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Shipwreck: A History of Disasters at Sea [Hardcover]

Sam Willis
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
RRP: 20.00
Price: 17.88 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

7 May 2009

The discovery of shipwrecks has unveiled the remarkable stories behind the vessels and the lives of the people that sailed on them. Some, however, are shrouded in mystery, never having been raised from the depths of the sea: Henry VIII's flagship the Mary Rose, now on display in Portsmouth, offers an intriguing array of artefacts while Shackleton's Endurance still lies at the bottom of the Southern Ocean. Shipwreck tells the stories of 21 ships that have met disastrous ends. Stunning images of ships, wrecks, charts, and the characters involved, illustrate the stories behind each shipwreck. In the accompanying narrative, author Sam Willis vividly describes the history of world shipping, the advances in weaponry, armour and navigation, and looks at safety at sea both in the past and the present. He also considers the modern moral and ethical dilemmas of shipwreck hunting and the future of archaeology at sea. Both a striking visual record and a dramatic account of exciting events at sea, Shipwreck offers a compelling overview of more than 2,000 years of maritime history.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Quercus (7 May 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847247628
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847247629
  • Product Dimensions: 26 x 29 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 567,983 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

More About the Author

Dr Sam Willis is a maritime historian and archaeologist and is a
fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He is the author of the
best-selling Hearts of Oak Trilogy and the Fighting Ships Series. He
has consulted on maritime history for many clients including the BBC,Channel 4, NBC America and Christie's. Sam's work is coloured by his knowledge and
experience of seamanship. Sam's unique approach to maritime history and his vivid style of writing has led to him being described as 'A Nautical Tour de Force'.

Product Description


'The stories of these wrecks are fascinating and well told - even poetic. But it is what each tells us of the maritime world, naval history and the nature of warfare at sea that gives this selection its great interest and shows the erudition and intelligence of the author' Dr Oliver Walton, National Maritime Museum, Greenwich.

From the Inside Flap

Shipwrecks are treasure troves of the past, revealing remarkable stories of heroism and tragedy. They have intrigued us for centuries, capturing the imagination of artists and writers, and illuminating bygone eras for historians and archaeologists. Today, our exploration of shipwrecks uncovers the drama of seafaring, as well as the intimate details of life at sea. In Shipwreck, maritime expert Sam Willis traces the astonishing tales of ships that have met with disastrous ends. Bringing the events of the time to life, he describes the acts of courage, moments of sacrifice and episodes of villainy that occurred as the sea threatened. Complemented by 100 colour paintings, photographs and maps, his enthralling narrative also sheds light on the causes and consequences of each sinking and how, often, the discovery of the wreck has added a twist to the story. Fascinating anecdotes embellish each tale, including a sperm whale's attack on the Essex, so extraordinary that Herman Melville immortalized the event in Moby Dick. Here too are poignant accounts, from the engineers of the Titanic who continued to run the generators in the bowels of the sinking ship, lighting the way for passengers, to the terrible plight of the USS Indianapolis's crew who fell prey to sharks in the Pacific, an experience which still haunts the survivors today. Opening with the Kyrenia ship of 300 BC, and closing with the Kursk submarine tragedy, the compelling tales cover the fates of such famous ships as the Mary Rose, Shackleton's Endurance, the Lusitania, and the USS Arizona, as well as many lesser-known wrecks whose stories are of equal significance for both maritime and global history. Englightening, evocative and utterly gripping, Shipwreck is a beautifully illustrated history of more than 2000 years of nautical disasters, heroic seafaring and human resilience.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shipwreck 27 April 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If watching my husband 'devour' this book, I can only say CONGRATULATIONS on yet another Sam Willis triumph! I too found myself drawn in to the beautifully illustrated and well written contents - I could even become as interested in marine history as my husband - especially if the books are by Sam Willis, a truly amazing communicator. This book now sits proudly alongside all the other Sam Willis books on our bookshelf (all well read by both of us!). Only problem is that I think we have now read all that's been written by this amazing historian and await impatiently for more!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shipwreck. By Sam Willis 13 Jan 2014
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
An absolutely amazing book. All the information is here to describe these most horrendous wrecks.
The illustrations and photos are quite amazing. Certainly a must have!
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5.0 out of 5 stars wrecks 19 Aug 2014
This excellent pictorial book deals with important shipwrecks over the past 2,000 years from the ancient and dark ages up to 2,000AD.
Of the 20 incidents recorded the usual sospects are there- Mary Rose (1545) Titanic (1912) USS Arizona (1941) and the Kursk (2,000).
Details such as type of ship,construction,dimensions,propulsion,armament,launch date and fate are civen for most ships.
Very well written and researched with first class maps,illustrations and photographs where available.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A well put-together collection 1 Oct 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I'm no expert on maritime affairs but we all enjoy a good sea story. This is a well presented coffee table book which brings the terror of disaster on the high seas to the armchair reader. It covers all eras of naval history. Recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 25 July 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
as expected I am happy with purchases
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