another book from David Grann, the author of “Killers of the Flower Moon” – this time teaming on a project called “The Wager.”

Apple Original Films has acquired the rights to the book, which will release next year, and like their collaboration on the upcoming “Flower Moon,” the project has DiCaprio attached to star and Scorsese to direct.

Grann’s book tells the true story of a British naval ship called the Wager from 1742 that crashed and washed up on the coast of Brazil, marooning 30 survivors for months before they managed to make it back to shores and safety. But the story takes a turn when a few months later, a different set of just three survivors arrived in Chile and told a different story, saying that the men were not hero survivors but mutineers, and that the crew descended into anarchy while stranded on the island. Here’s the logline for the film…

Read more at The Wrap

Scorsese wraps filming Killers of the Flower Moon with Leo DiCaprio, Lily Gladstone, and Robert De Niro.

Filming has officially wrapped for “Killers of the Flower Moon.”

The presence of background extras in costume, 1920s automobiles and the ever-present film crew wearing N95 face masks are gone. The sightings of the film’s all-star cast will have to wait for the premiere, which is most likely to be in the fall of 2022.

“The producers and the entire cast and crew of Killers of the Flower Moon want to thank the Osage Nation for their great cooperation and participation in the making of the film. It has been a true honor and a privilege to work hand in hand with the community these many months, and we are grateful and happy that everyone has been so welcoming and accommodating,” according to a statement from the film’s producers.

Read the rest at Osage News

Killers of the Flower Moon Named Best Book Of The Year and National Book Award Finalist

The book was selected as one of the best or notable books of 2017 by the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Time, Entertainment Weekly, Boston Globe, Bloomberg, San Francisco Chronicle, NPR, PBS, Seattle Times, Smithsonian, GQ, Slate, Buzzfeed, Vogue, Cosmopolitan, Outside, The Week, Star Tribune, Newsday, Kirkus, Library Journal, Marshall Project, Parade, History, Paste, Powells, and Barnes and Noble. Vulture named it the best thriller of the year. And both Amazon and Shelf Awareness chose it as the single best book of 2017. According to Literary Hub, it was also the best reviewed nonfiction book of the year.

In its citation, the judges for the National Book Award wrote that Killers of the Flower Moon is “structured taut as a noir, researched like an indictment, and written with hard-boiled empathy.” The book also won an Edgar Award for best true mystery, a Spur Award for best work of historical nonfiction, and an Indies Choice Award for best adult nonfiction book of the year, and it was a recipient of the Oklahoma Book Award and the Oklahoma Historical Society’s prize for outstanding book on Oklahoma history. In addition, it was finalist for an Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction.

Preorder The White Darkness--published on October 30.

Grann tells the remarkable true of story of Henry Worsley. A devoted husband and father and a decorated British special forces officer, Worsley spent his life idolizing Ernest Shackleton, the nineteenth-century polar explorer, who tried to become the first person to reach the South Pole, and later sought to cross Antarctica on foot. Shackleton never completed his journeys, but he repeatedly rescued his men from certain death, and emerged as one of the greatest leaders in history.

Worsley felt an overpowering connection to those expeditions. He was related to one of Shackleton’s men, Frank Worsley, and spent a fortune collecting artifacts from their epic treks across the continent. He modeled his military command on Shackleton’s legendary skills and was determined to measure his own powers of endurance against them. He would succeed where Shackleton had failed, in the most brutal landscape in the world.

In 2008, Worsley set out across Antarctica with two other descendants of Shackleton’s crew, battling the freezing, desolate landscape, life-threatening physical exhaustion, and hidden crevasses. Yet when he returned home he felt compelled to go back. On November 2015, at age 55, Worsley bid farewell to his family and embarked on his most perilous quest: to walk across Antarctica alone.

Illustrated with more than fifty stunning photographs from Worsley’s and Shackleton’s journeys, The White Darkness is both a gorgeous keepsake volume and a spellbinding story of courage, love, and a man pushing himself to the extremes of human capacity. The book can be preordered here: Or at other book stores around the country.

Watch the Trailer for The Old Man and the Gun

The first story that the New Yorker staff writer David Grann published in the magazine was about a man named Forrest Tucker, whom he’d first read about in a tabloid, in 1999. “I pitched it,” Grann wrote in a recent e-mail, “because I thought the details of Tucker’s escapades were so extraordinary, so compelling, that I couldn’t screw it up too much.”

Read the rest at The New Yorker

A National Book Award Finalist and Winner of an Edgar Award, Spur Award, and Indies Choice Award

In its citation, the judges for the National Book Award wrote that Killers of the Flower Moon is “structured taut as a noir, researched like an indictment, and written with hard-boiled empathy.” The book also won an Edgar Award for best true mystery, a Spur Award for best work of historical nonfiction, and an Indies Choice Award for best adult nonfiction book of the year, and it was a recipient of the Oklahoma Book Award and the Oklahoma Historical Society’s prize for outstanding book on Oklahoma history. In addition, it was finalist for an Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction.