Ghost fleet: the sunken ships of Bikini Atoll

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University of Hawai'i Press, 1996 - History - 204 pages
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In July 1946 a fleet of 242 ships, among them some of the most famous of World War II, assembled within the Lagoon of Bikini Atoll, 4,500 miles from San Francisco. There, in a massive military effort dubbed "Operation Crossroads, " thousands of scientists and U.S. military personnel gathered to assess the atomic bomb's effect on warships in the world's first nuclear weapons tests. After evacuating 167 islanders and carefully positioning the ships - their cargo included airplanes, tanks, live animals, and test equipment - the United States detonated two atomic bombs, sinking 22 ships and hopelessly irradiating 73 others. Four decades later, in 1989, a highly trained team of underwater archaeologists returned to Bikini to evaluate the ships as historic and archaeological sites and as potential diving attractions. In Ghost Fleet, author James Delgado, a member of that team, offers a fascinating account of Operation Crossroads and the forgotten remains that have turned Bikini's lagoon into a vast underwater ghost town. Diving in waters 180 feet deep, surrounded by unexploded bombs, sharks, and residual radiation, the archaeologists explored the ships, some shattered hulks, others bent and twisted by the force of the blasts. Delgado weaves a compelling tale - of the events of 1946, of coming of age in the shadow of the bomb, of being face to face with an untouched nuclear testing ground. Like the deserted homes and crumbling concrete bunkers that remain on the atoll itself, the ghost fleet of Operation Crossroads is an archaeological legacy from the beginning of the atomic age.

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Ghost fleet: the sunken ships of Bikini Atoll

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In 1946, the United States began a series of nuclear tests on Bikini Atoll to determine the impact of atomic bombs on armored naval ships. Amid much fanfare, the military assembled a fleet of surplus ... Read full review

Ghost fleet: the sunken ships of Bikini Atoll

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

In 1946, the United States began a series of nuclear tests on Bikini Atoll to determine the impact of atomic bombs on armored naval ships. Amid much fanfare, the military assembled a fleet of surplus ... Read full review

Contents

Operation Crossroads
17
The Place to Test
32
Abel and Baker
53
Copyright

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About the author (1996)

James P. Delgado is the President of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology. His many previous books include the "British Museum Encyclopedia of Underwater and Maritime Archaeology, "and, most recently, "Gold Rush Port: The Maritime Archaeology of San Francisco's Waterfront "(UC Press). Delgado has hosted the "National Geographic "television series "The Sea Hunters.

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