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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Book Review-Wreckers

Bathurst, Bella. 2005. The Wreckers: A Story of Killing Seas and Plundered Shipwrecks, From the Eighteenth Century to the Present Day. Houghton Mifflin Company, New York.

This book is 307 pages long with a centerpiece collection of photos. It is best read by those with an interest in sailing and maritime activity or for those interested and familiar with British history.

By far, the best aspect of this book is the author's discussion about the ethics involved with wrecking. She delves into the points of view of the wreckers, the vessel's crew, and the government officials. Each has a reason and an understanding of what goods from the ocean means. Each relates to a wreck in a different and unique way. The author captures this perfectly and manages to point out the less savory aspects of wrecking without either demonizing or heroizing the participants.

I did find the order of geographic regions confusing. It does not move around the compass rose clockwise or counter clockwise from North. It does not seem to be ordered based on severity of shipwrecks or infamy of the wreckers.

In addition, the general map that illustrates all of England could be clarified, with larger lettering or bold formatting for the specific regions that are covered in the book. And I found myself craving a separate map with a more detailed topography including both terrestrial mapping and submerged bathymetric mapping.

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Maritime Culture by Whitney Rose Petrey is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License