Shipwrecks: An Encyclopedia of the World's Worst Disasters at Sea

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9780816031634: Shipwrecks: An Encyclopedia of the World's Worst Disasters at Sea
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Spanning the globe from ancient times to the present, Shipwrecks describes hundreds of famous and lesser-known nautical tragedies, recounting in detail tales of spectacular heroics and fatal disaster. Wrecks like those of the Titanic and the Lusitania are the stuff of legend, but what about the hundreds of others throughout history, their unique stories, their causes and their influence on maritime history? Shipwrecks documents many of these while offering dozens of entries on related topics, such as reefs, radar, storms and capsizing. More than just a catalog of the world's best-known maritime disasters, Shipwrecks captures the drama and historical significance of these calamities. Over 80 charts and illustrations highlight this fully cross-referenced and indexed work.
From among hundreds of shipwrecks, author David Ritchie has selected only those of particular historical, cultural and technological importance, those that have, among other things, shocked the world, moved nations to war and led to improvements in nautical design. Shipwrecks brings to life the most significant disasters in maritime history, from the wrecks of Columbus' Santa Maria and the Andrea Doria to those of the French liner Normandie and the British frigate Phoenix. Over 400 entries depict in vivid detail the captains, the ships, the causes and the casualties associated with these tragedies, making Shipwrecks a useful reference as well as an entertaining and educational one.

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In this large volume Ritchie (UFO: The Definitive Guide to Unidentified Flying Objects and Related Phenomena, LJ 1/95) lists several hundred shipwrecks alphabetically by ship name; vessels named after people are in last name order. The greatest number of wrecks he includes date from the middle 1800s to the 1940s. Specifically excluded are ships sunk during combat. Some wrecks are given page-long coverage and contain many colorful anecdotes. Other entries offer only the bare essentials of when, where, and how the ship sank. Ritchie gives good, balanced accounts of such controversial wrecks as the Mary Celeste, SS Waratah, Lusitania, and Titanic. He presents all sides and tries to tell as accurate a story as current theories allow. He also includes a chronology of shipwrecks and a brief bibliography. While no work could list all shipwrecks, his reference would be a nice addition for public library reference collections.
John Kenny, San Francisco P.L.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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