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Submerged: Adventures of America's Most Elite Underwater Archeology Team Paperback – October 22, 2003

4.2 out of 5 stars 36 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Recounting his 25 years as founder and director of the Submerged Cultural Resources Unit the underwater archeological team of the National Park Service Lenihan (Wake of the Perdido Star, with Gene Hackman) offers an entertaining mix of maritime history, memoir and adventure tale. Started in 1975 to keep fortune hunters from looting national water parks for sunken treasure and damaging vital historical material, Lenihan's unit has explored the wondrous (and deadly) sinkholes in Florida and Mexico; studied shipwrecks in the Great Lakes, Micronesia and places in between; and investigated the remains of the USS Arizona and the ships sunk by nuclear bombs near Bikini atoll. While the author is an authority on sea archeology and naval history, he and his divers are also underwater cowboys and cowgirls, thrilling in the dangers of their extreme sport. A sharp, engaging writer, Lenihan describes the terrifying aspects of his work the bone-chilling cold, impenetrable clouds of silt and the notorious bends with a good dose of black humor. (A surreal trip through an old impoundment house submerged in the reservoir of Amistad Dam in Texas is especially haunting.) Fast paced, full of amiable characters, the book will appeal to divers, maritime enthusiasts and anyone fond of nautical hijinks and swaggering seafarers. Photos and maps not seen by PW.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"A gripping saga of archeological exploration of famous shipwrecks. An engaging read of true adventure in the depths." —Clive Cussler

"A sharp, engaging writer, Lenihan describes the terrifying aspects of his work with a good dose of black humor." —Publishers Weekly

"An edge-of-your-seat story that succinctly illustrates the danger of wreck exploration." —The Post and Courier, Charleston, SC

"Every water-oriented reader will be enthralled by Lenihan's underwater world." —Maine Harbor
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (October 22, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1557045895
  • ISBN-13: 978-1557045898
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (36 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #202,242 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on April 7, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I think people of any age who enjoy adventure writing or history will like this book, which recounts the tales of a National Park ranger/diver. His job, along with his team, for more than twenty years, was to map underwater wrecks and preserve the sites for exploration by future divers. Along the way, he seems to have had a really good time. There is an interesting story in each chapter.
I am planning to give the book as a graduation gift to my nephew as I think he will enjoy, as I did, the stories about the joys and mortal perils of cave-diving in Florida, mapping wrecks in the Great Lakes in body-chilling 34-degree water, and close encounters with the slow moving - - but potentially deadly - - lion fish in Micronesia.
I also enjoyed chapters that show the author's awareness of the benefits and drawbacks of age in a young person's sport. I haven't gone diving in the English Channel - - 170 feet deep - - to explore a confederate wreck (the Alabama, which sank off Cherbourg, France, in 1864), but I could identify with the author when he realizes that his eyesight isn't, umm, quite as good as it used to be:
"As the dive progressed, however, I found myself coming face to face with my own aging process. At depth, I usually enjoyed the advantage that experience grants older divers. I could feel smug as I watched younger and stronger men make those myriad little judgment mistakes to which I am not as prone - having already made most of them myself during a quarter century of mucking about in deep water. Depth was, in a sense, the great equalizer. Then, without breaking our pace over the bottom, I reflexively reached for my gauge console and brought it to my face for a routine check of elapsed time and remaining air pressure. I couldn't read it.
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Format: Hardcover
Sometimes it's hard to tell by the title what a book is all about. "Submerged -- Adventures of America's Most Elite Underwater Archeology Team" certainly sounds interesting, but I wasn't quite sure about to the exact nature of the volume. Turns, out it is the recollection of the founder and former chief of the United States National Park Service Submerged Cultural Resources Unit, a group of National Park Service divers, scientists and other professionals seeking to document and catalog shipwrecks. The "SCRU team" is thus a legitimate part of the U.S. Department of the Interior, yet it is one that's about as far removed from stereotypical deskbound civil service as one can imagine. Over a period of 25 years, author Daniel Lenihan created and crafted a team of divers whose skills and sense of adventure was second to none, yet also a group that combined astonishing underwater feats with a keen sense of archeological and anthropological imperatives.

Lenihan describes his own introduction to cave diving as one of the pioneers who developed and advanced the state of the art when the sport was young and so many died in their often ill-conceived pursuits that the government considered closing off the Florida cave systems. Like most divers, young Lenihan was intrigued by finding and recovering artifacts but, unlike most, he quickly discovered that removing them meant destroying perhaps their most intrinsic value, that of learning from the past, the setting where they were found, the condition they and their surroundings were in. In the early 1970s he studied anthropology at the University of Florida, then joined the National Park Service as a "Park Ranger/Archeologist.
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Format: Hardcover
I am an experienced technical diver and was fascinated with that aspect of this book. Mr. Lenihan is indeed a good story teller. I wouldn't be caught dead doing some of the dives that they did on air-- but then again they were diving years ago when no mixed gasses were easily available. I feel that I have the right to take souvenirs from shipwrecks if I've gone to the trouble and expense to get to them and they're going to just corrode away in the sea. But Mr. Lenihan makes his points about preservation without being obnoxious and self-righteous and I like that. He made me think enough about the value of these wrecks that even though I'll probably still take small souvenirs, my newly informed conscience would keep me from taking anything too nice. Don't buy this book if you want to know the best and safest ways to deep dive or cave dive. I'm not saying they aren't real good divers but they dive with air and a prayer. Still, in all, I really enjoyed it.
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Format: Paperback
Submerged is not only the title of the book but describes my feeling when reading it. Lenihan took me on a deep journey. I'm only an amateur diver but the simple clarity of the writing allowed to me a glimpse into the professional side of underwater work. The book was compelling but I must say at times I was uneasy-there was a dark side to even the lighter narratives. He and his diving team had some of the most frightening and even bizarre experiences I've ever read about and ones I personally would not find worth the risks. Nevertheless I must give them credit for such extreme dedication to historic preservation. I read the book over three evenings and most enjoyed the personal stories. My husband found the same book interesting for very different reasons. He was most interested in the history and romance of the shipwrecks.
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