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Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea [Anglais] [Cassette]

Gary Kinder


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Description de l'ouvrage

mai 1998
"White knuckle reading...with generous portions of adventure, intrigue, heroism, and high technology interwoven."
--Los Angeles Times Book Review

This enthralling true story of maritime tragedy and visionary science begins with a disaster to rival the sinking of the Titanic.

In September 1857, the S.S. Central America, a side-wheel steamer carrying passengers returning from the gold fields of California, went down during a hurricane off the Carolina coast. More than 400 men--and 21 tons of gold--were lost. In the 1980s, a maverick engineer named Tommy Thompson set out to find the wreck and salvage its treasure from the ocean floor.

With knuckle-biting suspense, Gary Kinder reconstructs the terror of the Central America's last days, when passengers bailed freezing water from the hold, then chopped the ship's timbers to use as impromptu liferafts. He goes on to chronicle Thompson's epic quest for the lost vessel, an endeavor that drew on the latest strides in oceanography, information theory, and underwater robotics, and that pitted Thompson against hair-raising weather, bloodthirsty sharks, and unscrupulous rivals.

Ship of Gold is a magnificent adventure, filled with heroism, ingenuity, and perseverance.
--Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

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Descriptions du produit

Extrait

Outside Battelle, Tommy was now amassing voluminous notes on underwater technology, beginning to formulate relationships with suppliers, and corresponding with historical archives at several libraries on the East Coast. For years he had collected information on deep-water, historic shipwrecks, and the list had grown to forty. He and Bob met more frequently, together refining what they called the Historic Shipwreck Selection Process and narrowing the targets to a project Tommy could present to investors. "We developed the language as we went along," said Bob, "the selection criteria for projects in general, and then we analyzed the risks involved with each ship."

They divided risk into intrinsic and extrinsic. Intrinsic risks were those inherent to the site: probability of previous recovery, accuracy of historical documentation, and the environment around the site. All deep-water shipwrecks scored high in the first category; most of them scored high in the second category; few of them did well in the third. Shipwrecks with a high total score then advanced to form a universe of "Feasibly Recoverable Shipwrecks with Low Intrinsic Risk."

Next, they assessed the extrinsic risks, those that had to do with recovery: Favorable Operational Factors, Positive Site Security, Legal Rights Obtainable. Is the technology available to access that site, can we guarantee site security in that area of the world, and do we have legal protection?

Once they had eliminated all ships but those with low intrinsic and low extrinsic risks, each ship had to pass a final test: Was there anything on board worth recovering?

The Titanic was a hunk of steel seven hundred feet long that would burn a hole through a sonar chart; even if it rested in mountainous territory, they could probably find it, and the abundant historical documentation would help them narrow the search area. But the Titanic presented two insurmountable risks: Her steel hull would be impossible to penetrate even with the technology Tommy saw on the horizon. And if they could get inside, she carried nothing worth recovering; some loose jewelry perhaps, rings and bracelets and necklaces scattered in various small cubicles, but no treasure centrally stored, nothing they could use to make the payoff attractive to investors.

"In terms of financial risk," said Bob, "the Titanic was not a good project."

Other deep-water ships presented similar problems. Myths had arisen around some of them that tons of gold lay stored in secure compartments. But no historical data supported the myths. In 1909, the British White Star luxury liner Republic had gone down fifty miles off Nantucket, and for decades, rumors had circulated that it had taken millions in gold coins with it. But no official records existed. "Sure, there were a lot of rich people on board," said Bob,"but how much was in the purser's safe? Nobody knows."

The Andrea Doria, an Italian liner hailed by her owners as the "Grande Dame of the Sea," collided with another ship in dense fog in 1956 and also went down just off Nantucket. She was a glistening seven-hundred-foot floating museum of murals, rare wood panels, and ceramics designed by Italian artists, and her passengers also were wealthy, but once again myth about the treasure on board sprouted from rumor with no documentation.

Tommy and Bob were convinced that the San José had carried more than a billion dollars in treasure to the bottom when British warships landed a cannonball in her munitions cache and sank her in 1708. But the San José was off the coast of Colombia in murky, turbulent waters.

After many deep-water shipwrecks were run through the selection process, the sidewheel steamer SS Central America rose to the top in every category. It had sunk in an era of accurate record keeping and reliable navigation instruments. Dozens of witnesses had testified to the sinking, and five ship captains had given coordinates that placed the ship in an area where sediment collected no faster than a centimeter every thousand years. The extrinsic risks looked as favorable: She had a wooden hull, which would be easier to get into, and massive iron works in her steam engines and boilers that would provide a good target for sonar, even if much of the iron had corroded and disappeared. And it was off the coast of the United States, so they wouldn't have to negotiate with a foreign government and they could more easily provide site security.

One other thing appealed to Tommy and Bob: the ship was American and its treasure symbolized one of the most defining periods in American history, that narrow window running from the California Gold Rush through the Civil War. If they could find it, they would open a time capsule representing an entire nation during a crucial period in its formation.

"The Central America," said Bob, "scored much, much higher than any other project when subjected to this selection process."

And her gold shipment was documented: With gold valued at $20 an ounce in 1857, the publicly reported commercial shipment totaled between $1.210 and $1.6 million. Although many of the Central America's records, including her cargo manifest, had been destroyed in the Great San Francisco Fire of 1906, some accounts estimated that the gold carried by the passengers at least equaled the commercial shipment. And the Department of the Army recently had confirmed a story approaching myth that had circulated for years: that the Central America carried an official secret shipment of gold destined to shore up the faltering northern industrial economy. The letter, dated April 2, 1971, acknowledged that the information about the shipment had been declassified, and it verified that secreted in her hold the Central America had also carried six hundred fifty-pound bar boxes, or another thirty thousand pounds of gold.
   --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

Revue de presse

"What a yarn!-- Kinder includes enough on the ship wreck to satisfy disaster fans looking for this summer's Into Thin Air and A Perfect Storm."
--Newsweek

"A truly great tale, cleverly organized and expertly written."
--Atlantic Monthly

"An old fashioned sea faring adventure, awash in time and vigor.... A ripping true tale of danger and discovery at sea."
--The Washington Post    

"Titanic tragedy meets Tom Clancy technology.... Kinder has lashed together a thumping good narrative."
--People

"White-knuckle reading, as exciting as anything...in The Perfect Storm."
--Los Angeles Times Book Review
  
"Engaging, magnificently researched--. A complex, bittersweet history of two centuries of American entrepreneurship, linked by the mad quest for gold."
--Entertainment Weekly

"Extraordinarily gripping--. Excruciatingly suspenseful--. An astounding and marvelous book."
--The Cleveland Plain Dealer

"Historical and technological reporting of a high order--suspenseful and deft--. A 24-carat sea classic."
--The New York Times Book Review --Ce texte fait référence à l'édition Broché .

Détails sur le produit

  • Cassette
  • Editeur : Random House Audio Publishing Group; Édition : Abridged (mai 1998)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 0375403469
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375403460
  • Dimensions du produit: 17,9 x 10,6 x 2,9 cm
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Amazon.com: 4.5 étoiles sur 5  280 commentaires
39 internautes sur 40 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 I wish there were more stars in the Amazon rating system. 19 avril 2000
Par Bibb - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
One of the best nonfiction books I have ever read, and it's going to be hard to beat. It has many elements tied together into one highly readable volume, I'm surprised this wasn't nominated(as far as I know) for any awards. The book flips back and forth between a historical account of the SS Central America's final journey, and modern day efforts to recover the lost ship. Gary Kinder's extensive research and subsequent account of the SS Central America reads like a high-suspense thriller. The recovery process is a lesson in itself, demonstrating what persistence, determination and innovation can accomplish. Impossible? To Tommy Thompson that word was meaningless. "It can be done...Make it work...There is a way...You just haven't looked at all the possible perspectives." Where most, if not all, would have given up, he persisted and found and recovered a ship that was sitting on the ocean floor at "impossible" depths. The sub-ocean equivalent of putting people into space, this story is not to be missed.
Tommy Thompson has since published a coffee-table quality companion book, that shows numerous pictures and details of what he found. If anyone has read "Ship of Gold", this companion book is not to be missed! (can't think of the exact title offhand, but just search: Tommy Thompson)
This book would make a fine movie. I don't think a page went by without anything interesting going on. As a matter of fact I'm sure that by now a studio has bought the film rights.
And finally, this is the first book that comes to mind whenever anyone asks "Read any good books lately?" and is one that I wouldn't hesistate to give as a gift. Great, great stuff.
23 internautes sur 25 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 "The greatest treasure ever found"--$1 billion in gold! 14 mars 2005
Par Mary Whipple - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Gary Kinder tells three spell-binding narratives as he describes the search for the SS Central America, a sidewheel steamer which left Panama in 1857 and went down in the Atlantic while carrying gold from California (then valued at over $2 million). First person accounts by some of the survivors tell of the ship's journey, the hurricane which suddenly arose in the Atlantic, and the frantic efforts of crew and passengers to keep the engines fired and the ship afloat. Touching love stories revealed in these accounts give human faces to the drama, as women and children were put into lifeboats while their husbands stayed with the ship.

These survivor accounts alternate with the narrative of the life of young Tommy Thompson, a phenomenally inventive child who grew up in Ohio, studied engineering, became fascinated by the challenges of underwater engineering, and eventually worked for famed treasure hunter Mel Fisher, learning what kind of underwater equipment was needed but not available. In the early 1980s, Thompson, more interested in research than in treasure, decided to search for the SS Central America, with the backing of a group he convinced to underwrite his expedition. As the ship was thought to be in eight thousand feet of water, deeper than had ever been explored, Thompson would succeed only if he could design the necessary equipment.

The third story describes the search for the ship itself, a search which had two false starts before the site was finally located. Kinder develops almost unbearable tension as he describes how Thompson has to fend off rivals who are "treasure hunters," rather than scientists. Thompson's experimentation with equipment, the comprehensive documentation of the site through photographs and film, the legal battles for the rights to the salvage, and the final recovery of "treasure" ranging from gold bars and coins to beautifully preserved suitcases of clothing are vividly portrayed.

A book with appeal to historians, engineers, marine scientists, adventurers, and all who pursue dreams, Kinder brings the entire recovery process to life, honoring the efforts and heroism of the Central America's Captain Herndon, the indomitable spirit of Thompson as he developed unique robots and equipment to explore the ocean at depths of over a mile, and the scientific commitment, rather than treasure-hunting, which inspired Thompson, his crew, and his backers, the Columbus-America Discovery Group. Gripping, and filled with the wonder of discovery, this is non-fiction at its most exciting best. Mary Whipple
19 internautes sur 21 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
3.0 étoiles sur 5 Two Adventure Stories in One Book 16 juillet 2000
Par J. Mullin - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
This well-research and generally well-written book tells two very different and equally fascinating tales, the sinking of the Steamship Central America in deep water off the Carolinas in 1857, and the efforts by Tommy Thompson to locate and salvage the vessel in 1989. Both stories are skillfully told, and for a book whose outcome is known by reading the book jacket, the suspense remains high.
First, the shipwreck. Anyone who, like myself, had ever visited the U.S. Naval Academy and watched plebes hopelessly trying to climb the impressive Herndon Monument will appreciate the true story of Capt. Herndon and his gallantry aboard the Central America, as he supervised rescue efforts to incredibly save the women and children in the deep Atlantic while valiantly remaining with his ship, laden with Gold Rush loot.
The other half of the story focuses on Thompson, a skilled engineer who managed to do something the United States Navy was unsuccessful doing, namely designing and building a workable, unmanned, deep sea salvage vessel. When one fully learns the difficulties presented in this task, and the monumental odds of even locating the Central America, the achievement becomes truly remarkable.
The book is not without its faults however. First, even though the salvage efforts struck gold in 1989, there were no photographs at all. I would've loved to have at least gotten a glimpse of the treasures brought from the ocean floor. ( I understand Thompson has now written a "coffee table" book which might be read as a companion to Kinder's book, complete with wonderful pictures).
I also disliked the awkward order of the chapters, in which, in the midst of the shipwreck when you can't put the book down late at night, the action suddenly jumps to the 1980's and Thompson's meticulous efforts at building a salvage vessel, before returning to a conclusion of the Central America drama later. I would have preferred a more chronological approach. And while I'm griping, I think I might have preferred a little less of Thompson's life story. One needn't know about his odd jobs as a teenager to appreciate his accomplishments later.
All told this was a very entertaining ride, and I am looking forward to getting Thompson's book to fill in the pictoral blanks. If Amazon gave me the option I'd give it 3 and 1/2 stars.
24 internautes sur 29 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 If you're reading reviews, then, yes, you'll like this book. 12 juillet 2000
Par Tom Gillis - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
I feared that this would be yet another nonfiction book that starts out like gangbusters (California! Gold! Sunken treasure!), then fades into 400 pages that should have been a magazine article. I was mistaken -- this is a terrific book that (amazingly) maintains the reader's interest all the way through.
As I write this, there are >120 reader reviews for this book -- I assume that they are overwhelmingly positive (they should be, anyhow), and there's little I can add to the previous effusive commentaries. I will add the following critical comments, which (in my mind) forced a 4-star rather than a 5-star rating: (1) I found an excessive level of hero-worship here. Perhaps it was deserved, but I'd rather get there by myself, rather than have it force-fed ("he's a hero! "). (2) The really huge news in this book was the development of deep underwater techniques and tools. Yet, this is treated almost as an aside (e.g., over the next 2 months, the underwater robot (which nobody had ever built before due to technological deficiencies) was put together). This, it seems to me, was the big breakthrough, not guys poring over sonar charts. It would have been great to hear more about this story.
These are minor issues. It's a fine book. Go ahead.
And read it now, before they make a movie out of it.
10 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A Book that Rivals the Tale it Tells 10 janvier 2001
Par Jeff Reynolds - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Gary Kinder chronicles the story of a young maverick, out-of-the-box thinking engineer in his efforts to use the recovery of a mid-nineteenth century shipwreck as a proving ground for his deep-ocean research ideas. Tommy Thompson is a tireless dreamer who never let an obstacle or the "conventional wisdom" stop him from focusing on his goal. Combined with this modern-day epic is the historical and human account of the original ship on its final voyage: who the passengers and crew were, why they were there, where they were from, where they were going, what the ship carried that made it such a significant event, and what happened in those final days and hours as the ship sank. Kinder has equaled Thompson's efforts with his diligence and attention to detail in writing this tale. He has taken the tedium of scientific research, investment capital and engineering physics and turned them into an edge-of-your-seat adventure! With every page I could not help but be in awe of the depth of research the author has put into this document. This book was given to me by my brother, who has a masters degree in English literature and who is a voracious reader. He described this as "the best book I have ever read." I have to agree. After 507 pages, I still didn't want it to end.
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