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The Lost Ships of Guadalcanal: Exploring the Ghost Fleet of the South Pacific Hardcover – October, 1993
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Dozens of battered warships lie beneath the constricted waters off Guadalcanal, justifying the macabre moniker of Iron Bottom Sound. Unseen for 50 years, this submarine battlefield received its first visitor in 1992, aquanaut Robert Ballard. The twisted, encrusted shapes he saw are here spread out with the same lavish pictorial formula used in his enormously popular albums on the Titanic and the Bismarck. Prewar photos of battleships in dress regalia contrast graphically with eerie paintings and photos of shell and torpedo strikes that destroyed them and their crews. Now--as in the moment of foundering during the half dozen sharp, short naval battles around the island--guns aim askew, fatal holes gape wide, and turret plates peel back. The Titanic and the Bismarck--both on maiden voyages--sailed to the deep with ill-fated majesty. But Ballard treats these unheralded ships--American, Australian, and Japanese--with the same technical accuracy and awesome reverence. The author's name alone should trigger demand. Where will Ballard dive next? Jutland? Trafalgar? Gilbert Taylor
Top Customer Reviews
It is possible that more men died in the waters off Guadalcanal then on the island itself. But for many years, most of the ships were out of reach to divers and eventually were all but forgotten. Then, in 1992, Oceanographer Robert Ballard, who had found the Titanic and the Bismarck, decided to explore the area using the latest in technology. It is quite an experience to see a past battlefield on land like Normandy, Pearl Harbor, Gettysburg or Guadalcanal itself. But the battlefields were obviously cleaned up afterward and don't look the way they did when the battle concluded. But time knows no boundaries in Iron Bottom Sound. The paintings by Ken Marshall and the photographs show many of the ships still upright on the ocean floor; Their guns and torpedo tubes still trained outward as if firing at a long gone enemy. But some of the ships are not so beautifully preserved. The Battleship Krishima, for example, lies upside down in two pieces on the ocean floor. And the Destroyer Barton is broken in half and lying on its side from two torpedoes. Nevertheless, most of the ships appear ready to rise up and continue fighting.
Lavishly illustrated and with a detailed text, The Lost Ships of Guadalcanal will make a welcome addition to the collection of any War, Naval or Shipwreck enthusiast (If you can find a copy that is).
Once again, just as soon as I took delivery of "The Lost Ships of Guadalcanal" I knew I had a 5 Star Book in my hands and, once again, I found nothing within it's 220 pages to make me take away any of those stars.
This book will stand the test of time as a literary work and outstanding account of one of the major naval battle zones of the Pacific in WW2. There are modern photographs including a number taken from the air, historic photographs (American, Australian, Japanese and local) of the places, the personalities, the ships, aircraft and soldiers, some incredible paintings of the night actions that took place, pictures of Ballard's crew as they go about their work and his advanced equipment being deployed and used. There is also a picture of a very young John F. Kennedy in his PT-109.
The first underwater pictures are enough to make the heart stop for just a moment as you realise this man Ballard has done it again - not once, but in this case several times. Commencing with the 9,850 ton Heavy Cruiser HMAS Canberra (the "A" stands for Australian) we no sooner see the first underwater photographs of this once magnificent ship - which went down fight in the opening minutes of the Battle of Savo Island, then we turn the page to find a 3-page open-out spread of Ken Marschall's painting of the entire wreck.
On the opposite side of that 3 page spread is another equally outstanding painting of USS Quincy followed by her own set of underwater photographs.Read more ›
Most of the book is taken up by short histories of the various battles that make up the 'Guadalcanal Campaign.' This didn't leave much room for the exploration of the wrecks themselves which gives you a rather rushed feeling despite the good background history.
Perhaps this would have been even better as an expanded two volume set.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
And amazing short book with pictures and vivid photographs I love it and I always look for Robert Ballard books.Published 20 months ago by Drew C.
Great Book ! In the best shape. I wish to say moore , but I must get back to my GREAT BOOK. Thank you so very much. ARTPublished 22 months ago by arthur
A nicely done piece connecting the history of WWII with the more recent search for the sunken ships in Iron Bottom Sound. Read morePublished on November 24, 2014 by Obiwan
Very informative book. It was historically accurate, and it pays tribute to the vets who fought so bravely in WWII.Published on February 25, 2014 by Mark Santos
I think we sometimes forget that the battle for the island of Guadalcanal, was more than just the marines fighting the japanese army. Read morePublished on April 21, 2013 by Amazon Customer