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Another coffee-table tome from publisher New Holland, this time concentrating on some of the most visited (by divers) wrecks in the world, sees regular contributing editor and underwater explorer Jack Jackson this time scratching through his drawers for pictures of rusty metal.
For Top Wreck Dives of the World he has called in the services of veteran divers Bob Halstead and Lawson Wood, along with the lesser-known Jason Martin and Rochelle Mutton, augmented by Andy and Angie Belcher, to supply the pictures and text for those areas for which he was probably short of resources.
All the obvious sites seem to have been mentioned, although the choice of some of the lesser ones seems a little arbitrary. For example, what makes Theos Wreck in the Bahamas more interesting than the nearby Sea Star
When you get into the text, you start to realise that what is ostensibly a book of photographs is rather deficient in pictures. The section on Chuuk (Truk Lagoon) has details of nine wrecks, but only four rather inauspicious pictures are used. And when you start to engage with these pictures, you realise that the subject matter and quality is not that wonderful either.
Similarly, some of the captions seemed to have been written with little regard to the picture selected.
Its a case of high-quality production without equal editorial values. You may think I have been rather harsh, but the volume seems to lack any love of the subject.
Perhaps it has attempted to be too all-embracing to match those books with a narrower focus.
This is the sort of book that will appeal to a well-intentioned aunt looking for a gift for someone who has recently taken up diving. Initially it may impress, but I fear that it will all too soon be relegated to an upper shelf - or even a car-boot sale.
John Bantin
New Holland,
ISBN 9781845374662.
Hardback, 160pp, £29.99

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