Before the catastrophe of the Birkenhead, (1852) codes of chivalry at sea in time of crisis were practically non-existent. In this book, Scott Corbett describes the disasters of the Castle and the Medusa in order to illustrate the incredible episodes of shameful conduct at sea in the nineteenth century. In the year 1852, after two and a half months of peaceful sailing the Birkenhead struck an uncharted pinnacle reef in South African waters, immediately endangering the lives of the 630 aboard. For the first time in history, the cry ""Women and children first"" echoed 'fore and 'aft as a disciplined crew and courageous captain worked to save as many lives as possible and inadvertently to establish a tradition that was to affect the course of future maritime history. Careful research has obviously gone into the re-enactment of these disasters just as sensationalism has obviously been deleted. The result is a fine though hair raising account for sea buffs everywhere.