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Disaster strikes A ship goes down a plane crashes a party of travellers is cut offBut when the panic and confusion subside and the dead are counted the survivors must find a way to keep surviving And in desperation unconstrained by law or conventional authority the tactics they resort to can be both horrifying and ultimately self destructiveLearmonth and Tabakoff outline the physical and neurological changes that typically affect the victims of disaster Then using true stories from history as case studies they investigate the scenario famously imagined by William Golding in Lord of the Flies and borne out by the extraordinary Robbers Cave experiments of the 1950s As this fascinating book unfolds the awful truth becomes clear In extremity humans are capable of a descent into murderous savagery so swift and complete it could—literally—take your breath away


10 thoughts on “No Mercy

  1. says:

    I heard one of the authors being interviewed on 'Conversations with Richard Fidler' a podcast I had downloaded This is a fascinating look at cases in history of how individuals react when in the midst of physical and psychological trauma brought about by shipwreck being 'lost' members of a cult oas unwitting participants in a social experiment The authors detail a range of incidents that depending on how the survivors responded had a range of outcomes Either the survivors had a 100% positive outcome or in the other extreme the survivors were disorganised murdered each other and made no effort towards being rescued The historical accounts were fascinating and were successful in creating a picture of life in the age of exploration sea travel and life at sea A great read


  2. says:

    No Mercy True Stories of Disaster Survival and Brutality by Eleanor Learmonth and Jenny Tabakoff is a very highly recommended thought provoking look at how groups of people act and the extremes they will go to in order to survive during a traumatic event such as a ship wreck or plane crash in a remote area Why do some people work together and survive the disaster with fewer fatalities while other groups disintegrate into stupidity and violence?Learmonth and Tabakoff note in the prologue that This book considers numerous such examples of the Lord of the Flies principle in history We focus on predominantly adult groups who found themselves stranded and in conditions of extreme stress at dates between 134 BC and 2010 AD in remote locations across the globe Several of these episodes will be considered in depth; others will appear as we look at the factors that seem to dictate the survivor groups’ behavior and dynamics We analyze the twisting path of social disintegration with reference to other failed groups—some famous others relegated to the dusty forgotten corners of historyNo Mercy looks at how William Golding in his book The Lord of the Flies presents us with a principle that can be used when observing any group that finds itself isolated and faced with the struggle to survive The Lord of the Flies principle 1 groups will inevitably fragment into factions 2 leaders freuently become obsessed with maintaining control rather than leading 3 if the strong are battling to survive they will not waste care and resources on the weak 4 morality mercy and compassion are the expendable luxuries of civilization 5 individuals will passively sanction evil actions by others to avoid becoming the next victim 6 the rule of law will decay into a state of nature 7 in the long run there is only one rule self preservation Page xix I was engrossed in each tale of survival or not and the various actions each group took While almost every disaster has a degree of stupidity at its core it is how the survivors behave and respond that often separates the living from the dead The authors point out that some of the stupidity is actually the result of a built in neuro chemical reaction that we have no control overContents includeA Location mapPrologueThe Lord of the Flies principleHELL ON WATER THE MEDUSA RAFT; Fear; Panic; Faith in command; Alcohol; FairnessPROBLEMS IN PATAGONIA THE WRECK OF THE WAGER; Fragmentation; Caring for the weak and injured; ‘Polar disease’; Starvation; Stupidity and inertiaCASTAWAYS IN THE SUB ANTARCTIC; The shifting sands of authority; Compassion; The dogma of race; The dark; The beastBLOODSHED IN VINLAND; Suicide; Abuse and violence; The last resort; Killing for foodA MORAL ABYSS THE LIFEBOAT OF THE WILLIAM BROWN; Murder; Thrill kills; Last man standing; Scars; ImplicationsAvoiding the Lord of the Flies principle; Into the woods the Robbers Cave experiment; Précis of Lord of the FliesAcknowledgments; Sources; Illustrations; IndexThe opening of each major section shows the title and other uick statistics For exampleHell on Water the raft of the MedusaLocation Atlantic Ocean off the Sahara Desertnationality Primarily FrenchDate 1816Fatality Rate 91%Duration 13 daysorCastaways in the Sub AntarcticLocation Auckland Islandsnationality Multinational crewDate 1864Fatality Rate 0%DuRation 600 daysWhile the other case studies we have considered can easily be categorized as abject failures this example shows that a group can sidestep the Lord of the Flies principle even in the harshest of circumstances In this chapter it was also interesting that many survivors talk about an ‘unseen presence’ which felt malevolent for some and a comforting guardian angel to others This has been named the Third Man Syndrome after Shackleton’s encounterThis is really a compelling fascinating dramatic look back at the social decay and implosion that occurred in various groups of people under extreme stress It proves Golding’s overarching concept that the primary thing from which the group needs protection is itselfDisclosure My Kindle edition was courtesy of the Text Publishing Company for review purposes


  3. says:

    Epically fascinating The authors take a look at the group dynamics of mostly men who meet disaster and the neurological factors that play an important role into whether the group will survive or not Starting off with The Lord of the Flies Principle and the Robber's Cave Experiment as examples of group survival decay they examine several shipwrecks from the 1700s and 1800s which all had atrocious survivor rates except one which had 100% success They discuss how our brain reacts in these situations typical feelings and almost always shared situations and problems While discussing these topics many other survivor disastors are referenced sometimes in full as well So while the book is very heavy on shipwrecks others are regularly mentioned such as the Andes Mountain Flight Disaster in '73 and the 2010 Chilean Miner Rescue I found the book absolutely fascinating and uniue It's about 5050 history of the disaster vs neurologypsychology of the brain and group dynmaics Topics covered are fear panic alcohol leadership stupidity and inertia race suicide cannibalism and murder to name a few My only problem with the book is that it didn't seem to have a natural orderly organization not chronological not thematic It went back and forth both in time and on themes and while the information held me engrossed forgiving this faux pas it would have been a much stronger treatise with a progressive order


  4. says:

    A truly fascinating book As a person who rarely reads anything other than contemporary types of books I found it written in a style that brought the historical aspects of these stories very much to life and in the stories written about recent events it made me realise that despite all the dramatic changes in modern society we haven't really evolved from our most primitive states


  5. says:

    The content is fascinating and I enjoyed the Lord of the Flies style premise If you extrapolate it over to society it has some scary social lessons But it is not as well written as it could be


  6. says:

    A bit of a sensationalist title but since people die in this book than the entire series of Game of Thrones it probably works Honestly this is terrifying Ghastly stories of survival on abandoned islands or out at sea are intertwined with chapters about what actually happens to your body when you start to starve what leads to social collapse and why the night can seem so damn terrifying and make you lose your mind and kill a bunch of people Ultimately I would call this a thoroughly educational experience Here are some of the things I learned1 Never eat the liver of anything2 Try not to resort to murder probably a good lesson in general3 Never eat the liver


  7. says:

    If you are working on a project about survival cannibalism shipwreck group dynamics or 'Lord of the Flies' then I would seriously recommend you dip into this book You don't need to read it all although I did and I liked the way the authors had explored the many issues involved Through the book we are invited to read about actual events and then the author's perspective of the issues involved comparing one to another The authors finish with a precis of 'Lord of the Flies' by which time the fictional events held a new perspective for this reader Respect to Golding You will be excused if you find some of the tales rather gory humans without resources can react in terrible waysRecommended to Y11 13 working on survival topics or anyone who is interested in group dynamics Bear Grylls never had to hold a group together


  8. says:

    I heard about the book on Conversations with Richard Fidler The book is uite interesting It deals with grim topics but not in a gruesome way I hope I never have to use the knowledge gained by reading this book but it should almost be reuired reading for people embarking on dangerous expeditions Human nature unchecked is a scary thing I found the content fascinating but thought that the book could have benefitted from another edit


  9. says:

    A fascinating look through history at how human beings cope when put into stranded disaster and privation situations Real life situations are compared alongside the novel 'Lord of the Flies' in which the author William Golding imagines the social decline of shipwrecked boysHard to believe that you could descend into complete and utter savagery and anarchy but history belies all claims to our thin layer of civility


  10. says:

    A very engaging read On the surface it's the ins and outs of some amazing tales of survival and loss but under that is the essence of all conflict in relationships and society This well written book is a collection of stories that reads like several short stories making it very easy to get through