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4.7 out of 5 stars31
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on 7 April 2014
This is something of a belated review for Shipwrecks from the Egyptian Red Sea because I obtained my hardback copy at a dive show in London signed by the great man himself back in 2010. At the time it was rightly voted Book of the Year by Diver Magazine and in my view set a new standard in dive book publication. I was interested in it because I live and work in the Red Sea as a dive professional where shipwrecks are high on the itineraries of visiting safari boat divers.

It was very clear from the first few pages that the research into this book was extensive and obtained over many years from a variety of sources stretching way beyond basic internet browsing. Many of the wrecks featured are British and depending on the type of ship or nature of its demise the records could be scattered all over the UK from Southampton to Kew and up to Glasgow covering Board of Trade enquiries or ship's registration details. Many of these records can only be obtained in person by visiting government archives, climbing twisty old staircases and delving through thick faded journals and dusty copies of 100 year old court hearings where details of collisions, sinkings, disciplinary action and other records are stored for eternity. In other words, Ned has well and truly left no stone unturned and his attention to detail and obvious enthusiasm for research shines through in every chapter.

That said, there is still a very good balance between detail and the human interest story for each ship. Not everyone likes to read pages of technicalities about the ships engines or structural dimensions and pleasingly this book provides just the main items of interest. Each chapter is a short story about the ship and its history, how it met its demise and what it's like to scuba dive on it. Every wreck is unique and so is its story with some that were bombed and others that collided. As a result the book is a collection of interesting accounts each with an appeal in their own right. Some of the more famous wrecks receive greater attention and coverage such is their attraction and interest to the diving industry.

The book is a quality hardback, professionally published and beautifully designed with photography that compliments the written content. By far one of it's best features are the illustrations by marine artist Rico Oldfield. These depict each wreck exactly as you would see them underwater.

Who would like this book? Red Sea wreck safari trips will set you back almost 1000 quid with flights. You would be mad not to add another twelve quid or so for this book which will probably give you ten times more information than the dive guide on the boat. Information about wrecks is sometimes sketchy. Much of it is simply made up or inflated to give greater dramatic effect in a dive briefing. Ned Middleton's book sets the record straight and lays down in print enough factual information to greatly enhance the pleasure and excitment that a diver will get when swimming through the historic icon shipwrecks of the Egyptian Red Sea. It is also great armchair reading if you are not a diver allowing you a glimpse of maritime history spanning over 150 years.

My only criticism is that it weighs around a kilogram so I suggest that if you don't want to leave your fins at home when flying off to Egypt then read it before you travel!

JK
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on 31 October 2006
It's not often a book grabs me by the throat in the way this one has. On one side of the coin I enjoy visiting Egypt's wrecks and have always needed a good book to go along with my trips. Until now there has never been a book worth talking about. Thought I had seen almost all Egypt's wrecks but now I know where to find those I have been missing. On the other side of the coin I have 2 young children and have been reading the tales of shipwrecks from this book to them each night. When the book was finished they wanted me to start all over again especially the story of the Carnatic. Can't think of any other book which might fill 2 such very different requirements for a diving mum.
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on 31 October 2006
This book is amazing! Packed with hundreds of beautiful photos and paintings, in-depth discussions of each shipwreck and definatly more than worth the money you pay for it.

The text is full of insight about shipwrecks we, as divers, visit whilst perusing our passion, it really is opening my eyes and making me pay even more attention to the things I am seeing underwater.

Fantastic.
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on 13 September 2007
I have dived Egypt's wrecks every year for the passed 12 years sometimes twice a year. I take photos and I read up all I can find to learn all there is to learn. Some of what I have read has been rubbish because the facts in the maritime museum are different from what is written in some magazines and books. Ned Middleton doesn't make mistakes like that because he checks his facts before writing anything at all. I didn't want to spend as much as £35 on a book when I thought I knew all there was to know about these wrecks but I was wrong because I hadn't even heard of the first wreck and I thought the Zingara was the Kormorant. I learnt something about every wreck I thought I knew and then some. The bit at the back with all those ships names is great reading. Gave me an idea for taking are club out looking for something new. I still didn't pay for it though, I got it as a birthday present. Best book I ever got.

Diver magazine described this book as the definitive work on the subject. I didn't know what that meant so I looked it up. It means authoritative, ultimate, perfect, best, classic, state of the art. This book is all those things and the artwork is something Bob Ballard would have been proud of.
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on 7 November 2006
Got my copy at the Birmingham Dive Show in October just 2 days before flying off to Egypt. Took it with me and they hadn't seen it yet. Could have sold my copy 20 times over at 10 times the price. Well maybe not quite but you get the picture. Any way but the end of my 7 day safari everyone on board had read it and the dive guide was using it for briefings. I won't meet a group of dive as excitied about a book in my possession ever again. Some guys were talking about photo-copying the artwork and framing it to hang in their houses.

This is one very serious book. Having dived the wrecks and read the book (several times already) I can say it is accurate and well worth the money.

I hope I don't have to wait so long for the next one.
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on 31 October 2006
I purchased a copy of this book just as soon as it went on sale. I was sceptical at first because so much rubbish has been written about Egypt's wrecks but I was soon put at ease. This is an outstanding work with so much information it is easy to see why it has taken over 9 years to finish it. If only all shipwreck guides were so well explained.

Ned Middleton tells us about each wreck in splendid detail. Commencing with all the information one would expect to find in Lloyd's register of shipping (or wherever), he then gives the reader a graphic account of how each ship came to be sunk. Finally he describes them all again but as they are found today as wrecks. On top of all that we are treated to the most accurate paintings of each major shipwreck as well as some historic photographs not seen before. This book leaves all other shipwreck guides in the shade.
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on 7 November 2006
This is an outstanding book. It is a beautiful book and one I shall read again and again. In my life there have only been a handful of books which stand out from the rest. This is one of those books. How sad it will be listed under scuba diving where fewer people will find it. Other will be missing out on a wonderful experience. I think younger readers, older readers, just about anyone who can read should read this book - and if they cannot read it should be read to them.

It reminded of the tales my father used to tell me of the sea when I was very, very young. Those were happy days. Reading this book made me feel happy. Reading this book gave me a greater understanding of what life on board a ship is really like and the dangers involved.

Thank you Ned Middleton.
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on 18 December 2006
Welcome to the new Egyptian Red Sea wreck bible. A big claim? Sure, but one that Ned Middleton has pulled off quite comprehensively. If you are planning a dive trip to the Red Sea, this book is an absolute must. From the accurate artists impressions created by Rico Oldfield to Ned's complete and painstaking recreation of not only the vessels last voyages but also full details of the history of the ships themselves and of course the all important dive details. Lavished throughout with superb underwater photography and whatever photos and documents Ned has been able to uncover from the archives, the book is a feast of information.

All the misdirection of other titles on the subject are completely laid bare and corrected, offering the reader the most accurate guide you can lay your hands on. The quantity of vessels detailed is second to none. Most books stop at the usual 'biggies'. Not this, you get 19 major players, 18 minor players and a list of other wrecks reputed to have sunk in the area.

Put simply, if you are a diver then this book is a must. It is the *only* guide you will require for diving the Egpytian Red Sea wrecks. If you have any of the other titles on the subject (I do have most of them), then do yourself a favour and buy this, the only accurate version on the market.
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on 7 November 2006
My comment is simple. If your into diving then buy this book because you will not be disappointed. If you've already been or are planning to go to Egypt (diving of course) then here are the answers to all those questions which have dogged us for so many years.
If your not a diver then buy this book and you soon will be.

The stories always were great but the way they are written here makes them all the more greater.
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on 31 October 2006
Far better than any other guide book I have ever seen and it's a good read as well.
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