A touch overlong but required reading for any maritime enthusiast.



In his first book to be published in the United States, famed shipwreck hunter Mearns (The Search for the Sydney, 2009, etc.) provides an engrossing collection of his most exciting undersea finds.

With stories that would befit an adventure novel, the author recounts seven of his dramatic shipwreck journeys, including a number of famed World War II ships (like the HMS Hood and the HMAS Sydney), a 15th-century vessel belonging to Vasco da Gama’s fleet, and commercial freighters featuring sordid histories straight out of a soap opera. Beyond the stories of the ships themselves, Mearns, a fellow of the Royal Geographic Society and the Explorers Club, shows how the life of a shipwreck hunter is itself dramatic and fraught with risk. “I have experienced,” he writes, “just about every emotion imaginable for a person in charge of such costly and technically complex adventures….Searching for shipwrecks is basically an all-or-nothing proposition, where you either find what you are looking for or go home empty-handed.” The chapters are only loosely connected, with little overarching narrative arc, but the author does well to keep his tales highly entertaining and understandable for lay readers. Mearns doesn’t ignore the necessary technical detail, but he smartly keeps it to a minimum. At the end, the author includes two ships he’d yet like to find, but one of them—the USS Indianapolis—was located in 2017. While Robert Ballard’s 1985 discovery of the Titanic remains the most famous individual shipwreck find (and therefore made him the most famous hunter as well), Mearns deserves a spot in the upper echelon of deep-sea explorers, not only for his work of finding lost wrecks, but also for his continued efforts, along with the oceanographic community, to map the entire ocean floor.

A touch overlong but required reading for any maritime enthusiast.

Pub Date: June 5, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-68177-760-3

Page Count: 416

Publisher: Pegasus

Review Posted Online: April 4, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 2018

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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For Howard Zinn, long-time civil rights and anti-war activist, history and ideology have a lot in common. Since he thinks that everything is in someone's interest, the historian—Zinn posits—has to figure out whose interests he or she is defining/defending/reconstructing (hence one of his previous books, The Politics of History). Zinn has no doubts about where he stands in this "people's history": "it is a history disrespectful of governments and respectful of people's movements of resistance." So what we get here, instead of the usual survey of wars, presidents, and institutions, is a survey of the usual rebellions, strikes, and protest movements. Zinn starts out by depicting the arrival of Columbus in North America from the standpoint of the Indians (which amounts to their standpoint as constructed from the observations of the Europeans); and, after easily establishing the cultural disharmony that ensued, he goes on to the importation of slaves into the colonies. Add the laborers and indentured servants that followed, plus women and later immigrants, and you have Zinn's amorphous constituency. To hear Zinn tell it, all anyone did in America at any time was to oppress or be oppressed; and so he obscures as much as his hated mainstream historical foes do—only in Zinn's case there is that absurd presumption that virtually everything that came to pass was the work of ruling-class planning: this amounts to one great indictment for conspiracy. Despite surface similarities, this is not a social history, since we get no sense of the fabric of life. Instead of negating the one-sided histories he detests, Zinn has merely reversed the image; the distortion remains.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1979

ISBN: 0061965588

Page Count: 772

Publisher: Harper & Row

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 1979

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