Laurentic, Lusitaniaand Empress of Britain are of special Irish interest. Inevitably, the Titanic is included. It is clear that the salvage business is alive and healthy and that there is such material out there, to be found. There are fascinating mysteries remaining to be resolved. Was the gold removed from the Empress of Britain before she was torpedoed? A skeleton was found during a recent probe into the gold room – was a member of a salvage party trapped there in her final plunge? Were there paintings aboard the Lusitania? Unfortunately the stories are not followed further to give really new insight beyond that already published. Sources of information are not fully described so the reader who wants to discover more will be disappointed. The Lost Treasure Ships of the Twentieth Century is well presented and lavishly illustrated. It is a fine coffee table book geared at the gift market. The chapters are self contained and it can be dipped into in easily digested morsels. The Sterling differential makes it quite expensive.
Published Pavilion books, London, ISBN 1 86205 079 1, £25 Sterling
Research work for the famous salvors, Riesdon Beazley forms the base for Nigel Pickford’s extensive knowledge of treasure wrecks. His personal archive is used to provide the information for salvage expeditions even to this day. He has established himself as an entertaining author with the ‘Atlas of Ship Wreck and Treasure’ in 1994. This fine production reinforces his reputation. The wrecks are all modern since the scope is focused on the twentieth century. In all 170 ships, lost all over the world, are described. Wartime losses predominate and the most tantalising aspect is the description of the huge cargoes of gold shipped about during the wars to pay for munitions. As countries were invaded or reoccupied the gold moved ahead of the advancing armies. There is a comprehensive listing of British gold cargoes moved during these troubled times. This is accompanied by detailed information on the routes and methods of shipment. The stories of the
reviewed by Eddie Bourke