The Wreckers: A Story of Killing Seas and Plundered Shipwrecks, from the 18th-Century to the Present Day

Bella Bathurst s first book, the acclaimed The Lighthouse Stevensons,told the story of Scottish lighthouse construction by the ancestors of Robert Louis Stevenson Now she returns to the sea to search out the darker side of those lights, detailing the secret history of shipwrecks and the predatory scavengers who live off the spoils Even today, Britain s coastline remainsBella Bathurst s first book, the acclaimed The Lighthouse Stevensons,told the story of Scottish lighthouse construction by the ancestors of Robert Louis Stevenson Now she returns to the sea to search out the darker side of those lights, detailing the secret history of shipwrecks and the predatory scavengers who live off the spoils Even today, Britain s coastline remains a dangerous place An island soaked by four separate seas, with shifting sand banks to the east, veiled reefs to the west, powerful currents above, and the world s busiest shipping channel below, the country s offshore waters are strewn with shipwrecks For villagers scratching out an existence along Britain s shores, those wrecks have been than simply an act of God in many cases, they have been the difference between living well and just getting by Though Daphne Du Maurier made Cornwall Britain s most notorious region for wrecking, many other coastal communities regarded the sea s bounty as an impromptu way of providing themselves with everything from grapefruits to grand pianos Some plunderers were held to be so skilled that they could strip a ship from stem to stern before the Coast Guard had even left port, some were rud to lure ships onto the rocks with false lights, and some simply waited for winter gales to do their work From all around Britain, Bathurst has uncovered the hidden history of ships and shipwreck victims, from shoreline orgies so Dionysian that few participants survived the morning to humble homes fitted with silver candelabra, from coastlines rigged like stage sets to villages where everyone owns identical tennis shoes Spanning three hundred years of history, The Wreckers examines the myths, the realities, and the superstitions of shipwrecks and uncovers the darker side of life on Britain s shores.
The Wreckers A Story of Killing Seas and Plundered Shipwrecks from the th Century to the Present Day Bella Bathurst s first book the acclaimed The Lighthouse Stevensons told the story of Scottish lighthouse construction by the ancestors of Robert Louis Stevenson Now she returns to the sea to search

  • Title: The Wreckers: A Story of Killing Seas and Plundered Shipwrecks, from the 18th-Century to the Present Day
  • Author: Bella Bathurst
  • ISBN: 9780618416776
  • Page: 454
  • Format: Hardcover
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    1 thought on “The Wreckers: A Story of Killing Seas and Plundered Shipwrecks, from the 18th-Century to the Present Day”

    1. Excellent book journey round Britain's coastline and investigates the reasons for wrecking cultural and geographical very enjoyable read and makes you look at the shoreline in a different wayIf you enjoy this read the earlier Lighthouse Stephenson's Makes history interesting without any dumming down

    2. This is an amazing Book.I brought 'The Wreckers' from the shop at the Scottish Lighthouse Museum in Fraserburgh. I had read Bathhurts previous book - 'The Lighthouse Stevensons' a few years ago and knew she was an excellent storyteller. Her research is very good, and her prose flows smoothly and is very readable.

    3. The title of this grand survey of nautical true crime presents an ambiguity right up front. Are wreckers people who cause shipwrecks in order to profit from them, or only people who passively take advantage of such shipwrecks as occur? In a sense, the entire book is devoted to teasing out the implications of that question. Bella Bathurst takes us round (literally) the island of Britain in this "Story of Killing Seas and Plundered Shipwrecks, from the Eighteenth Century to the Present Day," and i [...]

    4. Excellent survey of one of history's most notorious & nefarious criminal activities - and all along the coasts of the British Isles too!. Bella Bathurst investigates the truth of some of the more shocking tales of wreckerst far from blood-thirsty pirates in some cases!& puts them in their historical, geographical & moral contexts & 'seascapes'with tactful understanding & historical & legal depth. The sea must have its ownbut what it doesn't claime flotsam & jetsam of [...]

    5. Bella Bathurst, The Wreckers: A Story of Killing Seas and Plundered Shipwrecks from the 18th Century to the Present Day (Houghton Mifflin, 2005)While I was coming up with my Best Reads of 2009 list, I found that I'd somehow forgotten to write a review of Bella Bathurst's The Wreckers, the book which clocked in at #16 on that list. It's almost two months later, and I still haven't written that review. I finished the book back in October 2009, and I'm writing this on February 15, 2010. (Note: ther [...]

    6. I must admit I was hoping for a bit more from this book, it does attempt to cover the topic of Wrecking in Britain in some detail but I fear it is suffering (like so many of its kind) from a lack of material. The book contains alot of padding and some off topic issues such as Whales at the Natural History Museum which really have nothing to do with wrecking and were mentioned (I suspect) purely as a way of filling out another 30-40 pages. Unfortunately I think the book's problem is that Wrecking [...]

    7. It's hard to write a nonfiction book with limited sources and no way to properly authenticate what you write. But award-winning Bathurst (The Lighthouse Stevensons) seems up to the task, impressing critics with the thoroughness of her research (she interviewed 200 people and read travelers' journals and newspaper reports) and the spirited way she integrates surprising facts, entertaining anecdotes, and fictional accounts. They also credited her with striking the right tone between whimsy and sen [...]

    8. This is an engaging and well-written book in which the author's own personality shines through. It ranges around the coast of Britain in a journalistic historical enquiry into shipwrecks and wrecking, pondering the definitions of each - legally, illegally, in terms of folklore and reality. In places it can be repetitious or ham up the history a little too journalistically (and one wonders what some of the author's interviewees must have made of her descriptions of them!), but overall it is a lyr [...]

    9. I really like this book. The author strikes the exact balance between poetic description and factual recitation. She writes more about the history of "salvaging" than actual "wrecking" as such (stealing stuff from existing wrecks, as opposed to D-I-Y disasters). Each chapter focuses on a particular hazard, such as the Goodwin Sands and the Pentland Firth. The book has plentiful interviews with people actually involved in shipwrecks, which draws the past and the present into closer conjunction th [...]

    10. Well, the subtitle explains a lot. Wreckers "salvage" the cargo and more valuable fittings of wrecked ships, sometimes doing so within the law but more often not, especially when they don't turn the goods over to the owners and ship insurers. Darker are the legends of causing the shipwrecks in the first place, for instance by placing false lights to misguide ships in stormy weather. Bathurst has done a great job of compiling a vast amount of research and telling the stories but she is unsuccessf [...]

    11. From the cover and intro, I thought this would be more like the Disney movies about smuggling and people deliberately luring ships ashore to plunder them. But this was more of a historical treatment of the subject. I did enjoy how the author wrote chapters on different oceans and seas and how each has its difficult sections. I had no idea that there were shifting sandbars that often make the English Channel difficult to navigate. Also having read fictional books by Alistair McLean (many WW2 adve [...]

    12. I started reading this book with anticipation, having recently listened to an interview with the author. The interview was more interesting and coherent than the book.I struggled with the bad prose and found myself having to sift fact from fiction (although this is what the author herself professed to be doing).Bathurst does shine when it comes to interviewing her subjects. The stories these men tell are fascinating and I think that Bathurst would have done better to write a history of islanders [...]

    13. A bit anticlimactic. While terribly interesting from a geophysical standpoint, the book never lives up to its breathless promise. Bathurst documents some awful shipwrecks but most often just offhand accounts of "wreckers" nicking cigarettes and whiskey from doomed vessels. Even the legendary Cornish come off looking more like pub eccentrics than fearsome ship killers. A worthwhile read for afficianados of things maritime, but probably a snoozer for anyone else.

    14. This sounded fun and interesting on the jacketunfortunately, that's where the neatness ended. It was very dry and more of an editorial on wreckage law and such than acn actual compliation of accounts.

    15. I enjoyed parts of this book and it had some new and rather interesting information. the writing was not always interesting and seem to jump erratically or was it meandering

    16. Covers only the British Islands but is interesting. Actually, this is the second time that I have read it.

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