Saturday, April 01, 2006


Book About Hurricanes, Shipwrecks and New Orleans Nominated for Award


PR Newswire
March 30, 2006

TAMPA, Fla. -- ForeWord magazine has named "Lost Gold of the Republic: The Remarkable Quest for the Greatest Shipwreck Treasure of the Civil War Era," as a finalist for its "Book of the Year Award" program.

ForeWord Magazine, a literary review journal, sponsors its annual book awards program to recognize excellence in publishing from independent presses. Final winners will be announced at BookExpo America in Washington, DC, on May 19, 2006.

"Lost Gold," authored by veteran National Geographic adventure writer Priit J. Vesilind, tells the remarkable story of the SS Republic, a side-wheel steamship that sank in a hurricane shortly after the end of the Civil War. Before sinking in 1865, the Republic had an amazing history, including serving as a battleship for the Union Navy and as a blockade runner for the Confederacy. The ship was steaming from New York to New Orleans loaded with precious cargo and a fortune in gold and silver coins for the war-stricken city. The Republic, if it could be found, would offer not only a fortune in treasure, but also an incredible historical snapshot of life in the late 1800s.

The book weaves the fascinating historical account of the Republic with the story of Odyssey Marine Exploration's quest to find the elusive shipwreck. Odyssey's founders, two pioneers of deep-ocean shipwreck exploration, spent more than a decade hunting for the Republic. After many dramatic challenges and unforeseen frustrations, the Company located the vessel 100 miles off the coast of Georgia in 2003, nearly 140 years after she sank. Odyssey archaeologically excavated the shipwreck and recovered approximately 14,000 Civil War-era artifacts and $75 million in gold and silver coins, 1,700 feet deep in the Atlantic Ocean.

Ironically, a month after "Lost Gold" was published, and as the Republic's artifacts and coins were about to be displayed for the first time in the city of their original destination, New Orleans, Hurricane Katrina bore down on the city. Once again, the Republic's cargo had to endure the ravages of a devastating storm's fury. Today, the ship's artifacts and coins are finally available for public viewing in the heart of the historic French Quarter, at Odyssey's first-ever interactive shipwreck museum, Odyssey's Shipwreck & Treasure Adventure.

Reviews for "Lost Gold" have been enthusiastic, with the Associated Press calling it a "Splendid book." Naval History wrote: "Vesilind surrounds the core tale with a rich historical tapestry. This easy-to-read book is an exciting sea story that is full of drama. It would make a good movie." And, John Breder, Executive Producer of National Geographic Film & Television, opined: "Vesilind cooks up a remarkable gumbo -- history, adventure, and science combined with an unrelentingly good yarn."


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