Summary and book reviews of Ship Of Gold In The Deep Blue Sea by Gary Kinder

Ship Of Gold In The Deep Blue Sea

by Gary Kinder

Ship Of Gold In The Deep Blue Sea
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  • First Published:
    Jun 1998, 480 pages
    Paperback:
    May 1999, 255 pages

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Book Summary

A great American adventure story of the opening of Earth's last frontier.

In September 1857, the SS Central America, a side-wheel steamer carrying nearly six hundred passengers returning from the California Gold Rush, foundered in a hurricane and sank two hundred miles off the Carolina coast. Over four hundred lives and twenty-one tons of California gold were lost. It was the worst peacetime disaster at sea in American history, a tragedy that remained lost in legend for over a century.

In the 1980s, a young engineer from Ohio set out to do what no one, not even the United States Navy, had been able to do: establish a working presence on the deep-ocean floor and open it to science, archaeology, mining, medicine, and recovery. The SS Central America became the target of his project. After years of intensive efforts, Tommy Thompson and the Columbus-America Discovery Group found the Central America in eight thousand feet of water, and in September 1989 they sailed into Norfolk with her recovered treasure: gold coins, bars, nuggets, and dust, plus steamer trunks filled with period clothes, newspapers, books, journals, and even an intact cigar sealed under water for 130 years. Life magazine called it "the greatest treasure ever found."

Now Gary Kinder tells for the first time this extraordinary tale of history, human drama, heroic rescue, scientific ingenuity, and individual courage. Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea begins with a copiously researched historical record of the disaster, rendered in chilling detail with testimony from survivors and eyewitnesses. In a gripping narrative, the author re-creates the five days at sea in a rising hurricane and recounts the heroism of men like Captain William Herndon, the heartbreak of loss and separation for newlyweds like Addie and Ansel Easton, the daring rescue of women and children by a passing brig, and the eventual sinking of the Central America.

The book then becomes a fascinating account of the efforts of Tommy Thompson, the young visionary engineer who explodes boundaries of various disciplines---oceanography, computer science, information theory, and advanced robotics---to accomplish what everyone said was impossible: penetrate the deep ocean. Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea is a testament to the human will to triumph over adversity. It is also a great American adventure story of the opening of Earth's last frontier

Thompson's Interest in Exploration
Background

In the Summer of 1976, just having graduated from engineering school, Tommy Thompson went down to Key West to meet his childhood friend Barry Schatz, a reporter for the Miami Herald, who had just published a story on the infamous treasure hunter Mel Fisher. Tommy was intrigued with Fisher's search for the Atocha and joined his team for the summer.

Excerpt

That summer, after thousands of hours with their face masks down in the sand, the divers on the Arbutus had found nothing much more valuable than a barrel hoop. Yet they all wanted to be on the bottom, because as one put it, "If you're not down there, you're not going to find it." But more and more Tommy stayed topside trying to solve bigger problems and observing how others searched for treasure. He was more interested in why they couldn't find the Atocha than he was in seeing treasure, and as he watched, he got to thinking.

For two hundred years, fleets ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews

Ocean Navigator

Kinder's Book is an incredible minute-by-minute account of the ill-fated steamship, [the] Central America. . . .Ship of Gold is a fresh adventure story and exciting history.

Newsweek

What a yarn! . . . [Ship of Gold] only takes a few evenings to read, but if you sign on for the cruise, go in knowing that you're going to miss meals and a lot of sleep. . . . Kinder spins a tale as informative as it is knuckle-biting. Who knew you could have this much fun watching other people get rich.

Sailing

Ship of 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 suspense - Ship of Gold has that blockbuster feel.

Men's Journal

Engaging, worthy of the best fiction and enough action to shame James Bond.

Los Angeles Times Book Review

Ship of Gold is a marvelous tale, with generous portions of history, adventure, intrigue, heroism and high technology interwoven. . . . Gary Kinder can join Jules Verne, Bob Ballard and Tom Clancy in making underwater technology thrilling.

Publishers Weekly

Kinder's involving fully realized history of the ship amounts to a treasure in itself.

Kirkus Reviews

The truly fascinating tale of the first successful deep-water ocean salvage operation is a tribute to good, old-fashioned American ingenuity and grit--with a big dose of Titanic-like adventure to boot. . . . Kinder's well-told tale of the Central America recovery (which represents nothing less than the opening of a new frontier in the deep ocean) is one of the great scientific adventure stories of our times.

Reader Reviews

Jim

Awesome read
This is a fascinating story both of the sinking of the ship and the finding of the ship. An incredible tale of human endurance and perseverance. Cannot wait to see who they cast in the movie.

Farhi Israel

I read the book in hebrew, it was translated by: Li Evron.
I couldn't leave the book antil i riched the end.


Donald

At first, I thought that it would be dry technical stuff, but as I read the 507 pages in two sittings, I found myself wanting more information. I consider this an unparalled work of biography, history and technology wrapped around a compelling story...   Read More

Jeann Foerstner

My husband read this book first and just raved about this incrediable journey. He gave it to our sons and they loved it too.
I decided to review this story for my book club and out of 13 women only one told me she did'nt like it!
I found ...   Read More

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