SEA DISASTERS AND INLAND CATASTROPHES by Edward Rowe Snow

SEA DISASTERS AND INLAND CATASTROPHES

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Snow (Adventures, Blizzards, and Coastal Calamities, etc.) has gathered another 27 shipwrecks and sea mysteries from the 1600s to the present--in sketches that sometimes echo the source documents but more often smooth everything out into Snow's own bland voice. The opening anecdote--from a letter written in York, Maine, in 1642--briefly describes ""a most intollerable peircing winter that the like was never known by Inglish or Indian"": one fishing boat was so beset by the bad weather that it was driven onto ""Monhigun Iland,"" where all members but one froze to death. Also from the mid-1600s: first American scuba diver Edward Bendall, who invented a wooden diving bell (weighted tub with an open bottom) with which to salvage treasure from the Mary Rose, which had blown up and sunk in Boston Harbor. Plus: a 1766 cannibalism tale--about Peter Viaud and Madame Couture, who were shipwrecked and later killed and ate her young slave; an 1827 ghost yarn about the Maine murder of church-fund-collector Reverend Charles Sharply--whose spirit came back to drive murderer-thief Deacon Nathaniel Dickerman to suicide; and descriptions of mutiny in the US Navy, the capsizing of a steamer docked in Chicago (135 died), escape from a sunken dredge, etc. Sea biscuits and tall tales for undemanding adventure readers.

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1980
Publisher: Dodd, Mead