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The Curse of Oak Island

The Story of the World's Longest Treasure Hunt
Written by: Randall Sullivan
Narrated by: Braden Wright
Length: 16 hrs and 37 mins
Categories: History, World
4.5 out of 5 stars (46 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 listeners along to follow their quest firsthand. 

©2018 Randall Sullivan (P)2019 Brilliance Publishing, Inc., all rights reserved.

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Long anticlimactic listen

Good overall effort. Story could have been told in 1/4 of the length. Would skip unless absolutely fascinated by the possibility of treasure.

6 people found this helpful

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Rich and insightful

In-depth look at the history of oak island, with wonderful narration. It was nice to have a chronological retelling of the events on Oak Island. Many avenues explored and theories challenged.

2 people found this helpful

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Brilliant writing, in-depth research, fascinating

By far the best of the 20-odd nonfiction Audiobooks I have listened to over the past nine months. As a 30-year veteran journalist, I can appreciate the effort that goes into a work such as this. The only drawback: too much space is devoted to what the treasure might be and who might have left it. Unless a detailed ancient map can be turned up, it makes far more sense to just look for the treasure, and once it's found, it will be much easier to figure out who left it there. The "spookiness" of the island is fascinating. One worker said he was dowsing (holding dowsing sticks, a primitive form of searching for water) on the island when he was overtaken by an ominous force, then possessed by the spirit of a long-dead slave. The event was witnessed by others and resulted in a hospital stay. Treasure aside, this island is a perfect candidate for research into the paranormal. Start by inviting people to camp out on Oak Island overnight, and/or to use dowsing rods, then record what they hear and see.

4 people found this helpful

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Great Read and Very Insightful

This was a great read and very insightful. Lots of history regarding the Curse of Oak Island. As well as different theories and rumours surrounding the Island and works, owners and investors. It was very sad regarding the one man who took his life after saving three or four men from the money pit. He was a volunteer firefighter - him and an American tourist pulled bodies of alive and dead men from the pit and the Canadian man was lost in the fog of the Island while the American was given awards/merits of Canada. I loved the book as they tried to debunk stories and myths throughout the ownership of the Island. I’m sure there will be another book as they continue the journey with Rick, Marty and the rest of the Oak Island gang.

1 person found this helpful

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Captivating

Enjoyed his well researched story, sticking to facts, and putting many other “flight of fancy versions”, (some of which I always though were based on factual events) to rest.
I couldn’t put it down !

1 person found this helpful

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Thorough

As an avid follower of the curse of oak island. I was prepared for a similar recap of the show. However, this is a much more in-depth fact finding book that follows the known timeline of oak island. The author doesn’t fill the pages with fanciful leaps of judgement. He only shares the facts. He leaves the reader with a want to know more. Even though there is not much more to share.

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Everything You Want to Know About Oak Island...

I found this audio book to be a compelling listen. The presentation of facts and other information was performed in a way that went beyond a simple textbook read. I appreciated how the information was pulled together and transitioned smoothly across topics. Historical perspectives were provided from which I learned a lot. It is always interesting to me when learning can occur while not thinking it is. Anyway, I continue to be a fan of the Curse of Oak Island and this book just reinforced that position.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-03-27

The ultimate Osk Island show add on

If you can't get enough of the History Channels "The Curse of Oak Island" or you simply want to know more about the island itself, then this book is a must! Braden Wright does an excellent job narrating the book, and that's something coming from me. He isn't dull or boring and truly sounds as if he's actually enjoying the book himself.
Right off the bat, you can tell Randall has a serious interest in the island and whether he wants to admit it or not, he has been hooked by the mystery since day one. Yet, unlike most, Randall takes a very senseable and reasonable look at the island through the eyes of history and does an outstanding job investigating the many theories that have popped up over the centuries.
I highly recommend this book for any Oak Island lover or anyone interested in lost treasure. My only wish is that there could be other books like this, which focus on different lost treasures from around the world!

11 people found this helpful

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  • tjcrewsbooks
  • 2019-03-24

Captivating, entertaining, and informative.

The amount of research that went into the writing of this book is astonishing--but not dry. The book becomes a living, breathing, ongoing tale of searches for treasure and solutions to mystery. Randall Sullivan writes frequently in the first person throughout this book to offer his own insight and observations--which kept me engaged and very interested.
Those of us who are familiar with the TV show, The Curse of Oak Island, realize that the show gives us only the tip of the iceberg regarding the history of the search for Oak Island treasure.
This book also goes into detail about the rivalry between Dan Blankenship and Fred Nolan--which is significant if we want to understand the animosity they held for each other most of their adult lives.
The quality of the reader/narrator can't be understated. A bad narrator can ruin a great book. A great narrator can make a great book even greater. Brandon Wright does a fantastic job as narrator of this book.

11 people found this helpful

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  • Dan
  • 2019-08-27

Almost too much info. Kind of companion to TV show

Reasonably interesting story of Oak Island. But maybe too much info and too much ancient history. A large part of the book is about the history of various pirates, secret societies, Elizabethan England, the history of Nova Scotia, Francis Bacon, etc. It is questionable whether so much historical context is really helpful, or just confusing. As it is there is a dizzying array of characters described in the book who take part in the exploration of Oak Island over the years. Also be warned that the book is a kind companion to the History Channel series of the same name. I suspect that those who have not watched the show (like me) might not enjoy the book as much as those who have watched the show. And of course, most disappointing of all, the riddle of Oak Island remains unsolved.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Sammy R
  • 2019-03-21

The Curse Of Oak Island

I really liked this book and story. There was plenty of information giving that I didn't know about. I would recommend this book to all.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Steve Stricker
  • 2019-03-26

Long but worthwhile

I “read” the audio book on a long two day drive. Although the the book was quite long and a bit boring during some of the theory descriptions, I found it very informative and it made the tv series much more interesting. The Nolan Blankenship conflict was explained evenhandedly and all the TV characters were given much more depth. The most notable benefit of the read was understanding all the prior efforts to unearth whatever lies underground and the extent of the drilling and excavations that have accumulated over the years.
Anyone with at least a moderate interest in Oak Island should find this read rewarding.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Mark
  • 2019-04-08

In depth and entertaining

I am a big fan of the show and have had an interest in the Oak Island mystery since childhood - I would say this book by Mr Sullivan is the most comprehensive of any that I have read on the subject. I really appreciated how even handed the author was in examining such a wide range of theories and ideas. In many ways his pragmatic approach debunked a number of the more fringe theories, yet throughout the book he concedes that many remain as potentially viable answers. The destruction of the original money pit area while in pursuit of the treasure may ultimately prevent finding out a definitive answer. I was very surprised at how many tunnels and shafts were attempted in the over 200 year pursuit. Was there ever a treasure, what was the treasure, is it still there and who actually was responsible for the original work - all questions that may never be answered. The content was fascinating, the narration was exceptional. Well worth the credit.

2 people found this helpful

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  • SANTOS
  • 2019-03-29

Very Informative

Excellent Story, goes into detail of the theories of what’s believed to be buried on the island. I’m a huge fan of the show.

2 people found this helpful

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  • James
  • 2020-02-13

Excellent

I rarely write reviews beyond just giving a listen stars. I’m doing it this time because this book is excellent.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jeffrey Schmidt
  • 2019-12-26

Enthralling

Randall Sullivan does a magnificent job of presenting a chronological history of the Oak Island treasure hunt that is absolutely mesmerizing. I’d give this review more stars if I could.

1 person found this helpful

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  • vrak
  • 2019-11-15

Fantastic book!

Loved the book! The narration was excellent as well. Very thorough accounting of the various theories and actions that have taken place on oak island. Also explains some of the details I missed when watching the show. I appreciated the fairness of the rhetoric, and also liked how the author let his own opinions come through. Felt like I was right there with him, as he researched and took his notes. Really well done!

1 person found this helpful