Shipwrecks

Ghosts of the Abyss: A Journey into the Heart of the Titanic

By Don Lynch and Ken Marschall

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"In the late summer of 2001, James Cameron, the director-producer of the highest-grossing picture in Hollywood history, led a new deep-diving expedition to the wreck of the lost liner Titanic. With him was a team of underwater explorers that included the artist Ken Marschall, the historian Don Lynch, and two actors from the movie, Bill Paxton and Lewis Abernathy (who played Brock Lovett and Lewis Bodine). Their equipment included state-of-the-art digital 3D cameras, a pair of Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs), and a specially built deep-water lighting platform that illuminated the fabled ship as never before."
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Lost Voices from the Titanic: The Definitive Oral History

By Nick Barratt

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"On April 15, 1912, the HMS Titanic sank, killing 1,517 people and leaving the rest clinging to debris in the frozen waters of the North Atlantic awaiting rescue. Here, historian Nick Barratt provides the definitive narrative of the disaster in the words of those who were involved--including the designers and naval architects at the White Star Line; first-class aristocratic passengers and the families in third class and steerage, many of whom were simply seeking a better life in America; and the boards of inquiry, whose task it was to help change maritime law to ensure that such an event never took place again. Combining tales of incredible folly and unimaginable courage, Barratt has gathered the aspirations of the owners, the efforts of the crew, and of course, the eyewitness accounts from those lucky enough to survive, transporting the reader back to those heartbreaking moments on that fateful Sunday night."
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Shadow of the Titanic: The Extraordinary Stories of Those Who Survived

By Andrew Wilson

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"In the early morning hours of April 15, 1912, the icy waters of the North Atlantic reverberated with the desperate screams of more than 1,500 men, women, and children--passengers of the once majestic liner Titanic . Then, as the ship sank to the ocean floor and the passengers slowly died from hypothermia, an even more awful silence settled over the sea. The sights and sounds of that night would haunt each of the vessel's 705 survivors for the rest of their days. Although we think we know the story of Titanic --the famously luxurious and supposedly unsinkable ship that struck an iceberg on its maiden voyage from Britain to America--very little has been written about what happened to the survivors after the tragedy. How did they cope in the aftermath of this horrific event? How did they come to remember that night, a disaster that has been likened to the destruction of a small town? Drawing on a wealth of previously unpublished letters, memoirs, and diaries as well as interviews with survivors' family members, award-winning journalist and author Andrew Wilson reveals how some used their experience to propel themselves on to fame, while others were so racked with guilt they spent the rest of their lives under the Titanic's shadow. Some reputations were destroyed, and some survivors were so psychologically damaged that they took their own lives in the years that followed. Andrew Wilson brings to life the colorful voices of many of those who lived to tell the tale, from famous survivors like Madeleine Astor (who became a bride, a widow, an heiress, and a mother all within a year), Lady Duff Gordon, and White Star Line chairman J. Bruce Ismay, to lesser known second- and third-class passengers such as the Navratil brothers--who were traveling under assumed names because they were being abducted by their father."

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A Night to Remember

By Walter Lord

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"...a completely riveting account of the Titanic 's fatal collision and the behavior of the passengers and crew, both noble and ignominious. Some sacrificed their lives, while others fought like animals for their own survival. Wives beseeched husbands to join them in lifeboats; gentlemen went taut-lipped to their deaths in full evening dress; and hundreds of steerage passengers, trapped below decks, sought help in vain.

"...Walter Lord's classic minute-by-minute re-creation is as vivid now as it was upon first publication fifty years ago. From the initial distress flares to the struggles of those left adrift for hours in freezing waters, this semicentennial edition brings that moonlit night in 1912 to life for a new generation of readers."

Also available on audio, and it was transformed into a 1958 film featuring Honor Blackman and David McCallum.

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The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea

By Sebastian Junger

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It was the storm of the century, boasting waves over one hundred feet high--a tempest created by so rare a combination of factors that meteorologists deemed it "the perfect storm."  When it struck in October 1991, there was virtually no warning. "She's comin' on, boys, and she's comin' on strong", radioed Captain Billy Tyne of the Andrea Gail off the coast of Nova Scotia, and soon afterward the boat and its crew of six disappeared without a trace. In a narrative taut with the fury of the elements, Sebastian Junger takes us deep into the heart of the storm, depicting with vivid detail the courage, terror, and awe that surface in such a gale. Also available on audio.

On Film:
The Andrea Gail's struggle with a ferocious Northeastern storm is brought to life in the 2000 movie adaptation of Junger's book, starring George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg and Diane Lane.

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Dig This!

Wouldn't it be cool if even a few of the old stories were true? Legends say that giants walked the Earth, Atlantis vanished under the sea, and Greece and Troy fought a devastating war over a beautiful woman. Amazing, but true: all these stories are based on facts.

Archaeologists digging in China discovered the fossils of Gigantopithecus, a giant ape standing 9 or 10 feet tall. These huge but probably gentle apes died off 500,000 years ago. Traditionally, villagers collected their bones and made them into medicines. They called their finds dragon bones. Some have wondered whether pockets of the animals may have survived into later centuries, giving rise to the legend of Big Foot.

The Sea Hunters: True Adventures with Famous Shipwrecks

By Clive Cussler & Craig Dirgo

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"A steamboat goes up in flames...and down to the bottom of the sea. A locomotive plunges into a creek...and vanishes into mystery. A German U-boat sends an American troop transport, and eight hundred on board, to a watery grave...on Christmas Eve. Clive Cussler and his crack team of NUMA (National Underwater Marine Agency, a nonprofit organization that searches for historic shipwrecks) volunteers have found the remains of these and numerous other tragic wrecks. Here are the dramatic, true accounts of twelve of the most remarkable underwater discoveries made by Cussler and his team."
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Robinson Crusoe

By Daniel Defoe

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The subtitle tells it all: the life and strange surprising adventures of Robinson Crusoe, of York, mariner: who lived eight and twenty years all alone in an uninhabited island on the coast of America, near the mouth of the great river of Orinoco; having been cast on shore by shipwreck, wherein all the men perished but himself. With an account how he was at last strangely delivered by pirates.  Based on a true story.

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Ghost Light on Graveyard Shoal

By Elizabeth McDavid Jones

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In the late nineteenth century, Rhoda investigates a wrecker that may be luring ships to destruction on the Virginia barrier island where her father is Keeper of a U.S. Lifesaving Station. Includes historical notes on the United States Life-Saving Service.

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The Shipwreck That Saved Jamestown: The Sea Venture Castaways and the Fate of America

By Lorri Glover and Daniel Blake Smith

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Anyone interested in Virginia's earliest colonial history ought to get to know the passengers and crew of the Sea Venture. This ship was sent to relieve Jamestown's starving colonists but never made it. The survivors landed on Bermuda, known as the Devil's Isle, where their saga continued. Their story was the inspiration for Shakespeare's The Tempest.

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