In June 1816, the Medusa, flagship of a French expedition to repossess the colony of Senegal from the British, set sail. She never arrived at her destination. Commanded by an incompetent Captain, she ran aground off the desolate West African coast. The evacuation of the frigate was chaotic and cowardly and 146 men and one woman were herded aboard a makeshift raft which was then abandoned in mid-ocean, cut loose by the convoy of lifeboats which had pledged to tow it to safety. The drifting raft carried those who survived to the very frontiers of human experience. Crazed, parched and starving, the diminishing band slaughtered mutineers, ate their dead companions and organized a tactical extermination of the weakest among them. Meanwhile, the victims from the boats who made ashore, undertook a dangerous two hundred mile slog through the sweltering, mid-summer Sahara. aving laid the foundations for this tragedy, the Restoration Navy and neo-conservative administration, rightly fearing the political fallout from the disaster, did everything in their power to muffle the Medusa story. Among the handful of survivors from the raft, were two men whose written account of the tragedy catalo
After a childhood in America, Canada and the UK, Jonathan Miles took a first from University College, London and his doctorate from Jesus College, Oxford. He has written, lectured and broadcast on cultural history all over the world. His books on Eric Gill and David Jones have met with critical acclaim, earning such press accolades as 'magisterial', 'authoritative', 'massively researched', 'compelling', and 'incisive'. He lives in Paris with his wife and daughter.