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Shackles from the Deep: Tracing the Path of a Sunken Slave Ship, a Bitter Past, and a Rich Legacy

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  146 ratings  ·  35 reviews
A pile of lime-encrusted shackles discovered on the seafloor in the remains of a ship called the Henrietta Marie, lands Michael Cottman, a Washington, D.C.-based journalist and avid scuba diver, in the middle of an amazing journey that stretches across three continents, from foundries and tombs in England, to slave ports on the shores of West Africa, to present-day Caribbe ...more
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published January 3rd 2017 by National Geographic Society
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Emily Ever Non-fiction. Real account of a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist looking for answers about a sunken slave ship
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3.68  · 
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 ·  146 ratings  ·  35 reviews

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Kris - My Novelesque Life
Rating: 4 STARS
2017; National Geographic Children's Books/National Geographic Books
(Review Not on Blog)

This book would have made my "young self" very happy to read, in that it is so rich in information yet simplified in a way that kids can absorb it all. I know this, because my present self really enjoyed reading this. I have always liked history when it is beyond just the dates. The facts mixed with clues (old and new) becomes a mystery to figure out how it all comes to together and find eviden
Mar 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Many ships have sunk into the ocean over the years, but the Henrietta Marie carries special significance because of what she carried inside her hull in the years before her sinking. The Henrietta Marie was a slave ship, used to transport people into slavery and away from their homes on the West African shore. This book though is more about the experiences of the author, journalist Michael Cottman, as he learned about the ship's origins and travels. While there is little hope of discovering the s ...more
Alex (not a dude) Baugh
Michael H. Cottman may be a Pulitzer Prize winning African American journalist and author, but he is also a passionate scuba diver. And it was because of his love of diving that he was brought into the history of a slave ship called the Henrietta Marie while attending a meeting of the National Association of Black Scuba Divers in Key West, Florida in 1992.

The story of the Henrietta Marie began in 1981, when shackles had been found on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico. This was followed by the disc
Vera Godley
Feb 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Growing up during pre-integration period of American history, I knew some but not a lot about our past history as it relates to the treatment of slaves and how they came to be here in America or in other areas of the world. I have since learned more about this dark period in mankind's history. But this is not the only people to have been enslaved throughout history. Enslavement has been rife throughout history. It is a rich heritage, indeed, that the abolition of slavery was sought and fought fo ...more
Mrs Mommy Booknerd
What an important book for young readers, not only to encourage kids to take on grand adventures and exploration, but to also question the past and learn from it in order to make a better future. My son has begun reading this book and it has opened many important discussions between us regarding slavery, sea exploration, diving and ways that we can make the world a better place. I think this story is relevant and important today and always. Brilliantly written for young readers, this book is sur ...more
Oct 31, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-read
I reviewed this for Booklist and it was SO interesting. A mystery with history and self-discovery. I wish it had been longer because Cottman just briefly touches on black scuba divers and the community and activism that is coming and I wanted to read more about that. Very interesting, and a fast read. Can't wait to book talk this one up.
Kristi Bernard
Feb 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In 1972 Moe Moliner, and underwater treasure hunter, set his sights on finding the Nuestra Senora de Atocha, a Spanish galleon that sunk in 1622. While searching an area in the Gulf of Mexico he stumbled upon a set of limestone covered shackles. It wasn’t long before divers, treasure salvages, and marine archaeologists were talking about this mysterious shipwreck. It was later discovered that the mysterious ship was the Henrietta Marie.

Pulitzer Prize winning author Michael H. Cottman shares his
Annalee Schnebele
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: nonfiction, srl
I liked some aspects of this a lot, but I think the format was kind of weird for this book. It's more like a memoir about exploring the wreckage of the Henrietta Marie, a sunken slave ship, and the author's journey to try to make sense the slave trade. I think I would either like it to be more of a memoir with more detail or more of an informational book about the salve trade or the finding of this particular sunken ship. The writing was great, but I think it kind of misses its mark on what it i ...more
Dec 28, 2017 rated it liked it
I bought this for my son. I read it tonight, and I found it very interesting. The only reason I gave it three stars rather than a higher rating is because it was written for a much younger audience. It had that simplified feel to it. I would be interesting in reading something by the author that is written for adults. I think this book would be great for young people. (It has lots to offer in the way of history, geography, and vocabulary). I imagine that this book would especially appeal to chil ...more
Julie Trapp
Sep 26, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018-books
The author follows the path of the Henrietta Marie's journey to America. She was a slave ship and sunk near Key West. This book is more about the experiences of the author as he learned about the ship's origins and travels. He feels the connection to his own ancestors as he travels to England, Africa, and Jamaica, following the long distant travels of the ship. A good book for younger readers, but too personal. Would have liked it better if it had been about the ship rather than Cottman's attach ...more
An interesting account of not only the discovery of a three hundred year old slaving ship, but the author's journey of attempting to track down and come to an understanding of the past. While trying to find as much information about the Henrietta Marie, Michael Cottman attempts to trace the history and come to terms with his own African-American history. Knowing that he descends from a slave probably, brought to America on a ship like this, the journey becomes very personal and leaves just as ma ...more
Ms. QMS Roberson
Sep 08, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This modern day POV of the Middle passage will be well received by all! Author, Michael Cottman, takes us on a visual and emotional journey as he visits various locations inspired by the recovery of a bell from a sunken slave ship. Readers can envision the harsh experiences of not only enslaved adult Africans, but their children, as they leave their homeland forever.
Excellent for mature upper elementary - middle school readers!
Sep 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shackles from the Deep explores the history and remains of a sunken slave ship and the African American divers who found and commemorated it. I wish it had gone a bit deeper into the historical context of the ship, but on the other hand keeping it focused on this one ship made the story a quick read that may reach a wider audience than a longer version would have. I would like this book to find as wide an audience as possible among both young adult and adult readers.
May 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
While scuba diving at a submerged shipwreck, the author comes across a pile of rusted shackles that might have once held his own ancestors, inspiring him to trace not only his own history but that of the ship and the people it once may have carried. The text is kind of repetitive, but the author's voice is very clear as he struggles with understanding his own history.
Nov 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Wished this book was longer, and had more facts, photos, and other information. This has a lot of the author’s feeling journey, a valid emotional journey, but i wished to learn more about the slave trade, the area, the shipwreck, etc.
Jan 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is a great narrative nonfiction that I think middle schoolers will really enjoy. I loved the intersections of history, racial injustice, archeology, science, research, journalism, and treasure hunting. This is a very unique book telling an important story.
Dec 04, 2017 rated it it was ok
Interesting premise but poorly carried out. Non-fiction as a review of the author’s search for answers can be tricky and it was not done well here.
Feb 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
I loved this. It does a beautiful job of showing a personal connection to history and how our history shapes us as well as the world around us. Now I need the adult version. Very moving!
Sep 03, 2018 rated it liked it
The book has a very meaningful story, that can be felt through the character.
Mar 16, 2017 marked it as to-read
Top 10 Diverse Nonfiction for Youth 2017 (Booklist)
Mar 13, 2017 rated it liked it
I thought the author was a bit melodramatic but this book brought up enough good ideas (albeit in a superficial way) that it made me want to read more about how the slave trade impacted the African continent.
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Avid scuba diver and journalist, Michael Cottman is sharing the remarkable discovery of a sunken ship that carried slaves to Europe and North/South America during the late 1600's. The ship was the Henrietta Marie and in early 1700, it sank in a storm off the coast of Key West, Florida. Nothing was known about this ship until 1972 when underwater treasure hunter Moe Molinar finds the wreckage while looking for some treasures from another ship. Hurricanes often stir up the sand around sunken treas ...more
Stacy Renee  (LazyDayLit)
Feb 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This review was originally posted on Lazy Day Literature

Shackles From the Deep is a first person account of the author's search for his roots. As a diver and journalist, Cottman investigates the Henrietta Marie, a slave ship that sunk near Key West, off the coast Florida.
This book reads almost like a fiction novel in the way that it sucks you into it's narrative and you feel like you are part of the story. Except that this story is all too real and reminds us of the horrors of slaving and it's i
Cottman is a diver and member of the National Assn of Black Scuba Divers. He was active in the process of recovering artifacts fro the sunken slave ship Henrietta Marie off Key West, and the laying there of a memorial to the many slaves who lost their homelands in the slave trade. In the research process, he followed the ship's course and dove in all those harbors, spent time in the British maritime Library looking at ship's logs, as well as investigating his own family roots. The book is someth ...more
Emily Ever
Cottman's journey from the bottom of the ocean to former slaving ports to dusty archives is not only informative and interesting, but also heart-wrenching. Told in a simple narrative style, the themes of reconciliation and family connection will speak to every reader.

Definitely would recommend to anyone interested in African American History, underwater archaeology, and maritime history.

full disclosure, though: I work for the publisher
Apr 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Enthralling read that spoke to me as a human being and a lover of history and the makings of America. True example of the pursuit of the truth of the past.
Mar 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
National Geographic, 2017
127 pages
Recommended for grades 4+

Get your hands on this book. Read it, and then tell other people about it.
Even though I felt a bit like an intruder at times, reading something that was at times so sacred and personal, I'm glad to have intruded. My mind was stimulated with images and thoughts throughout the reading of this book. The Henrietta Marie was a slave ship that now rests below the ocean, and has been viewed and researched by black scuba divers. The im
Mar 15, 2017 marked it as to-read
Shelves: 2017-new
Apr 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
While ostensibly written for younger readers, the author has written an account accessible and exciting even to an adult.

Shauna Yusko
Mar 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Really well done. Except for a National Geographic book, I was monumentally disappointed that there weren't any photographs. Of anything. I hope that was just the galley and not the actual publication. Also, I'm not sure of the teen appeal. Seemed more like a book for adults interested in the many topics covered.
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MICHAEL H. COTTMAN, Pulitzer prize-winning journalist and author, is a former political reporter for the WashingtonPost. Cottman has appeared on National Public Radio's (NPR) "Tell Me More" with Michel Martin and also the Oprah Winfrey Show in 2000 to discuss his (adult) book The Wreck of the Henrietta Marie. Cottman also serves as a special consultant to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administr ...more