- Paperback: 560 pages
- Publisher: Grove Press; First Trade Paper edition (October 20, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780802144256
- ISBN-13: 978-0802144256
- ASIN: 080214425X
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.2 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 414 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #85,378 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea: The History and Discovery of the World's Richest Shipwreck Paperback – October 20, 2009
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White-knuckle reading . . . A marvelous tale, with generous portions of history, adventure, intrigue, heroism, and high technology interwoven . . . Gary Kinder has the skill to put it all together, and luckily for us, we get to read it.”Los Angeles Times
Drawing on the extensive testimony of eyewitnesses and survivors, Kinder has reconstructed the sinking of the Central America in harrowing and often poignant detail.”New York Times
A twenty-four-carat sea classic.”New York Times Book Review
Engaging, magnificently researched . . . a complex, bittersweet history of two centuries of American entrepreneurship, linked by the mad quest for gold.”Entertainment Weekly
An old-fashioned seafaring adventure, awash in time and vigor . . . A ripping true tale of danger and discovery at sea.”Washington Post
Titanic meets Tom Clancy technology . . . Kinder has lashed together a thumping good narrative.”People
Kinder makes the shipwreck so enthralling that it seems any later events are doomed to anticlimax. Not so . . . it is a truly great tale, cleverly organized and expertly written.”Atlantic Monthly
What a yarn! . . . If you sign on for the cruise, go in knowing that you're going to miss meals and a lot of sleep.”Newsweek
Gripping . . . the pages speed past.”Newsday
Extraordinarily gripping . . . An astounding and marvelous book.”Cleveland Plain Dealer
An extraordinarily good tale.”Chicago Tribune
Moving and riveting.”Philadelphia Inquirer
It wasn't easy money, but it sure is a great story. Kinder tells it in fascinating, exhaustive detail.”Time
Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea is nonfiction treasure . . . The book takes hold of you from page one and never lets go. history and heroics, science and suspenseShip of Gold has that blockbuster feel.”Sailing
Worthy of the best fiction and enough action to shame James Bond.”—Men's Journal
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The book begins with the historical account of the SS Central America, a ship making the run from Panama to the US east coast, bringing people and gold from the California "Gold Rush" that sank in a hurricane in 1857. It's an extremely well written account that goes beyond the bare facts and is constructed from first-person accounts of the survivors. These chapters set the stage for the recovery of the treasure because it lays out the conflicting evidence on exactly where the ship went down.
The book then moves into a biography of Tommy Thompson and how he became drawn into the problem of doing work in the deep ocean as well as how he became interested in the SS Central America. Thompson viewed the enterprise of treasure-hunting as bringing together every aspect of a system, from finance to robotics and Tommy had the rare ability to ask "what next" and "what if that doesn't work" and have ready answers or alternatives. That the ship was found and the treasure recovered - tons of gold in the form of bars, coins and dust - is due almost exclusively to Thompson.
I was impressed with the book. It was exciting and I kept reading at a sitting - often longer than I had planned - because of the suspense the author created in each chapter. Really, it is very well written and a good read. The only things I didn't like was that there were no pictures of the treasure and the book ends at the treasure's finding. There's no exposition of the finds outside of a couple items recovered. Thompson was very forward-thinking in that he planned to recover more than just the gold and other artifacts that have historical and cultural significance were also recovered. The book ends without showing the reader all that had been found and the significance of the finds.
None the less, this is a very good read for fans of history, suspense, technology or folks just looking for a great read that's a little different. Good book - four stars.
Fast forward now to the 1970s when we meet Tommy Thompson, Ohio State University graduate in mechanical engineering, who also has a fascination with deep ocean exploration. After several false starts, he launches a project to locate the S. S. Central America and explore the possibility of recovering its artifacts. He encounters many problems along the way, the first of which is money, but he convinces a group of wealthy investors to back him in a limited partnership. Tommy gathers together a ship, a crew, a small group of technicians, and conducts multiple runs along ocean paths calculated according to statistical probabilities of locating the wreck.
But Tommy and his intrepid group are not alone out there on the ocean. In spite of his enforcing tight security on the venture, they are badgered by treasure hunters who suspect that Tommy is onto something big. Once he finds something at the sea’s bottom of 8,000 feet below the surface, a new problem arises; he must establish the venture’s legal rights to conduct further undersea work at the site.
There are several surprises along the way and they deal with the actual artifacts found and in what condition they are when brought up to the surface. The book actually has a plot and characters, like a novel, but it’s all an exciting true story. The added bonus for me was learning about deep water exploration, the technology of submersibles operating at extreme depths and pressures, and the discovery of biological life previously unknown to scientists and oceanographers.
This is an excellent book and I recommend to everyone.