The Tragic History of the Sea: Shipwrecks From the Bible to Titanic
By NORMAN N. BROWN
National Geographic Books)
Since men have been sailing, they have been going down with their ships - ships sunk by violent storms or by collisions with rocks or reefs, or for any of a variety of reasons.
Anthony Brandt has compiled 29 tales of shipwrecks - some obscure, some well-known - from the past 2,000 years in "The Tragic History of the Sea: Shipwrecks From the Bible to Titanic."
"The Portuguese invented the shipwreck genre in the 16th century," Brandt writes. Portugal was then a prominent maritime trading power, and stories of mishaps at sea were often published in cheap pamphlets and proved quite popular.
One notable Portuguese shipwreck chronicle from 1552 was published in English in 1735 as "The Tragic History of the Sea" [História Trágico- Marítima] and is included in this volume.
Brandt explains in his introduction that in view of the popularity of shipwreck lore and its worldwide influence on and presence in literature, he had to decide whether to include fictional accounts as well as true stories.