In September 1857, the side-wheel steamer SS "Central America", carrying 500 passengers and tons of gold from California, sank in a hurricane 200 miles off the Carolina coast. Lost in legend for more than a century, its tragic story resurfaced in 1989, when Tommy Thompson, an ocean engineer, sailed into Norfolk harbour with over ten tons of ...
In September 1857, the side-wheel steamer SS "Central America", carrying 500 passengers and tons of gold from California, sank in a hurricane 200 miles off the Carolina coast. Lost in legend for more than a century, its tragic story resurfaced in 1989, when Tommy Thompson, an ocean engineer, sailed into Norfolk harbour with over ten tons of pioneer gold. Using oceanography, computer science and information theory to sift through historical records and penetrate the deep sea, Thompson's team had recovered, as "LIFE" magazine wrote, "the greatest treasure ever found". This book is a historical record of the initial disaster, rendered in chilling detail from contemporary accounts. It is a chronicle of the technological breakthrough in which deep-sea robots were developed to perform heavy, delicate and complex work one and a half miles below sea level. And it is an adventure story of how a team of scientists and engineers, the Columbus-America Discovery Group, battled massive storms, technological challenges and intrusive salvagers to find one of the world's greatest lost treasures.
Publishers Weekly, 1998-04-13 Enormous publicity surrounded the 1989 recovery of an estimated billion dollars worth of goldæone of the greatest sunken treasures ever foundæfrom the 1857 wreck of the SS Central America. Most of the publicity, however, came from media that, according to the author, "didn't have a clue what it was all about" and centered on the sensational aspects of the find off the Carolina coast. The story of the wreck itself, and the staggering effort it took to locate and recover the treasure, is the subject of Kinder's involving, fully realized history of the ship that amounts to a treasure in itself. He begins with a vivid account of the discovery of gold at Sutter's Mill in California, then seamlessly moves into discussions of everything from the ship's departure from San Francisco to nuclear submarine technology to the modern legal mechanics of securing offshore salvage projects. Along the way, Kinder (Victim) introduces the reader to a genuine American archetypeæthe eccentric Tommy Thompson. The inventor/scientist/adventurer, who led the decade-long "treasure hunt" (a term he despised) from start to finish, is constantly at the center of activity that involves not just finding a wreck 200 miles offshore but the juggling of investors, competitors, lawyers, scientists, a sea captain and an endless cast of cantankerous characters. The reader is thrilled by the thoroughness and intelligence of Thompson's planning and execution, as well as by Kinder's research and writing. This account of discovery, greed, technology and the elements makes for a splendid sea adventure. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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