Gary Gentile Productions

Shipwrecks & Nautical History Books

Shipwrecks & Nautical History Titles


Andrea Doria: Dive to an Era

The collision between the Andrea Doria and the Stockholm has been the subject of unending debate ever since that fateful night of July 25, 1956, when the two liners met so irrevocably. Fifty-two people lost their lives, the Italian Line lost its finest ship, and one of the greatest sea rescues in history made banner headlines that turned the name Andrea Doria into a household word.

Today, the Grand Dame of the Sea rests on her starboard side in 240 feet of cold Atlantic water, fifty miles south of Nantucket. Since the time of her sinking, numerous schemes of hull salvage have been discussed, salvors have penetrated her darkened corridors seeking treasure, and photographers and film makers have captured her slow disintegration.

Chronicled in the pages of this book is the story of the Grand Dame of the Sea after she sank, from Harry Trask's first Pulitzer Prize winning photograph of the Andrea Doria sinking, through the various commercial salvage and photographic expeditions, to the author's many trips to the wreck. Covered are amazing feats such as the salvage of the bronze statue of Admiral Andrea Doria and the recovery of the ship's bell.

Peter Gimbel first dived the Andrea Doria twenty-eight hours after she sank. He returned five times during the next quarter century, sharing through pictures and films his fascination for the magnificent liner. His exploits include the recovery of a safe full of paper money, and en eerie penetration through the smokestack and motor room and out the bottom of the hull. These stories and more are covered in detail.

The author also recounts the highlights of his own expeditions to the famous wreck (now numbering 200). Over the years he has photographed and recovered china, glassware, unique pieces of jewelry from two of the ship's gift shops, and works of art which once decorated the walls. The latter are ceramic panels which were specially commissioned for the Andrea Doria, and which were created by the famous Italian artist, Romano Rui. These panels represent the best in Italian renaissance art.

The Andrea Doria is a ship that did not die upon sinking, but instead found new meaning. She is a time tunnel to an era of transportation now extinct, a remnant of bygone years of transatlantic service. She is a ship that will never be forgotten.

The book is amply illustrated with black and white historical photographs,as well as color photographs of the wreck as it appears on the bottom.

ISBN 0-9621453-0-0 hardcover with color dust jacket 6 x 9 vertical, 160 pages, 162 color photos, 23 black & white photos, $25.

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The Battle for the USSS Monitor (video tape)

When John Ericsson conceived his "impregnable battery" he had no idea that it would still be fighting battles a hundred years after his death. In the mid nineteenth century he struggled to have his concepts approved by distinguished industrialists mired in the past. But then came the War between the States, and with war always comes technological advancement and the adoption of previously unacceptable innovations. Word arrived in Washington that the South was building an ironclad ram that could destroy the Union fleet with single-handed impunity. Unwittingly, the CSS Virginia (ex-USS Merrimack) provided the impetus to goad reluctant Northern politicians into funding the construction of an ironclad opponent. Thus the Monitor came into being.

Then came the battle that forever changed the way naval strategists viewed warship design and ship-to-ship engagement. The Monitor and the Virginia fought to a standstill, neither ship inflicting significant damage upon the other. Each was invulnerable to the other and to land-based batteries. Nevertheless, by the end of that year (1862) both ironclads were gone: the Virginia was blown up by her crew to prevent capture, the Monitor foundered in a gale off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.

All was quiescent for more than a century, until the Monitor's badly deteriorated remains were positively identified in 1974. Within months an impregnable barrier was placed around the wreck site: a political artifice called a National Marine Sanctuary.

The Monitor's next battle became a legal contest: the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) wanted the ironclad as its own private research domain, the author wanted it open to the public for whom it had been established as a sanctuary. The controversy raged for six years, until the author won vindication in a court of law. He then led an expedition to the site and took dramatic underwater photographs that captured the Monitor the way it was in 1990--the way it will never be again. Then followed another two years of legal manipulations and lawsuits before the Monitor was finally opened to the public at large.

No matter how strongly constructed, the ironclad cannot win the battle against the forces of time and nature. Until its ultimate demise, the best we can do is watch the wreck as it collapses more each year--like a loved one on her deathbed--and remember the Monitor for what meaning it has brought into our lives: politically, historically, and culturally. Of these concepts the Monitor is an everlasting symbol.

This videotape is amply illustrated with black and white historical photographs, as well as color videotape of the wreck as it appears on the bottom.

"Noah gave us the heritage of the sea,NOAA took it away."

Videotape (VHS) with black and white dust jacket, $25.

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Deep, Dark, and Dangerous: Adventures and Reflections on the Andrea Doria

In 1989, Gary Gentile published the classic book on the Grand Dame of the Sea. Andrea Doria: Dive to an Era has been in print continuously ever since, and has sold thousands of copies worldwide to wreck-divers, armchair explorers, ocean liner memorabilia buffs, and the public at large. The book continues to be one of his best-selling titles.

Dive to an Era is still available. In that profusely illustrated volume, the author chronicled the complete story of the Italian ocean liner after she sank, from Harry Trask's Pulitzer Prize winning photograph of the vessel sinking, through the numerous salvage schemes, commercial diving operations, and photographic expeditions, to the author's personal exploits in the recovery of china, glassware, jewelry, works of art, and the ships bell - exploits that spanned fifteen years, from the authour's first dive on the wreck in 1974.

Deep, Dark, and Dangerous picks up where Dive to an Era ended. This volume covers another fifteen years of personal exploration of the wreck, from 1989 to 2004.

In these action-packed pages the reader will explore vicariously the deep compartments and dark passageways where danger abounds, anxiety is commonplace, fear is palpable, and death is literally a breath away.

In addition to the historic recovery of great works of art, the author recounts in exacting detail the slow but inevitable collapse of the hull, and examines the flood of fatalities that occurred in recent years.

For those who cannot or will not dive on the Andrea Doria, reading Deep, Dark, and Dangerous is the next best thing to being there.

The author also recounts the highlights of his own expeditions to the famous wreck (now numbering more than fifty). Over the years he has photographed and recovered china, glassware, unique pieces of jewelry from two of the ship's gift shops, and works of art which once decorated the walls. The latter are ceramic panels which were specially commissioned for the Andrea Doria, and which were created by the famous Italian artist, Romano Rui. These panels represent the best in Italian renaissance art.

The Andrea Doria is a ship that did not die upon sinking, but instead found new meaning. She is a time tunnel to an era of transportation now extinct, a remnant of bygone years of transatlantic service. She is a ship that will never be forgotten.

The book is amply illustrated with black and white historical photographs, as well as color photographs of the wreck as it appears on the bottom.

ISBN 1-883056-16-0; hardcover with color dust jacket; 216 pages, 69 color photos, 6 black & white photos, 4 deck plans, $25.

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Great Lakes Shipwrecks: a Photographic Odyssey

I have often declared that the Great Lakes possess the best shipwrecks in the world. The purist might take exception to this statement by observing that I have not dived everywhere in the world. The purist would be correct. I have dived on shipwrecks along the eastern seaboard of the United States and Canada, in the St. Lawrence River and Seaway, in Bermuda, in the Caribbean, in the United Kingdom (England, Ireland, and Scotland), in Australia, and in the South Pacific. This may seem like a broad representation, but in reality there is more of the world in which I have not dived than there is of the world in which I have. Nonetheless, I maintain that my claim is valid because I have read about and seen photographs of wrecks in the rest of the world, in books and magazines. The combination of my own experiences and these vicarious ramblings has led me to the conclusion that is declared in the first sentence.

What is more in contention in my declaration is: what do I mean by "best"? From my primary perspective as an underwater explorer, I define "best" as "the most spectacular to behold." Compared to aged saltwater wrecks, which have been demolished by deep ocean swells and by the natural deterioration that has resulted from the corrosive briny environment in which they sank, freshwater wrecks possess far more recognizable form. Most ocean wrecks are compacted, with little structure remaining and with few identifiable features. Teredoes and other wood-boring organisms have eaten the exposed wooden hulls and planks; ferrous metal beams and plates have been reduced to rusty, brittle components; the parts that abide are thickly encrusted with marine fouling organisms such as barnacles, sea anemones, hydroids, coral, kelp, and the like. By contrast, until the recent invasion by zebra mussels, Great Lakes wrecks may be so "clean" that the grain in the wood is clearly discernible.

From a secondary viewpoint as a photographer, I quantify "best" as "the most photogenic." Wrecks that are fundamentally intact (by comparison to their seawater brethren) offer a great deal more subject matter to capture on film. By contrast, interesting photos can be difficult to obtain on wrecks that exist merely as flattened junk heaps that are completely festooned with organic growth. But in the Great Lakes, shipwrecks are sometimes like museum pieces, exhibiting portholes, deadeyes, gauges, chinaware, legible name boards, even ornate figureheads. These are attractions that will entice any shipwreck photographer worth his "salt."

From a tertiary standpoint as an historian, some of the "best" wrecks are those that were yesteryear's most tragic. Their fascination lies in their sad sagas of shipwreck and survival, dramatic rescues, and the melancholy circumstances of impending death. Furthermore, many Great Lakes wrecks are historic by dint of their age and methods of construction. The diversity of shipwreck types is clearly substantial, so that anyone interested in the structure of vessels and their evolution will find a wealth of material to study.

The shipwrecks depicted in the pages of this volume are the ones that have impressed me the most, in accordance with the criteria given above.

ISBN 1-883056-13-6, hardcover, large format 8 1/2 x 11, 112 pages, 450 gorgeous photos, $30

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The Fuhrer's U-boats in American Waters

This is the sordid chronicle of the U-boat war against merchant shipping along the American eastern seaboard in World War Two.

Between January 14, 1942 and May 5, 1945, the Nazi war machine sank 120 vessels and caused the deaths of more than 2,400 men, women, and children, in an area from Maine to Florida that was designated as the Eastern Sea Frontier. For more than three years, German U-boats torpedoed ships, shelled survivors, and laid mines in harbor approaches. Today, the valiant tribulations of the men of the merchant marine are largely forgotten. Yet these unsung heroes suffered a greater percentage of fatalities than any of the armed services except for the Marine Corps.

The present volume vividly captures the dramatic saga of a time when passengers and crew were cast adrift at sea: some to suffer the privations of cold or heat, thirst and hunger; others to die from exposure or dehydration; and some whose fates were never ascertained. These trenchant stories of survival are ripe with endurance, heroism, and uncommon valor.

Tales of bitter agony are told through the actual testimony of the people who lived to sail another sea, to deliver another cargo, to fight another day, in their unflagging effort to halt the progress of German aggression. Against all odds, the tankers and freighters that comprised the lifeblood of ocean-going commerce proceeded knowingly into a battle that was not theirs to fight - but a battle that they fought nevertheless.

Also told is the demise of a dozen U-boats that failed to complete their missions of destruction.

ISBN 1-883056-26-8, softcover 5 x 8 vertical, 408 pages, color cover, 23 black & white photos, $25.

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Ironclad Legacy: Battles of the USS Monitor

When John Ericsson conceived his "impregnable battery" he had no idea that it would still be fighting battles a hundred years after his death. In the mid nineteenth century he struggled to have his concepts approved by distinguished industrialists mired in the past. But then came the War between the States, and with war always comes technological advancement and the adoption of previously unacceptable innovations. Word arrived in Washington that the South was building an ironclad ram that could destroy the Union fleet with single-handed impunity. Unwittingly, the CSS Virginia (ex-USS Merrimack) provided the impetus to goad reluctant Northern politicians into funding the construction of an ironclad opponent. Thus the Monitor came into being.

Then came the battle that forever changed the way naval strategists viewed warship design and ship-to-ship engagement. The Monitor and the Virginia fought to a standstill, neither ship inflicting significant damage upon the other. Each was invulnerable to the other and to land-based batteries. Nevertheless, by the end of that year (1862) both ironclads were gone: the Virginia was blown up by her crew to prevent capture, the Monitor foundered in a gale off Cape Hatteras, North Carolina.

All was quiescent for more than a century, until the Monitor's badly deteriorated remains were positively identified in 1974. Within months an impregnable barrier was placed around the wreck site: a political artifice called a National Marine Sanctuary.

The Monitor's next battle became a legal contest: the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) wanted the ironclad as its own private research domain, the author wanted it open to the public for whom it had been established as a sanctuary. The controversy raged for six years, until the author won vindication in a court of law. He then led an expedition to the site and took dramatic underwater photographs that captured the Monitor the way it was in 1990--the way it will never be again.

No matter how strongly constructed, the ironclad cannot win the battle against the forces of time and nature. Until its ultimate demise, the best we can do is watch the wreck as it collapses more each year--like a loved one on her deathbed--and remember the Monitor for what meaning it has brought into our lives: politically, historically, and culturally. Of these concepts the Monitor is an everlasting symbol.

The book is amply illustrated with black and white historical photographs,as well as color photographs of the wreck as it appears on the bottom.

"Noah gave us the heritage of the sea, NOAA took it away."

ISBN 0-9621453-8-6 hardcover with color dust jacket 6 x 9 vertical, 280 pages, 43 color photos, 66 black & white photos. $25.

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The Kaiser's U-boats in American Waters

When the Fuhrer sent U-boats to American waters in World War Two, he was repeating a strategy that the Kaiser had tried a generation earlier. Long neglected in the annals of military history is the first attempt to employ a fleet of undersea warships to help achieve world domination. While the Kaiser's surface navy was as ineffective against his enemies as the Fuhrer's surface navy, his use of German submarines, or U-boats, afforded a tactical advantage that was unprecedented in naval warfare. The KaiserÂ’'s unterseeboote took a great toll on the world's merchant vessels.

This volume is the first of its kind to compare Allied action reports with the deck logs and war diaries of German submarine commanders. These bipolar sources permit a true and accurate assessment of U-boat efficacy, while dispelling erroneous notions about the impact of submarine warfare against staunch American defenders.

U-boats torpedoed and shelled harmless fishing vessels, plodding windjammers, and unarmed steamships. They laid mines off U.S. harbor approaches. They left sailors stranded hundreds of miles from shore without adequate food and water. They killed men and women indiscriminately. They took prisoners of war.

One U-boat lobbed shells onto a beach on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. This was the first time since the War of 1812 that a foreign country attacked the American mainland.

This is the trenchant story of U-boat aggression and American defiance in the Great War of atrocities, when people perished at sea or suffered incredible privation in their struggle to survive. This book is a prequel to The Fuhrer's U-boats in American Waters.

ISBN 1-883056-40-3, softcover with color covers 382 pages, 67 black & white photos, $25.

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The Lusitania Controversies: Atrocity of War and a Wreck-Diving History (Book One)

The Lusitania is one of the most notorious shipwrecks in seafaring history, not only because of the circumstances of her sinking - the result of a German torpedo - or because of the enormous loss of life that resulted, but because the wreck has come to symbolize what is achievable in the realm of underwater exploration.

These two volumes tread all new ground - and water. The untold story that you will read in the pages of these books you will not have read before. The Lusitania Controversies begins with the construction of the largest liner afloat at the time of her launching, in 1907. The story proceeds swiftly into war, then takes the reader on a breathtaking sweep through wreck-diving history - from its meager beginnings in the 1950's to the epic-making mixed-gas diving expedition in 1994 - and beyond.

The Lusitania Controversies is also an intense, action packed autobiography of the world's foremost shipwreck explorer.

Book One covers the ship's career and loss, analyzes the controversial aftermath, explodes the myth of conspiracy, examines the impact that the sinking made on history, and recounts the early attempts to salvage and dive on the twisted, rusted remains. Following the historical narrative is a fascinating look at the early days of wreck-diving: when basic scuba certifications did not yet exist, when numerous wrecks lay waiting to be discovered, when decompression was a little understood concept, when pony bottles and decompression reels were invented, when original wreck-diving techniques were developed and particular skills honed.

This is not a documentary but an adventure tale that is full of drama: from the war torn jungles of Vietnam to the deep dark depths of the Mud Hole. Here there is tragedy as well as triumph, death contrasted to hairsbreadth escapes, and events of great importance in the refinement of a specialized activity. This face-paced story will keep you on the edge of your seat and wishing there were more. Book One pauses at the end of the 1970's.

ISBN 1-883056-06-3, hardcover 6 x 9 vertical, 312 pages, color dust jacket, 47 color photos, 34 black & white photos, $25.

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The Lusitania Controversies: Dangerous Descents into Shipwrecks and Law (Book Two)

The Lusitania is one of the most notorious shipwrecks in seafaring history, not only because of the circumstances of her sinking - the result of a German torpedo - or because of the enormous loss of life that resulted, but because the wreck has come to symbolize what is achievable in the realm of underwater exploration.

These two volumes tread all new ground - and water. The untold story that you will read in the pages of these books you will not have read before. The Lusitania Controversies begins with the construction of the largest liner afloat at the time of her launching, in 1907. The story proceeds swiftly into war, then takes the reader on a breathtaking sweep through wreck-diving history - from its meager beginnings in the 1950's to the epic-making mixed-gas diving expedition in 1994 - and beyond.

The Lusitania Controversies is also an intense, action packed autobiography of the world's foremost shipwreck explorer.

Book Two begins where Book One ends: at the start of the 1980's - the decade of the Doria.

The Andrea Doria is synonymous with deep wreck-diving. Lying at a depth of 240 feet in unpredictable waters, it has attracted dedicated wreck-divers from around the world, and has been the site of some truly amazing feats and incredible penetrations into cold and utter darkness.

Elsewhere, the 1980's saw the expansion of shipwreck discovery and the exploration of wrecks that present more challenges than the Doria: wrecks such as the Civil War ironclad Monitor and the battleship Washington. Eventually, intrepid underwater explorers exceeded the productive depth limitation for breathing air. Nitrogen narcosis, lengthy decompression, and oxygen toxicity forced divers to experiment with alternative breathing mixtures that obviated the hazards induced by air at depth. Blends of helium and oxygen extended the depth range beyond 300 feet. The true test occurred in 1990, with the author's successful dive to the German battleship Ostfriesland, at 380 feet. This pioneering venture and others that followed paved the way for the high-tech, mixed-gas diving expedition to the Lusitania in 1994, in which the author participated.

Book Two describes all these expeditions in detail, as well as the dispute over the Lusitania's legal status: a culmination that is every bit as exciting as the adventures under water.

ISBN 1-883056-07-1, hardcover 6 x 9 vertical, over 300 pages, color dust jacket, color and black and white photos, $25.

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The Nautical Cyclopedia

This book is a compendium of facts, data, definitions, descriptions, information, and trivial knowledge about ships, boats, and man's commercial and recreational involvement with the sea. More than a simple dictionary of words, this volume is a blend of terms and phrases used by marine architects, ship building consultants, naval personnel, merchant seamen, oceanographers, and the like.

Unlike technical works compiled for those who are already experts in the industry, The Nautical Cyclopedia tells it like it is, in plain English, using language which the average reader can understand, and drawing analogies from everyday life in order to establish a visual field of reference. Also included are alternative spellings, proper pronunciations, usage examples, synonyms, antonyms, and comparatives. Thus a bulkhead is compared to a wall, a deck is called a floor, a ladder is equivalent to a staircase, a porthole is defined as a window, and metacentric height . . . well, not everything can be described in everyday terms.

Arranged alphabetically, and fully cross-referenced for ease in locating relative terms that are part of the explanation, many terms are illustrated from the author's store of photographs, many of which were taken on sunken ships in a variety of underwater environments, thus adding a new dimension to the written meaning.

The Nautical Cyclopedia is the book for those who are gripped by the lore of the sea, divers, history buffs, armchair explorers, ship enthusiasts, readers of nautical tales, and people of all ages. This handy reference manual is an indispensable guide through the esoteric terminology of the mariner's trade.

ISBN 1-883056-01-2 softcover with color covers 6 x 9 vertical, 136 pages, 133 color photos, 30 black & white photos, $20.

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The Great Navy Wreck Scam - Being a History of Double Dealing, Double Standards, and Unethical Actions

The U.S. Navy is seeking legislation that will grant it control of more than 17,000 wrecks worldwide: from the halls of Montezuma to the shores of Tripoli. If this Act is passed, divers will no longer be able to dive on these wrecks, and anglers will no longer be allowed to fish on them. And not only shipwrecks, but ditched and crashed aircraft.

Wreck-diving and wreck-fishing will then be activities of the past, when America was the land of the free and the home of the brave. The underwater America of the future will belong almost exclusively to a handful of civilian staff members who are paid for their unarmed robbery by the U.S. Navy.

The purpose of this book is to alert American citizens about this wholesale annexation of public property, whose unlawful seizure is not in their best interests. The only people who will benefit by this misappropriation will be the self-appointed controllers, and those sycophants they select to help them in their ongoing program of creeping jurisdiction.

By documenting the manner in which the Navy has mistreated shipwrecks and citizens in the past, the current generation will understand the kind of treatment that will be forthcoming if the Navy takes absolute control of these abandoned derelicts.

By way of example, I discovered a long lost minesweeper in 2007. I identified the wreck by means of historical research, location, and physical layout. I conducted a thorough examination of the remains, and took photographs of its most salient features.

I published the results of his survey work in 2008. When the Navy learned about the discovery, it dispatched a team of Navy divers to demolish the wreck - a job that they did with spectacular relish and efficiency. They literally blew the wreck to smithereens with explosives.

So much for historic preservation. So much for naval history and heritage.

Now the Navy wants to "preserve" (read "control") thousands of additional shipwrecks. This book looks past the facade: the false image that the Navy has placed before the American people. It will show how the Navy has concealed and manipulated the dispersal of public information to the public. It will disclose the truth about the Navy's shipwreck shenanigans. And it will reveal the dark design that lurks inside the emperor's new clothes.

Readers won't have to track down the proposed legislation or interpret its dire consequences. In order to keep my readers fully informed, appendices include the text of all the Navy's wreck-controlling legislation, including the last-minute rider that was slipped into the 2005 military appropriations bill, as well as the full text of the newly proposed legislation.

The legislative text is thoroughly parsed so that readers will understand how the Navy intends to prevent diving and ban fishing on all Navy-controlled wrecks, while letting those wrecks rot and rust and dissolve into nothingness, leaving future generations uninformed about their naval heritage.

ISBN 1-883056-51-9 softcover with color covers, 5 by 8 vertical, 330 pages, 6 color photos, 58 black and white photos, 1 map, $20.

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NOAA's Ark: Rise of the Fourth Reich

The title says it all. The subtitle leaves nothing to the imagination.

As the cover text clearly denotes, this book is a history of outright lies, deceptive practices, and gross administrative abuses that have been perpetrated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration throughout its existence. Most of the book focuses on the National Marine Sanctuaries Program, but fraudulent activities in other NOAA agencies are covered as well: past as well as present.

The narrative starts with the Civil War ironclad warship Monitor, which was designated unlawfully as the first National Marine Sanctuary. A brief account of four federal lawsuits, which ultimately led to Congress forcing NOAA to permit public access to the site, is followed by NOAA's recent scheme to expand the boundaries of the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary in order to annex every shipwreck off the coast of North Carolina - and beyond.

The Stellwagen Bank Robbery relates NOAA's plot to expand the Stellwagen Bank NMS to include all the fishing waters off the State of Massachusetts. This expansion goes hand in hand with NOAA's sordid history of preying upon commercial anglers by citing them with exorbitant fines for alleged violations that were never proven in court - and then using the proceeds as perquisites for NOAA's law enforcement personnel: personal credit cards, free vehicles, and around-the-world all-expenses-paid junkets for NOAA's judges and prosecutors.

NOAA representatives have knowingly misled the public at so-called scoping meetings. Worse, they have deceived and lied to Congress by submitting false and distorted information in various action plans: all of which are designed to increase NOAA's authority and submerged land holdings.

NOAA wants to expand the boundaries of its West Coast sanctuaries to create a huge conglomerate that will control all the waters off the State of California - and beyond.

If NOAA gets its way, public access to National Marine Sanctuaries will be either disallowed or severely restricted. Prohibitions against sport-fishing and recreational diving will result in economic catastrophe as charter boats, dive shops, tackle shops, restaurants, and motels are forced out of business by the loss of tourism.

NOAA's plans for expansion are unlimited. NOAA is a juggernaut that is totally out of control. This is NOAA's story.

ISBN 1-883056-47-0, softcover with color covers, 260 pages, $20.

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Shadow Divers Exposed: The Real Saga of the U-869

The U-869 was one of more than 1,200 U-boats that were constructed for the Nazi war machine. It was sunk off the American eastern seaboard by a combination hedgehog and depth-charge attack. There were no survivors to tell the tragic tale.

Now, for the first time, the real saga of the U-869 can be told in full. Archival documents have established that the U-boat was sunk by two American destroyer escorts. Seven crew members of those aggressive warships have supplemented the official record with their personal recollections.

Shadow Divers Exposed works on a multitude of levels. It presents the actual circumstances that surrounded the loss of the U-869. It puts the discovery of the U-869 into perspective with other U-boats that have been found in American waters. It provides an overview of the U-boat war through accounts of other U-boat losses. And it corrects some of the gross errors, wild exaggerations, and deliberate distortions that filled the pages of Shadow Divers.

The author interviewed a number of witnesses whose testimony contradicted the theatrical plot and boastful embellishments that formed the essential ingredients of Shadow Divers. Some of these witnesses actually performed the deeds for which the chosen protagonists of Shadow Divers were given credit. These witnesses disputed many of the fictitious elements that ran rampant through the pages of Shadow Divers.

By means of forensic analyses of shipwreck collapse, torpedo mechanics, and U-boat survivors accounts, the present volume explains why the U-869 could not have been sunk by a circular run of its own torpedo - as Shadow Divers had its uninformed readers believe.

ISBN 1-883056-24-1, softcover with color covers, 380 pages, 1 chart, 4 scans, 2 illustrations. $25

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Shipwreck Heresies

This volume is a collection of short subjects that are controversial in nature.

Leading the contentions is a history of the Abandoned Shipwreck Act. In this chapter is the story of how the Act was passed by only two senators, who sneaked into the closed chamber in order to pass unfavorable legislation that could not have been passed by honest means.

Following this is an in-depth study of the U.S. destroyer Murphy: how the wreck was identified; how the Naval Criminal Investigative Service threatened to prosecute those who identified it; and how one diver’s bid for sole access to the site led to the unlawful introduction and secret passage of a bill that appropriated all sunken U.S. Navy craft anywhere in the world.

The book ends with a 70-page retrospection of Shadow Divers Exposed: what juvenile and irrational critiques were made against it, and by whom; how the truthfulness of the book has been vindicated; and how new evidence has established that the U-869 had been discovered and dived three years prior to events that were related in Shadow Divers: the greatest literary hoax in publishing history.

In between these extraordinary disquisitions are chapters on other shipwrecks that have created nationwide controversies: the Civil War ironclad Monitor, the Hamilton and Scourge (U.S. Navy warships from the War of 1812, and which are now controlled by the Canadian government), the treasure wrecks Brother Jonathan and El Cazador, and the World War One ocean liner Lusitania.

Also included is “The Stellwagen Bank Robbery,” a scathing review of NOAA’s illegal activities in the Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary: its refusal to release public information, its ambition to prevent public access to wreck sites, and its program to expand sanctuary boundaries (in particular, Thunder Bay, Stellwagen, and the Monitor – the latter to eventually encompass the entire Outer Banks, and all the U-boats and merchant vessels from all wars and all marine casualties).

This is a book that will rile your blood.

ISBN 1-883056-39-X, softcover with color covers, 264 pages, 10 color photos, 17 black & white photos $20.

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Shipwreck Research Handbook

This is the book that reveals the arcane methods and secret pathways of archival research: a complete guide that takes the reader through the mysteries and complexities of library holdings, museum collections, and governmental records.

Now you can learn from an expert how to obtain first-hand knowledge about your favorite shipwreck - and how to avoid nonproductive and counterproductive pitfalls that may lead you astray through a virtual quagmire of misinformation.

Shipwreck research is an esoteric topic for which no formal education is available. By dint of the author's vast experience, this fundamental handbook provides the wherewithal to escort the reader through such primary sources as the National Archives, the Library of Congress, maritime museums, and the like.

In addition to discussing demonstrable techniques for delving into obscure textual records, the book includes a chapter on picture sources, complete with full contact information for the most likely places at which to conduct shipwreck research and procure pictures of vessels.

The Shipwreck Research Handbook is an indispensable tool for anyone who wants to know how to start a research project, where to look for information, and how to utilize the sources that are available.

ISBN 1-883056-31-4 softcover with color photo covers 5 x 8 vertical, 276 pages, 4 black & white photos, $25.

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Shipwreck Sagas

This is an eclectic collection of the author's shorter works. Most have seen print in books, magazines, newspapers, or on the Internet. Some have been expanded for this volume because space limitations in the original publication precluded the author from telling the story in its entirety. Other have been printed the way they originally appeared, but have been appended with annotations either beforehand or afterward.

In addition to biographical material, shipwrecks that are covered in this volume include the Andrea Doria, Empress of Ireland, Billy Mitchell Wrecks (Ostfriesland, Frankfurt, U-117, U-140, UB-148), President Coolidge, Sebastian, Texas Tower #4, Bow Mariner, Atlantic (Halifax), Bell Island wrecks (Newfoundland), Dunderberg and Florida (Lake Huron), Miraflores, Shuffled Shipwrecks of North Carolina (Buarque, Equipoise, Mexicano, Cayru, Ario, W.E. Hutton, Papoose, Ciltvaira, San Delfino, Mirlo), Ella Warley, China Wreck (John Sidney and Medway), and shipwrecks of New York (Ajace, Arlington, Bessie A. White, Charles E. Dunlap, Cornelia Soule, Marjory Brown, Panther).

There is also a chapter on fossilized megalodon shark teeth.

ISBN 1-883056-34-9 softcover with color covers 252 pages, 10 color photos, 104 black & white photos, $20.

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Stolen Heritage: The Grand Theft of the Hamilton and Scourge

The War of 1812 was ravaging the countryside when two U.S. Navy warships - the Hamilton and the Scourge - foundered in Lake Ontario in a sudden nighttime squall. Seventy American sailors drowned in darkness.

Both shipwrecks were discovered off Port Dalhousie, Ontario in 1975. Factions within the U.S. Navy immediately asserted American ownership. In 1979, title to the wrecks was transferred from the Navy to the Royal Ontario Museum, which, like a clearing house, quickly transferred title to the City of Hamilton.

As a condition of custody, the City promised to conduct scientific studies and archaeological assessments of the sites, after which it would consider the possibility of raising the wrecks as tourist attractions.

Now, a quarter of a century later, the City has done absolutely nothing to honor its pledge. Worse, it has taken an active stance in preventing others from conducting studies. After twenty-five years of apathetic treatment, the wrecks are still rotting away on the lake bed, suffering from the ravages of zebra mussels and inevitable natural decay.

Stolen Heritage is the saga of one American's attempt to visit these relics of his country's heritage - a heritage that was usurped by bureaucratic fiat. Those who control these historic sites would rather see them decompose than permit anyone - including Americans - to see or photograph them.

This book is a story of conspiracy, double dealing, lies, and deceit: an ugly trip through the political machinations of the City of Hamilton's corrupt bureaucrats, and the manipulations of individuals within the Ontario Archaeological License Bureau.

ISBN 1-883056-15-2 hardcover with color dust jacket, 6 x 9 vertical, 168 pages, $20.

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Wreck of the Robert J. Walker

Known to anglers and divers as the $25 Wreck and Mason's Paddle Wheeler, the rotting hull has been a popular fishing and diving site since as far back as the 1950's, perhaps earlier. By their very nature, shipwreck stories have a dark side that involves death and destruction, heroism and cowardice, the luck of the draw, and the struggle for survival. The loss of the Robert J. Walker was no exception.

This volume relates in detail the contemporaneous happenstances that involved the construction, survey work, and loss of the Robert J. Walker, as well as current events, and the ominous future that the wreck and NOAA portend for American citizens in a climate in which individual freedom suffers from severe and sinister erosion. Some of this saga is good, some of it is bad, and some is flagrantly ugly.

The story is worth relating in depth so that people will understand the past, present, and ominous future of shipwreck discovery and exploration.

This book includes a dip into the seamy side of NOAA, which has been pulling the wool over America's eyes for decades. NOAA laid claim to the wreck in order to draw attention to itself. Worse than that, the obvious extortion was a foot in the door to laying specious claims not only to nearby shipwrecks, but eventually to every wreck off the American eastern seaboard. The Robert J. Walker was but a stepping stone toward NOAA's totalitarian rule: a wayward path of using and abusing those who died at sea as a means to achieve an autocratic end in which NOAA must reign supreme.

The good side of this story is the way in which recreational divers paved the way to the wreck's identification, and then were solely responsible for examining and mapping the site. These hard-working volunteers received no payment for their services. They did it for their love of exploring shipwrecks. Because of their dedication, the $25 Wreck alias Mason's Paddle Wheeler alias Robert J. Walker has risen from a lowly hulk at the bottom of the sea to a place of status in human consciousness.

ISBN 978-1-883056-53-7, softcover with color covers, 6 x 9 vertical, 224 pages, 7 color photo, 56 black & white photos, 12 black & white drawings, 2 black & white charts $20.

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Underwater Reflections

SHARE THE LIFE OF AN UNDERWATER ADVENTURER

Gary Gentile has tramped the world in search of adventure. Many of his exploits have been related in previous books about wreck-diving, the great outdoors, combat, and courtroom dramas. The present volume continues in this vein as he reflects upon a host of expeditions and incidents in which he has been involved throughout the years.

Read about frightening wreck-diving experiences; about incredible rescues and recoveries; about being lost at sea; about exploring submerged caves in a remote corner of the world; about being marooned on an uninhabited island; and much, much more.

These are all brand new stories that have never been told.

In addition to some of his most personal experiences is a resounding condemnation of a blatant attempt of certain individuals to pervert the truth by fabricating tales about the destruction of the U-869.

Experience thrills of a lifetime; second-guess difficult decisions that made the difference between life and death; and perhaps most important, obtain an understanding of an aspect of diving that is too often overlooked: the camaraderie that creates bonds that last forever.

Much of the material within these covers is somewhat humorous: a lighthearted look at what divers take for granted, but which is generally neglected by reports in order to emphasize danger and sell more copy. This attitude is shameful in that it sheds false light on an activity whose risk factors are reduced by training, expertise, and stern contemplation of the consequences of foolish or impulsive actions.

This sublime hodgepodge of epics and anecdotes will make you laugh, make you scared, make you angry, make you wonder, but most of all, it will make you think about what you might be missing.

ISBN 1-883056-42-X, softcover with color covers, 252 pages, 1 color photo, 92 black & white photos, $20.

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USS San Diego: The Last Armored Cruiser

A shipwreck is a time capsule: a fragment of history buried in the sea, a temporary repository of the remnants of a bygone age. The wood or steel hull is a transient abode that precariously extends the life of man's handiwork only slightly beyond the date of disaster and human suffering. This does not mean that the objects contained within are granted eternal life, for the sea is ever changing, ever destroying; it means only that oft sought relics have been granted a slight reprieve from obliteration. To preserve a flag one does not hang it on a pole during a full gale: it is folded and packed away safely. One does not store precious china on an exposed mountain ridge where it is subject to rock falls, summer sun, and winter snow: it is kept in a glass case under controlled conditions. An artifact must be preserved from the elements of nature, not consigned to its capriciousness; the longer it is constrained to these wild forces the less likely it is to survive intact, to be found and appreciated by future generations.

On July 19, 1918 such a time capsule was born. When the San Diego sank within sight of American shores, after striking a mine laid by the German U-boat U-156, she relinquished all claims to the title of warship and became instead a vast storehouse of marine equipment, naval stores, munitions, and the personal effects of over a thousand distressed sailors. She was a museum in the making; items then not worth the cost of salvage have slowly evolved into nautical antiques precious to the present-day generation.

The San Diego is a time machine: a shortcut to 1918, a slice of Americana. Once at war with the forces of man, she now fights a never ending battle against gradual but inevitable erosion by the chemical soup in which she is immersed. To fully understand the San Diego we must travel back through the years not just to the moment of her birth, when she was christened the California, but to the time of her conception, for, although she lived in the twentieth century, she was a product of nineteenth century naval strategy. Thus begin the history of Armored Cruiser Number 6. This book is copiously illustrated with a wealth of black and white historical photographs and with numerous color underwater photographs taken by the author during his many explorations of the vast interior.

ISBN 0-9621453-1-9 softcover with color covers 6 x 9 vertical, 120 pages, 182 color photos, 61 black & white photos, $20.

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Wreck Diving Adventures

This book is more than a collection of tales depicting the exploration of unknown or little known shipwrecks, of colorful images of breathtaking underwater vistas, of vignettes of man's historic past or nature's magnificent wonders, of incredible sagas dealing with thorny legal issues and bureaucratic legerdemain. This book is an insight into the pioneering soul, and the personification of the adventurous spirit that resides in all of us.

In these pages the reader will find many facets of human endeavor, from the free exploring nature of the mind to the undaunted vision for a rationalistic future: told with a broad range of writing styles to match the depth of the particular subject under discussion, whether light-hearted banter or serious drama.

Thrill to the discovery of a long lost submarine, discover the rich trove of artifacts on a World War Two freighter, delve into the Great Lakes' sunken past, marvel at the amazing state of preservation of a nineteenth century sailing ship, dive into the inky black waters of the Patuxent River, join the precedent-setting expedition to the Civil War ironclad Monitor, and laugh at the uproarious fictional adventures of that lone shark and underwater sleuth, Mike Hammerhead.

Warning: wreck diving adventures are contagious. Once infected with the lust to experience the freedom of the subsea world, you will never be the same. For divers and armchair explorers alike.

Amply illustrated with black and white historical photographs and color underwater photographs of shipwrecks and marine life.

ISBN 1-883056-00-4 softcover with color photo covers 6 x 9 vertical, 144 pages, 166 color photos, 25 black & white photos $20.

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