Clipped From The Salt Lake Tribune

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 - A new twist for the 'Titanic' "Raise The...
A new twist for the 'Titanic' "Raise The Titanic," by Clive Cussler; Viking Press, $8.95. It is 1912. A great ocean liner — the greatest and most luxurious ship afloat — is on its maiden voyage to America. Its passengers include the rich and the powerful, as well as a steerage filled • with people looking for new lives. There is an iceberg. A collision. A huge gash slices the hull of the liner. It is a mortal wound. The great ship sinks. It was the end of an era of security of courtliness. The story of the Titanic is well- known. Former Advertising Writer But now there is a new tale of the Titanic. It is not a historical tale, because it has not happened . . . yet. Right now, it is in the imagination of a former advertising copywriter who used to think a lot about the great ghost ship resting somewhere on the .bottom of the North Atlantic. "I mean the book to be pure entertainment," said Clive Cussler. His book, "Raise the Titanic" is the story of a fictional attempt to locate and refloat the huge ship from a near- freezing grave more than 2% miles ' below the surface of the Atlantic. "People are taking it seriously," Cussler said. The world seems to be filled with persons who are devoted to reading every word about the death of the Titanic. Many of the Titanic fans fit the same mold Cussler does — married, three children and a house in the suburbs (Denver in his case). "There is a middle-class fascination with the Titanic," he said. A Rare Element The premise of the book is that there is a rare element, of which the only supply is locked in the vault of the Titanic. This element, if properly used, gives intercontinental missiles nervous breakdowns. The United States wants the element. The Soviet Union wants the element. The only way to get it is to spend a couple of hundred million raising the Titanic. So the plot of the book is not the greatest. What has propelled "Raise the Titanic" onto the best-seller list is the technical data Cussler has compiled about the methods of raising the ship. "To a degree, it would be possible," the bearded Cussler explained as he eased his lanky frame into an undersized office chair. Sunlight Cannot Reach The ship is resting 2% miles below the surface, where the deteriorating rays of sunlight cannot reach it. The water is almost freezing, which prevents plant sea life from thriving and attacking the hulk. There is practically no oxygen the water to aid decomposition. If the ship did not break apart on the way to the bottom or explode under the enormous water pressure, it could be in near-perfect condition. The name Titanic would be legible. The paintings would be in fair shape. Dishes, furniture, records, pans and even corpses could be remarkably preserved. In the book, the first artifact to be recovered is a cornet. The restoration of the instrument and the tracing of its origins are studies in modern technology. Air Pump System The Cussler plan for refloating the Titanic consists of an elaborate system of air pumps, an as-yet-unperfected liquid underwater patching material and some valves. Just fill the old wreck with air, and it pops' to the surface. "Who can say that wouldn't work?" Cussler said with a smile. Nobody expects the Titanic to come bobbing to the surface soon. Cussler estimates that the cost of raising the ship at more than $1 billion. Even if collectors were willing to spend $10,000 for a cup from the first-class dining Court-Martial salon (Cussler thinks they would), there is no way the project could be profitable. So ... and this is the fascination hi this latest Titanic cult book. . . Titanic lovers will be able to roam the salons and staterooms of the raised ship only through the imagination of Clive Cussler. They will look at the mechanical , camel (there was one) in the gymnasium. They will discover the body in the corner of the gym. They will wail while space-age experts attempt to crack the Victorian security of the massive vault. They will study the paintings in the salon. A Big Movie (The book is being made into a $12-million movie.) For the most part, Cussler is looking forward to watching the celluloid version of his fantasy. —Jason Thomas, Chicago Sun-Times. What if Custer had lived? "The Court-Martial of George Armstrong Cusier," by Douglas C. Jones, Scribners $8.95. About 3 p.m. on Sunday, June 25,1876, ' five companies of the U.S. 7th Cavalry, Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer in ' command, engaged some 4,000 hostile Indians on high ground above the Little Bighorn River in southeastern Montana. It was not a long battle. By late afternoon, Custer and his entire force, 261 men in all, were dead. Indian Casualties The Indians suffered an equivalent number of casualties, but the exact count is unknown. In the 498 years between the first confrontation of white men and Indians on San Salvador and the madness and tragedy of Wounded Knee, this was the greatest victory the Indian warrior was to achieve hi the eyes of the world. Ouster's last stand has become part of the basic fabric of American myth. How it happened and what it meant has produced a substantial body of writing, and this novel marks the centennial in a manner that fittingly retells the tale. Sole Survivor Douglas C. Jones creates his drama by making Custer the sole survivor of the battle and, a year later, standing court-martial in New York to defend his conduct of his campaign. Jones is writing fiction, but it is solidly based on fact. His characters are well-drawn, well-handled and x thoroughly credible. Custer is not permitted to dominate the action. The Custer battlefield is a national monument visited by thousands every year. I am uncertain what the majority think as they leave, especially since many visitors are Indians. But I found it difficult to walk over the actual site and not conclude that Custer was a fool, a glory boy who ignored the warnings of his Crow scouts (one of whom survived) and rode headlong into the largest concentration of hostile Indians ever •assembled on the North American continent. Outnumbered at least 15 to 1, his troopers, ill-trained, tired and inadequately armed, had no choice but to die. The fictional court-martial looks at this issue squarely. Was Custer a bad officer who led his men to destruction or one of the many victims of the corruption of the Grant administration? Reader Gets Facts The reader gets the facts. He is not obliged to agree with the findings of the court. For the Indians, paradoxically, the victory at Little Big Horn was, in the long run, a defeat. Custer had to be avenged, and a nation with the capacity to survive a massive Civil War had the resources necessary to inflict its will upon the red man. A year after the battle. Sitting Bull, who, as much as anyone, had commanded the Indian forces, told a reporter that "these men who came with the Long Hair (Custer) "7ere as good men as ever fought." The Indians respected them as they killed them. Had we respected the Indian equally, and dealt with him as he deserved, that bloody afternoon would never have happened. —Robert C. Marsh, Chicago Sun-Times

Clipped from
  1. The Salt Lake Tribune,
  2. 30 Jan 1977, Sun,
  3. Page 64

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