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Skibet var ladet med guld (1998)

af Gary Kinder

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
1,1442817,710 (4.17)37
Om det amerikanske dampskib Central America's forlis i 1857, hvor 428 mennesker omkom. Og om bjærgningen af skibets last på mere end 20 tons guld i 1980'erne.
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Viser 1-5 af 28 (næste | vis alle)
Nearly a 5-star read. I subtracted a star because the last couple of chapters seemed to drag on a little too long for me, although still very necessary to the story. This is the true story of the sinking of the SS Central America in 1857, but really more about its discovery on the bottom of the ocean floor. You will get behind the scenes of all the troubles that went into this discovery. It's just incredible! The ship was loaded with gold and 474 passengers (plus the crew...around 600 people total) headed home from the years of panning and mining for gold in California. The first half of the book was 5-star. The Prologue, The California Goldrush, really sets the climate in America from 1849 to 1857 before the SS Central America set sail, bound for New York from Aspinwall, Panama. When they headed north to catch the Gulf Stream up the East Coast, they were caught in a raging hurricane for four days. The author did great in telling their story from the early 1857 newspaper interviews from the survivors. You really got to know a lot of the characters, especially Tommy Thompson, who was the key player and motivator in this discovery. I loved getting to know Tommy from his childhood to his college days. The back cover of the 1998 hardback shows a photo of Captain William Lewis Herndon, who went down honorably with the ship; the newly married Easton couple, who survived with the other 149 other people saved; the gold at the bottom of the sea; “Nemo”, the exploration vehicle; and crazy, brilliant Tommy Thomas. I'm sure Google would provide the same photos or more.

Although, I would really LOVE to see the sinking of the SS Central America as a movie, the History Channel has a 41-minute documentary on YouTube called, History's Mysteries - The S.S. Central America "Ship of Gold":
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzyHO4Obo78
What you don't see in the documentary is everything that went wrong with the exploration

On page 498, it says there was a book called, "Lady Lee's Widowhood", found in the luggage of John Dement. Goodreads has it and shows there are two volumes and was written by Edward Bruce Hamely. Maybe I will look into reading those later to see what they are about and why someone, a male at that, would carry this in their luggage.
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Personal connections to the story:

1. My 4th great-grandfather, William W. West (b. Feb. 17, 1802 – d. in 1856 in California) most likely headed west to California during the goldrush. The Lawrence family of Alabama shows he died there. Where they got that information?...I have no idea. But, their son, Silas Lawrence, my 3rd great-grandfather, left Maine when he was about 13 years old, ditched his father’s surname and took up his mother’s maiden name, Lawrence, and began a whole new family down south in Alabama. I did find in a book where there was a Wm. W. West who boarded the schooner “W.O. Alden”, and sailed for California from Bangor on Dec. 9, 1849. More research is needed to determine if this was my great-grandfather or not.

2. In 1986, Tommy first leased, for a few months, an old 165 foot flat-bottomed Louisiana mudboat, the Pine River, that he found right here in Orange, Texas, and had renovated for their particular use to carry the SeaMARC out to the sight of the shipwreck 200 miles off the Carolina coast, and where a crew of 22 men would reside.

3. While Ben and I were living in Charleston, South Carolina, and hunkering down for Hurricane Hugo to hit us, September 10-25, in 1989, Tommy and his crew were pulling up gold from the SS Central America. They pulled into Wilmington to wait out the storm, me and the kids hunkered down in a shelter closet in Navy housing, and Ben rode it out just up the river in a Coast Guard boat. ( )
  MissysBookshelf | Aug 27, 2023 |
Non-fiction account of the wreck of the Central America in 1857 and the search, spearheaded by inventor and creative thinker Tommy Thompson, for her wreckage in the deep water of the Atlantic Ocean 130 years later. The book is divided into sections, with the first focusing on the experience of the passengers and crew aboard the Central America, the second on the early life of Tommy Thompson, and the third on the development of the technology to search for, locate, and recover artifacts. Did I mention the ship was laden with gold acquired during the California Gold Rush?

This book is so much more than a description of a “treasure hunt.” It is one of the most harrowing accounts of a ship’s sinking I have ever read. The author has done an excellent job of reconstructing the events from source material of the time. Even though I knew the eventual outcome, I felt invested in the tale and was rooting for them to overcome the elements and stay afloat. This section was outstanding!

When we get to Tommy Thompson’s early life, it slows down a bit. It laid the groundwork, though, and I think was necessary to tell the entire story of the recovery. Thompson is a creative thinker, inventor, and scientist. At the time (1980’s) the technology to work in deep water was in its infancy and this book shows how Thompson developed a team, pushed boundaries, designed equipment, and raised funds to do what was then considered impossible.

The section on the search and recovery takes the reader into the wide-ranging disciplines required to succeed in this high-risk high-reward endeavor, including engineering, probability theories, risk management, maritime law, fund-raising, teamwork, communications, and fending off the competition. It also covers the history of salvage operations as of the date of publication (1998). This section of the book is for people that like details. Kinder sometimes inserts a bit too much technical jargon and extensive descriptions for my taste, taking away from his main points. The author also seems a bit taken with Thompson to the point of excusing some rather questionable behavior. Overall, though, if you are looking for “non-fiction that reads like fiction,” this story fits the bill. ( )
  Castlelass | Oct 30, 2022 |
In 1857 the steamship Central America, loaded to the brim with gold from the California gold rush, sank off the coast of North Carolina. 130 years later, Tommy Thompson, brilliant scientist and treasure hunter, put together a team and the technology to locate the Central America and succeeded.
The story alternates between the sinking of the ship and the few survivors and the modern story of locating the ship and the treasure.

Unfortunately, halfway through the book, I looked up what happened to Thompson to discover that his impeccable reputation (as depicted in the book) was in tatters and that he had stiffed his investors and was presently rotting in jail because he will not release or admit to having the funds from the sale of the gold. ( )
  phoenixcomet | Jun 29, 2022 |
A great non-fiction read about the search for and recovery of the USS Central America, sunk in 1857 in the Atlantic, about 300 miles off the coast of Virginia. The gold coins and bars recovered were the largest monetary recovery to date. ( )
  Tess_W | Sep 6, 2020 |
Very enjoyable book, though I felt it was overly long. It was a bit of a slog early on with all the stories of the various passengers. Same for some of the periods spent while Tommy Thompson and his crew were on the sea. Some deeper editing might have made it more enjoyable from that standpoint, but the author did a good job of conveying the feeling of being on the Central America in 1857 as well as being on the recovery ships in the 1980's. As I got deeper and deeper into the story, it was very hard to put down and stop reading. And I loved sharing bits of the story with friends. Tommy Thompson is a fascinating character, and an inspiring one as well. Also, learning some of the history about the 1849 California gold rush and the options people had then to join it was similarly enlightening.

It's a bit surprising that this book and its story have never been made into a movie. To me, all of the elements are there: interesting characters, history, a treasure hunt, good guys vs bad guys, legal drama, battles with the elements, and a good ending. Maybe some day ... ( )
  tgraettinger | Jan 5, 2020 |
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For Kristin and Lindsay from whom but a smile is worth more to me than all the gold on the Central America
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(Prologue) As was his habit each morning, James Marshall rose early to walk the gravel bar along his millrace to see if the water was yet deep enough and swift enough to turn the wheel for the sawmill he had built for John Sutter. (prologue)
The gas lamps of Havana cast erratic ribbons of light out across the harbor, zigzagging among the dark silhouettes of more than a hundred ships at anchor.
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Om det amerikanske dampskib Central America's forlis i 1857, hvor 428 mennesker omkom. Og om bjærgningen af skibets last på mere end 20 tons guld i 1980'erne.

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