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Three Miles Down: A Firsthand Account of Deep Sea Exploration and A Hunt for Sunken World War II Treasure
     

Three Miles Down: A Firsthand Account of Deep Sea Exploration and A Hunt for Sunken World War II Treasure

by James Hamilton-Paterson, Kati Steele (Editor)
 

Somewhere in the deep Atlantic off the west coast of Africa lie two casualties of the second World War: a Japanese submarine and a British liner. Both were reportedly carrying tons of gold. In Three Miles Down, James Hamilton-Paterson recounts the thrilling search, code-named Project Orca, for these vessels and their awesome payload. In the winter of 1995, an

Overview


Somewhere in the deep Atlantic off the west coast of Africa lie two casualties of the second World War: a Japanese submarine and a British liner. Both were reportedly carrying tons of gold. In Three Miles Down, James Hamilton-Paterson recounts the thrilling search, code-named Project Orca, for these vessels and their awesome payload. In the winter of 1995, an international crew of researchers, investors, and salvage experts set sail on the Russian research ship Akademik Keldysh, determined to find and then recover the sunken treasure. It was an enormous financial and physical risk, for even if the vessels were located, they rested in more than 5,000 meters of water. No salvage had ever been attempted at such depths before-roughly 1,200 meters deeper than the Titanic's watery grave. In his daily chronicle, Hamilton-Paterson, the ship's literary stowaway, not only captures the peculiar personalities and the tensions on board, but shares the fascinating history of the sunken vessels and the extreme danger and technological complications of deep-water recovery. A brilliant account of a treasure-hunting expedition and once-in-a-lifetime voyage to the bottom of the sea, Three Miles Down is also a rousing tale of deception, greed, courage, and great beauty.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Hamilton-Paterson bewitches us with history, mystery and science. . . . The treasure junkie's summer read [with a] subversive sense of humor that makes Hamilton-Paterson so much fun.-The Washington Post Book World
"Hamilton-Paterson proves to be a chronicler of the intrigue among a crew of strangers, a font of lore about wrecks and deep-sea exploration, and a marvelous witness to the lightless wonders of profound depths."-Outside
"In Three Miles Down, [Hamilton-Paterson] moves beyond the typical adventure formula and gives us a story that lingers on people and place and on small, genuine curiosities."-the New York Times Book Review
"Exciting, perceptive, imaginative, articulate, suspenseful, brilliant . . . the best thing about this book is that every word of it is true."-Richard Ellis, author of imagining Atlantis
Outside
Hamilton-Paterson proves to be a chronicler of the intrigue among a crew of strangers, a font of lore about wrecks and deep-sea exploration, and a marvelous witness to the lightless wonders of profound depths.
NY Times Book Review
In Three Miles Down, [Hamilton-Paterson] moves beyond the typical adventure formula and gives us a story that lingers on people and place and on small, genuine curiosities.
Washington Post Book World
Hamilton-Paterson bewitches us with history, mystery and science....The treasure junkie's summer read [with a] subversive sense of humor that makes Hamilton-Paterson so much fun.
KLIATT
A well-crafted treasure hunt story is always a satisfying thing, even when (as in this case) the treasure-hunters seem to bumble around and in the end no gold is forthcoming. Part of the appeal, of course, is the thought of a huge fortune waiting to be plucked from the hostile reaches of the ocean deeps. In this case, the attraction is doubled: not one but two cargoes of gold, from a sunken British transport and a wrecked Japanese submarine. British writer James Hamilton-Paterson could not resist that appeal. Accepting a last-minute invitation, he hired on as the official historian of an expedition setting out to locate and salvage a pair of WW II's more intriguing shipwrecks. A British troopship left South Africa in March 1943, bound for Liverpool with 1,900 souls and a clandestine shipment of government gold. Torpedoed by an Italian submarine, most of her crew and passengers survived but the ship and its gold went down in the deepest reaches of the Atlantic. More than a year later, the large Japanese submarine I-52 was intercepted by the U.S. Navy in the mid-Atlantic and sunk while attempting to deliver several tons of gold to Nazi Germany. Besides their immensely valuable cargoes, the two vessels had only one thing in common: both lay somewhere in the abyssal depths, some 4,000 feet deeper than the Titanic's grave. Hamilton-Paterson's expedition proved to be no rinky-dink affair. The treasure-hunting syndicate had chartered a Russian oceanographic vessel to locate the wrecks, which would then be explored by midget submarines before actual salvage was attempted. Although it was reasonably well financed and led, the mission succumbed to personality clashes and the inevitablefrustrations connected with deep-sea operations at the threshold of technical possibility. Success came tantalizingly close, but in the end it was only the historian who profited from the entire episode. He tells the story well. Along the way, the reader learns a great deal about the intricacies of maritime law, wartime history, deep-water diving, and the niceties of life aboard an ex-Soviet vessel. Add a little first-person adventure, and the tale goes down very well, indeed. KLIATT Codes: SA—Recommended for senior high school students, advanced students, and adults. 2000, Harcourt/Harvest, 300p, 21cm, 99-049805, $13.00. Ages 16 to adult. Reviewer: Raymond L. Puffer, Ph.D.; Historian, Edwards Air Force Base, CA, September 2000 (Vol. 34 No. 5)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780156012713
Publisher:
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
05/22/2000
Series:
Harvest Book Series
Edition description:
First Harvest Edition
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.04(h) x 0.85(d)

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