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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Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.



Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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