The Curse of Oak Island: The Story of the World's Longest Treasure Hunt

The Curse of Oak Island: The Story of the World's Longest Treasure Hunt

by Randall Sullivan


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From longtime Rolling Stone contributing editor and journalist Randall Sullivan, The Curse of Oak Island explores the curious history of Oak Island and the generations of individuals who have tried and failed to unlock its secrets.

In 1795, a teenager discovered a mysterious circular depression in the ground on Oak Island, in Nova Scotia, Canada, and ignited rumors of buried treasure. Early excavators uncovered a clay-lined shaft containing layers of soil interspersed with wooden platforms, but when they reached a depth of ninety feet, water poured into the shaft and made further digging impossible.

Since then the mystery of Oak Island’s “Money Pit” has enthralled generations of treasure hunters, including a Boston insurance salesman whose obsession ruined him; young Franklin Delano Roosevelt; and film star Errol Flynn. Perplexing discoveries have ignited explorers’ imaginations: a flat stone inscribed in code; a flood tunnel draining from a man-made beach; a torn scrap of parchment; stone markers forming a huge cross. Swaths of the island were bulldozed looking for answers; excavation attempts have claimed two lives. Theories abound as to what’s hidden on Oak Island—pirates’ treasure, Marie Antoinette’s lost jewels, the Holy Grail, proof that Sir Francis Bacon was the true author of Shakespeare’s plays—yet to this day, the Money Pit remains an enigma.

The Curse of Oak Island is a fascinating account of the strange, rich history of the island and the intrepid treasure hunters who have driven themselves to financial ruin, psychotic breakdowns, and even death in pursuit of answers. And as Michigan brothers Marty and Rick Lagina become the latest to attempt to solve the mystery, as documented on the History Channel’s television show The Curse of Oak Island, Sullivan takes readers along to follow their quest firsthand.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780802126931
Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date: 12/11/2018
Pages: 396
Sales rank: 3,711
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

RANDALL SULLIVAN was a contributing editor to Rolling Stone for over twenty years. His writing has also appeared in Esquire, Wired, Outside, Men’s Journal, The Washington Post, and the Guardian. Sullivan is the author of The Price of Experience; LAbyrinth, which is the basis for the forthcoming feature film City of Lies; The Miracle Detective, the book that inspired the television show The Miracle Detectives, which Sullivan co-hosted and which premiered on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) in January 2011; and Untouchable. He lives in Portland, Oregon.

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The Curse of Oak Island: The Story of the World's Longest Treasure Hunt 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was not sure what to expect from the book. I watch the show so was familiar with some of the history but this book was able to provide for me a much clearer history of the island and all the treasurer hunters. I was hard pressed to put it down and that is what i like best about a good book. Plus it provided good discussions with my family who also watch the show. He presented the story without bias and with clarity leaving me to make up my own mind about what I believe about the treasure. I would recommend it if you are looking for a thought provoking read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fascinating to learn more of the backstories of the individual theories, and of those involved with the hunt. Will make watching the show even more enjoyable, if that’s even possible! Couldn’t put it down and sad it’s over!
Anonymous 11 months ago
One of my aggravations with the History Channel is the ironic lack of history in their programming anymore. I follow the show because I do enjoy seeing science and data being applied to this mystery, but it is a frustrating one step forward, two steps back watching the show. Congrats, show runners. The book is wonderful because no time is wasted rehashing and teasing, as with a show. Wonderful research and history that I was looking for. As usual, for me, history is far better than anything you could make up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well researched and written despite the Bacon section being a bit tedious.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed this book. The author is thorough in his research and lays out the timeline of the treasure search very well. I am a fan of the show and thought the back story and more detailed information was great.
Anonymous 4 months ago
Very interesting
Lyndixxy 7 months ago
I was excited to get this book and read it. I watch the show on television . This book is not worth buying. The author comes across as knowing everything at times. There is a ton of history in this book but there is not any organization to it. You think you read all about one part or decade and then you go 10 chapters in and you are reading the same thing again. It is very annoying. Some of what he writes is nonsense. I think he just wants to fill more pages. This book is very hard to read with it jumping around all throughout the book. I would not recommend this book. I received this book as a present and I feel bad the person wasted their money.
Anonymous 9 months ago
Anonymous 9 months ago
A hard book to put down. Fascinating reading!
Anonymous 10 months ago
Anonymous 10 months ago
Like show pages of drivel and history of Bacons life and writings but short on dialogue of facts that matter. Not sure he even rates Who he most likely thinks built money pit why do you think I bought the book! To much useless information. The author seems a little egotistical and tries to make reader to believe that his research and knowledge is of more importance than the actual findings on the show. He is just a bean counter not an expert.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is a comprehensive study of the fabled Oak Island fable. It gives concise details and known facts about the history of exploration of the little island in Nova Scotia that has gripped the imagination of many people since 1795. Reading this book will inform the reader of the myths and actual history about Oak Island. A book well worth reading for anyone interested in Oak Island and the history of the area around it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I looked forward to the December release of this book as a holiday gift, giving it sight unseen to my sister, a dedicated fan of the TV show. Then I started reading it for myself. The writing style is chaotic and the author should become familiar with the concept of outline perhaps. The book contains many research findings but jumps around history, covering some unrelated research in too much depth, and glancing over other historical data. Yes, Oak Island has been all over the map from a process and has involved dozens of treasure hunters, companies and support individuals, but it is very hard to follow the story. The author probably assumes that readers have been watching the show faithfully, but if this is a new subject to a reader, this is a tough read.
TwistedReader More than 1 year ago
There is so much information in this book I don’t even know where to start! The story of Oak Island is something I have grown up with. It was taught to us in our history classes, there were books on it in the school libraries and everyone knew what you were talking about if you mentioned “that place with the booby-trapped treasure”. I’m from Nova Scotia so the Island is common knowledge and I still love learning more about it. Oak Island is the mystery that doesn’t get old. As soon as I started reading Randall Sullivan’s book, I knew I was about to get a wealth of information. It was almost overwhelming, to be honest. The amount of time and research that has gone into writing this…amazing. I think what I love most about The Curse of Oak Island is that Sullivan really goes in depth with every possible aspect of this mystery. I mean, REALLY in depth. I don’t think I have ever read any book, on any subject, that is so meticulous and complete. He doesn’t just dive into the “curse” itself, but the entire history of the Island; the explorers, the conspiracies, the possibilities….everything is in this book. This needs to become a reference in schools that still study this part of Nova Scotian history because the textbook writers have nothing compared to Randall Sullivan. I think any Oak Island history buff will enjoy this book. No matter how much or little knowledge you think you may have on the subject I assure you that you will learn something new. Keep in mind, though, that this is NOT light reading. This book is long and it takes a bit of work to read. It’s not something for a relaxing weekend. I recommend reading in sections, even though you’re going to want to keep going. You won’t get an information overload and it does help to let it all marinate a while before diving back in. If you ever wanted to learn about one of the biggest mysteries in Nova Scotian history, this is the only book you need.
3no7 More than 1 year ago
“The Curse of Oak Island” by Randall Sullivan is the ultimate fan guide to the entire “Oak Island phenomena. It begins with the writer’s individual journey “Thirteen years ago, I began an article for Rolling Stone magazine with these lines: Can what’s buried beneath the ground on Oak Island possibly be worth what the search for it has already cost?” He, like us all, soon became hooked by what many consider the greatest unsolved mystery in the world. This book covers everything “Oak Island,” the reasons, the hidden quest, the foes, the treasures, everything. However, before you get too excited, the one thing it does NOT cover is the answer to the key question “What did they find now?” For that, one must watch and wait . This history details the explorations of Fred Nolan, Dan Blankenship, Rick and Marty Lagina, and the multitudes that went before them. All share the same story of being captivated by Oak Island; even held hostage by it. The book spins comprehensive tales of the personal fortunes, wrecked equipment, piles of rubble, and countless hours that have been spent thus far on the quest. Included are the details of quarrels, fights, lawsuits, countersuits, petty arguments, and endless playing of “Quien is mas macho,” all over the secrets of this little island. As viewers of “The Curse of Oak Island” television show know, this island captures people, swallows them up, explorers and viewers alike. I was given a copy of “The Curse of Oak Island” by Randall Sullivan, Atlantic Monthly Press New York, and NetGalley. I had to read this book because the island has captured me as well. If you have made it to this far in my review, you, too, are one of the treasure hunters, and you find “The Curse of Oak Island” a book you cannot put down.
diane92345 More than 1 year ago
Six people have died and multiple fortunes squandered on the world’s most famous treasure hunt. The Curse of Oak Island is a comprehensive history of each attempt. In 1795, a young man finds a mysterious depression on Oak Island, a small island off Nova Scotia. With two of his friends, they dig down hoping to find the lost treasure of notorious pirate, Captain Kidd. Digging down 10 feet, they find a barrier of logs. They find another barrier at 20 feet. Realizing the danger of cave-in, they stop digging. Around eight years later, they find investors to professionally excavate the site. Every 10 feet, another layer of logs is found. However, at 93 feet, the hole fills with water. No amount of bailing reduces the water significantly. From then until now, people have been fascinated by the incredible earthworks and potential treasure hidden on Oak Island. If you are a fan of the History Channel’s show, this is a great companion volume. The Curse of Oak Island is a history book filled with interesting details of the treasure hunt over the past 225 years. It also contains some questionable theories about why the earthworks were built (i.e., doorway to Hell!) Personally, I found the writing style a bit dry and slightly boring but your experience may be different. 3 stars. Thanks to Atlantic Monthly Press and NetGalley for an advance copy in exchange for an honest review.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago