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Not as good as...,
This review is from: Death of a Cruise Ship : The Mystery of the Mikhail Lermontov. (Paperback)For many years now, I have been researching the world's greatest diveable shipwrecks and the Mikhail Lermontov in New Zealand is easily one of these. She certainly has all the necessary requirements and is important enough for me to consider travelling to Picton to find out for myself. Before all that happens, however, there is never enough information on this or any of the other ships on my list! Consequently, I recently purchased two books on the subject and my review of `The Mikhail Lermontov Enigma' by Michael Guerin already appears elsewhere but only because I happened to read that book first - as did this author.
In all my reviews, I rarely (if ever!) suggest another book on the same subject might be preferable but in this instance I was left with the indelible impression that, having read Michael Guerin's book, this author need not have bothered with his own offering.
`Death of a Cruise Ship' by Tom O'Connor is poorly written and fails to grasp several salient points. As an example, all democratically elected governments have a system for ensuring sensitive official documents and files are locked away for a prescribed period before being released into the public domain. In the UK, this time frame is now 30 years although any Prime Minister may make an exception. I know of one where, much to my chagrin, Winston Churchill placed a 100 year restriction on what will likely prove to be the greatest maritime disaster of all time (the loss of the SS Lancastria in 1940!). My point being, 100 years or whatever, there will come a time when people will be able to study those files!
In the case of the sinking of the Mikhail Lermontov, however, this is not so. New Zealand's, Minister for Transport at the time in question was one Richard Prebble who used his authority (as a Minister - not Prime Minister) to place all the official records and other documents relating to the loss of this ship into the darkest corners of the country's archive system marking those documents "Never to be seen again!" Not only does that simple act suggest a cover-up reaching to the highest levels of government, Tom O'Connor fails to mention this simple fact - anywhere in his book. With Mr O'Connor being a journalist, I find that all the more unforgiveable.
Winston Churchill died almost 50 years ago and has been much criticised since then. Doubtless he will be criticised even more when other documents relating to WW2 are finally released. Prebble, however, comes across as a man of such insecurity, he fears such criticism - even 1,000 years after his death. Prebble's Prime Minister is simply weak for not getting involved. Personally, I find it wholly unacceptable that this author - as a journalist has not made a stand against such an unacceptable ministerial decision!
Easily not one of the best books on the subject and one where the reader will find example after example of poorly written text which brings repeated disappointment throughout the work.
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