Cindy Vallar, Editor & Reviewer
P.O. Box 425, Keller, TX 76244-0425
Books for Adults - Nonfiction
The Maritime Heritage of the Cayman Islands
by Roger C. Smith
University Press of Florida, 2000, $19.95
Modern tourists often ignore the rich history of the Cayman Islands. Discovered in 1503, they were home to sea turtles that became a vital food source for mariners in the Caribbean. The remoteness of the islands attracted pirates like Blackbeard and Edward Low. The waters surrounding the Caymans became the final resting place of many shipwrecks.
The first two chapters explain the authorís connection to the Caymans and how the islands came to exist. Other chapters cover the native sea turtles and crocodiles that once lived here, pirates and mariners who visited, the ships of the islanders, and the graveyard of vessels that foundered in the dangerous waters surrounding the Caymans from the sixteenth century to present day. There are several appendices from historical documents pertaining to the islandsí history, an extensive bibliography, and a detailed index. Black-and-white photographs and maps accompany the narrative, which is both fascinating and absorbing.
Written by a nautical archeologist who participated in an extensive survey of the island waters, this book explores the many facets of the Caymansí history, people, and geography. It reads like a novel that compels the reader to turn each page to find out what happens next. It entertains and teaches at the same time. Smith likens his search into the past of the Caymans to a jigsaw puzzle, and the trail he took to uncover long-forgotten documents reads like a hunt for buried treasure. The Maritime Heritage of the Cayman Islands is a priceless jewel that belongs in every library.
Book Review Copyright ©2006 Cindy Vallar
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