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Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea
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April 2019: History > Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea by Gary Kinder - 4 stars

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Joy D | 3068 comments Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea: The History and Discovery of the World's Richest Shipwreck by Gary Kinder - 4 stars

Non-fiction account of the wreck of the Central America in 1857 and the search, spearheaded by inventor and creative thinker Tommy Thompson, for her wreckage in the deep water of the Atlantic Ocean 130 years later. The book is divided into sections, with the first focusing on the experience of the passengers and crew aboard the Central America, the second on the early life of Tommy Thompson, and the third on the development of the technology to search for, locate, and recover artifacts. Did I mention the ship was laden with gold acquired during the California Gold Rush?

This book is so much more than a description of a “treasure hunt.” It is one of the most harrowing accounts of a ship’s sinking I have ever read. The author has done an excellent job of reconstructing the events from source material of the time. Even though I knew the eventual outcome, I felt invested in the tale and was rooting for them to overcome the elements and stay afloat. This section was outstanding!

When we get to Tommy Thompson’s early life, it slows down a bit. It laid the groundwork, though, and I think was necessary to tell the entire story of the recovery. Thompson is a creative thinker, inventor, and scientist. At the time (1980’s) the technology to work in deep water was in its infancy and this book shows how Thompson developed a team, pushed boundaries, designed equipment, and raised funds to do what was then considered impossible.

The section on the search and recovery takes the reader into the wide-ranging disciplines required to succeed in this high-risk high-reward endeavor, including engineering, probability theories, risk management, maritime law, fund-raising, teamwork, communications, and fending off the competition. It also covers the history of salvage operations as of the date of publication (1998). This section of the book is for people that like details. Kinder sometimes inserts a bit too much technical jargon and extensive descriptions for my taste, taking away from his main points. The author also seems a bit taken with Thompson to the point of excusing some rather questionable behavior. Overall, though, if you are looking for “non-fiction that reads like fiction,” this story fits the bill.

Link to My Review

message 2: by Joanne (new)

Joanne (joabroda1) | 7112 comments I love this sort of story-added to my shelf! Your review has reeled me right in!

Joy D | 3068 comments Joanne wrote: "I love this sort of story-added to my shelf! Your review has reeled me right in!"

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did, Joanne!

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