In September 1857, the SS Central America, a side-wheel steamer carrying passengers returning from the California gold fields, went down during a hurricane off the Carolina coast. More than 400 lives and 21 tons of gold were lost.
The ship and it's valuable cargo remained at the bottom for over a hundred years. Then, in the 1980s, an engineer named Tommy Thompson set out to find the wreck and salvage the treasure.
Kinder has written an amazing book. It reads like a novel – full of adventure and suspense.
He begins with the discovery of gold in the Mexican held territory called California in 1848. He moves on to the collection and transport of gold, and finally to the SS Central America. He then intersperses the story of Tommy Thompson, his early life, working at Battelle, and finally his successful task of finding the SS Central America and recovering it's treasure.
Kinder must have done extensive research to be able to write about the SS Central America as if the disaster was happening right before our eyes. I don't think I've ever read a historical account written so well. I could hardly put it down. It is definitely a page turner and fun to read.
Vintage Books, 536 pages.