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Sunday, November 10, 2013

Sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald

On this day in 1975, the SS Edmund Fitzgerald sank during an intense storm on Lake Superior. In 1913, the "White Hurricane" was a massive storm that pounded the Great Lakes November 7-11. 12 ships sank.

So, today, we're looking at stories about shipwrecks. Annotations are from WorldCat.

    

Shipwreck by Gordon Korman. Six kids, Nick, J.J., Will, Lyssa, Charla, and Ian, are thrown together against their will on a small boat that will make a one-month journey on the Pacific Ocean. They have all been sent for different reasons. Luke is taking his only choice besides being sent to a juvenile detention facility for a crime he didn't commit. Will and Lyssa are quarreling siblings sent by their parents, who hope the trip will teach them to get along better. J.J. was sent by a movie-star father after he pulled one too many pranks. Ian's parents hoped to cure him of his TV addiction. Charla was sent because she was having an athletic "burnout." But these six totally different kids have to learn to work together to survive a vicious storm and a shipwreck that leave them stranded in the middle of the ocean with no food, no water, and almost no hope for survival. The first in the Island trilogy, follow it with Survival.

Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World: The Extraordinary True Story of Shackleton and the Endurance by Jennifer Armstrong. Describes the events of the 1914 Shackleton Antarctic expedition when, after being trapped in a frozen sea for nine months, their ship, Endurance, was finally crushed, forcing Shackleton and his men to make a very long and perilous journey across ice and stormy seas to reach inhabited land. Older readers will also want to look at Endurance: Shackleton's Incredible Voyage.

The Impossible Rescue: The True Story of an Amazing Arctic Adventure by Martin W. Sandler. In 1897, whaling in the Arctic waters off Alaska's coast was as dangerous as it was lucrative. And in that particular year, winter blasted early, bringing storms and ice packs that caught eight American whale ships and three hundred sailors off guard. Their ships locked in ice, with no means of escape, the whalers had limited provisions on board, and little hope of surviving until warmer temperatures arrived many months later. Here is the incredible story of three men sent by President McKinley to rescue them. The mission? A perilous trek over 1,500 miles of nearly impassable Alaskan terrain, in the bone-chilling months of winter, to secure two herds of reindeer (for food) and find a way to guide them to the whalers before they starve. With the help of photographs and journal entries by one of the rescuers, Martin W. Sandler takes us on every step of their riveting journey, facing raging blizzards, killing cold, injured sled dogs, and setbacks to test the strongest of wills.

    

The Tempest by William Shakespeare. A romantic drama about a duke who is ousted from his throne and banished, with his daughter, to an enchanted island. He releases some spellbound spirits who help him to undo his usurper.

Left for Dead: A Young Man's Search for Justice for the USS Indianapolis by Pete Nelson. Recalls the sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis at the end of World War II, the navy cover-up and unfair court martial of the ship's captain, and how a young boy helped the survivors set the record straight fifty-five years later.

Shadow Divers: The True Adventure of Two Americans Who Risked Everything to Solve One of the Last Mysteries of World War II by Robert Kurson. For John Chatterton and Richie Kohler, deep wreck diving was more than a sport. Testing themselves against treacherous currents, braving depths that induced hallucinatory effects, navigating through wreckage as perilous as a minefield, they pushed themselves to their limits and beyond, brushing against death more than once in the rusting hulks of sunken ships. But in the fall of 1991, not even these courageous divers were prepared for what they found 230 feet below the surface, in the frigid Atlantic waters sixty miles off the coast of New Jersey: a World War II German U-boat, its ruined interior a macabre wasteland of twisted metal, tangled wires, and human bonesall buried under decades of accumulated sediment. No identifying marks were visible on the submarine or the few artifacts brought to the surface. No historian, expert, or government had a clue as to which U-boat the men had found. In fact, the official records all agreed that there simply could not be a sunken U-boat and crew at that location. Over the next six years, an elite team of divers embarked on a quest to solve the mystery. Some of them would not live to see its end.

    

Nation by Terry Pratchett. After a devastating tsunami destroys all that they have ever known, Mau, an island boy, and Daphne, an aristocratic English girl, together with a small band of refugees, set about rebuilding their community and all the things that are important in their lives.

Overboard by Elizabeth Fama. Escaping from a sinking ferry in the waters off Sumatra, fourteen-year-old Emily fights for survival for herself and a young Indonesian boy, who draws courage from his quiet but firm Islamic faith.

The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea by Sebastian Junger. The incredible true account of the most extraordinary storm of the 20th century, this is the story of a tempest born from so rare a combination of factors it was deemed "perfect" and of the doomed fishing boat with her crew of six that was helpless in the midst of a force beyond comprehension.

What are your shipwreck must-reads?

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