Paper pub. date
January 2002
ISBN 9780870715419 (paperback)
224 pages. Maps. Historic photographs. Bibliography. Index.
Out of stock indefinitely

The Unforgiving Coast

Maritime Disasters of the Pacific Northwest

David H. Grover

The Pacific Northwest Coast can be as deadly as it is beautiful, as demonstrated by the hundreds of shipwrecks and maritime disasters that have occurred in these waters. In The Unforgiving Coast, David Grover vividly tells the true stories of some of the deadliest maritime disasters of the twentieth century.

As a former chief mate in the merchant marine and commander in the Naval Reserve who has served in Northwest waters, Grover knows their grandeur and dangers firsthand. And he has drawn on his expertise as a widely published marine historian to select nine of the most dramatic major accidents that happened between the California border and Vancouver Island, including two fatal shipwrecks on the treacherous Columbia River bar, known as the "Graveyard of the Pacific."

The Unforgiving Coast offers a penetrating look into each of these nine catastrophes, focusing on the unique, the inexplicable, the poignant, the heroic, and the tragic elements that make them remarkable. Drawing on a wide variety of sources, Grover tries to explain not just what happened in each disaster, but how and why it happened. The stories vary considerably-some are mysteries, some are adventure thrillers, and some defy categorization.

Compelling and highly readable, David Grover's book uncovers the true stories behind these ships and their terrible fates.

About the author

David Grover is a historian and writer who has published several books and dozens of articles on maritime history, as well as a previous OSU Press book, Debaters and Dynamiters: The Story of the Haywood Trail. In addition, he is a former Commander in the Naval Reserve and Chief Mate in the Merchant Marine. He lives in Napa, California.

Read more about this author
Chapter 1 Maritime Disasters: Events and Milieus
Chapter 2 Fire at Sea: The Queen
Chapter 3 The Valencia: Disaster on Many Fronts
Chapter 4 Rosecrans: Born to Lose
Chapter 5 The Mimi Salvage Can Be Dangerous
Chapter 6 The Mystery of the Francis H. Leggett
Chapter 7 Santa Clara: A Beach Too Crowded
Chapter 8 J.A. Chanslor: Tanker in Trouble
Chapter 9 The South Coast: Vanished Ship, Vanished Era
Chapter 10 The Iowa: Crossing the Bar


"A valuable addition to Northwest maritime history."


"...does a commendable job of probing beyond the superficial aspects of each incident to reveal its human complexities."

-Herbert K. Beals, author of Juan Perez on the Northwest Coast

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