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I thought Miles did a really good job interweaving the stories of the shipwreck and the painting. I really felt like I learned a lot about both.
Anybody else read any good shipwreck stories lately?
Encyclopedia of Civil War Shipwrecks
Also The Loss of the Ship Essex, Sunk by a Whale (Penguin Classics) by Owen Chase who was one of the survivors of the trip, is very good too.
I've heard good things about Batavia's Graveyard. I happened by chance upon Simon Leys' The Wreck of the Batavia, but soon found myself frustrated by his constant references to Dash's book to explain things. Essentially, what I took from Leys was not to bother with his book but to read Batavia's Graveyard instead. I've had my eye out for a copy since.
I also recently chanced upon a young adult novel dealing with the Batavia shipwreck (and its aftermath) called The Blue Eyed Aborigine (touchstone not working: http://www.librarything.com/work/10165256/book/63262533). It was definitely an interesting story, but there was a sudden point of view shift from third person to first (from the POV of Jan, the cabin boy, and Wouter Loos) that made me stumble a bit.
I haven't come across the Simon Leys book and from what you say I'm not inclined to bother. I recently learnt from a book on the Thirty Years War that "Batavia" comes from the Latin name for what is now the Netherlands. And a book I've just finished and enjoyed is The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell. It's only marginally relevant and set in Japan rather than Indonesia but does relate to the Dutch East India Company and was at the end of a trading route from Batavia. Certainly gives some idea of the milieu in which these people were operating. The other book you mention also sounds interesting.