Shipwrecks have captured our imagination for centuries. Here acclaimed historian Sam Willis traces the astonishing tales of ships that have met with disastrous ends, along with the ensuing acts of courage, moments of sacrifice and episodes of villainy that inevitably occurred in the extreme conditions. Many were freak accidents, and their circumstances so extraordinary that they inspired literature: the ramming of the Essex by a sperm whale was immortalized in Herman Melville's Moby Dick. Some symbolize colossal human tragedy: including the legendary Titanic whose maiden voyage famously went from pleasure cruise to epic catastrophe. From the Kyrenia ship of 300 BC to the Mary Rose, through to the Kursk submarine tragedy of 2000, this is a thrilling work of narrative history from one of our most talented young historians.
Dr Sam Willis is one of the world's leading authorities on the sailing navy. He is an Honorary Fellow at the University of Exeter's Centre for Maritime Historical Studies and a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society. He has consulted widely on maritime affairs for clients including the BBC, Channel 4 and Christie's. He is the author of several books on naval and maritime history, including the 'Hearts of Oak' trilogy.