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Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea

The History and Discovery of the World's Richest Shipwreck

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


Ship of Gold tells the story of the sinking of the SS Central America, a side-wheel steamer carrying nearly six hundred passengers returning from the California Gold Rush, two hundred miles off the Carolina coast in September 1857. Over four hundred lives and twenty-one tons of California gold were lost. It was the worst peacetime disaster at sea in American history, a tragedy that remained lost in legend for over a century. In the 1980s, a young engineer from Ohio set out to do what no one, not even the United States Navy, had been able to do: establish a working presence on the deep-ocean floor and open it to science, archaeology, history, medicine, and recovery. The SS Central America became the target of his project. After years of intensive efforts, Tommy Thompson and the Columbus-America Discovery Group found the SS Central America in eight thousand feet of water, and in October 1989 they sailed into Norfolk with her recovered treasure: gold coins, bars, nuggets, and dust, plus steamer trunks filled with period clothes, newspapers, books, and journals. Gary Kinder tells this extraordinary tale of history, human drama, heroic rescue, scientific ingenuity, and individual courage.

From Publishers Weekly

Jun 01, 1998 – Enormous publicity surrounded the 1989 recovery of an estimated billion dollars worth of gold--one of the greatest sunken treasures ever found--from 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 archetype--the 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.

Customer Reviews


I enjoyed reading this book very much! It got off to a good start then I had a bit of difficulty staying interested mid-way as it drug on a bit too long with not much newness but then I couldn't wait to get to the final chapters to see how it ended. Being an electronic book I was disappointed that there were no pictures along the way to see what they were witnessing, that would of been really nice IMO.

Ship of gold

Awesome book. Very educational. Just a shame Tommy turned into a thief. Lost all respect for him

Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea
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  • $16.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Transportation
  • Published: Oct 20, 2009
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Seller: The Perseus Books Group, LLC
  • Print Length: 560 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings