Come Hell and High Water: Extraordinary Stories of Wreck, Terror and Triumph on the Sea

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9781580801430: Come Hell and High Water: Extraordinary Stories of Wreck, Terror and Triumph on the Sea

Readable, entertaining mini-histories of extraordinary shipwrecks, some famous (Titanic, Kursk) some little known.

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About the Author:

Jean Hood is an acclaimed writer and historian. She formerly worked as Information Officer at Lloyd's Register of Shipping, and has published widely on maritime and naval subjects. Her work typically focuses on human stories of conflict and tragedy, incorporating eyewitness accounts and detailed research to cast new light on historical incidents. Her first non-fiction book, Marked for Misfortune, concerned the wreck of the East Indiaman Winterton. She is also the author of Trafalgar Square, Come Hell and High Water (published in paperback as Wreck) and the highly-praised anthologies Submarine and Carrier. Her latest project, War Correspondent, accompanies a major IWM exhibition and was published in May 2011.

From Publishers Weekly:

These 17 stories of catastrophes at sea demonstrate why shipwrecks have been a mainstay of literature since Homer's Odyssey. English sea historian Hood (Marked for Misfortune) begins with three mid-18th-century shipwrecks, all resulting from bad weather, bad luck, unsafe ships and incompetent leadership. Though the invention of radio, metal hulls, the internal combustion engine and effective safety regulations eventually ameliorate these problems, in this collection they only figure in the last two stories, about 21st-century Russian submarine sinkings. Except for the tragedy of the Titanic, most of these unhappy events have faded into obscurity; but in their time, the news of mass death accompanied by horror, courage, cowardice and sacrifice produced universal shock. Since survivors rushed to tell their stories, there is no shortage of documentation. Skillfully mining the archives, Hood produces a gripping narrative illuminating ship operation, nautical terms and historical context, so readers have a clear idea of not only what happened but why. But despite wonderful material and obvious writing talent, Hood relies too much on invented dialogue, internal monologues and short, speculative scenarios. Readers who can overlook those unfortunate interludes will enjoy a relentlessly fascinating series of horrific sea disasters. 24 b&w photos. (Apr.)
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