Friday, November 30, 2007

Book Review: "Shipwrecks, Sea Raiders and Maritime Disasters"

Donald Shomette's Shipwrecks, Sea Raiders and Maritime Disasters along the Delmarva Coast, 1632-2004 (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007) is a meticulously-researched anthology of, well, exactly what its title suggests it is. Drawing on archival sources Shomette offers vignettes of a small portion of the shipwrecks that have occurred off the coast of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. He devotes significant space to the American Revolution, several major storms in the late 1880s, and the German U-boat attacks during WWII, but Shomette also discusses many lesser-known events and happenings, and closes by outlining some of the great ongoing battles over salvage rights and treasure-hunting.

An impressive work, all the more so when coupled with the extensive list of all known wrecks in the region, which follows the text. Focusing on fewer wrecks in more detail might have improved the book, but the approach Shomette took works fairly well. Recommended for maritime aficionados, treasure hunters, or others with an interest in the subject.

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