The only reason I am keeping this book is because I'm in the last chapter (which I helped write, which means it was written well). It's fun to pull the book out and show people the photo and part I wrote. Then it goes right back on the shelf.
The friend refuses to stow his bag on the plane, because it really isn't against FAA regulations not to. The flight attendant has to deal with this fellow, who Cussler tells us is an FAA investigator, and a retired Col. in the Air Force, as he refuses to do as she asks. She has to get the pilot to come and speak to this friend, who when faced with a "suitable" authority figure, has already stowed the bag.
Ho-ho! What a great joke.
Then it hit me, the whole book is filled with "We're so much smarter than everyone" episodes from the flight attendant to a 7/11 clerk. If you agree that Cussler and his friends are the pinnacles of human evolution, then this is the book for you.
I would recommend reading the historical chapters and skipping the rest.
There was also apparently no proofreader or editor involved in producing this book. Sailors "sink Dixie" instead of singing it (p. 90); Sol Thomas dies in the Dakota Territories (p. 179) and yet is resurrected on page 184; Cussler "charted" a boat when he should have "chartered" it (p. 221); a ship "shuttered" when it should have "shuddered" (p. 262); etc.
I mention only two examples from this book. The White Bird was a plane that has never been found, yet Cussler writes authoritatively on exactly how the two men died, from one man getting the top of his head cut off to the other having his back broken and sinking beneath the waves.
Second is the Marie Celeste, where he has the crew get into a boat to escape what they believe to be a sinking ship, how they become separated from the ship, and a chronology of how each one of the crew dies.
Now, reading his attempts to discover the wrecks is interesting, but I wish he'd not tried the fiction parts of it which really do invalidate this book as a serious source.
As opposed to his first Sea Hunters novel his team has searched for many things other than sunken ships. He spent time in Maine searching for L'Oiseau Blanc, thought to be the first plane to fly non stop across the Atlantic prior to Lindbergh. The NUMA team also tried to uncover the remains of the U.S.S. Akron, the first enormously sized Goodyear blimp which crashed of of the Jersey shore in the 30's.
Of particular interest was learning the fate of the R.M.S. Carpathia, which was responsible for rescuing the survivors of the Titanic, and was subsequently torpedoed by a German U boat 6 years later. A very interesting chapter was devoted to the fate of the Mary Celeste, an extremely famous "ghost" ship of the 1870's. The most revealing discovery for me, surrounded the story of the steamship General Slocum which was involved in the greatest tragedy concerning loss of life in New York history. In excess of 1000 people died as the ship was ravaged by fire on a weekend excursion in New York Harbor. The event actually altered the dynamics of the German American community which inhabited lower Manhattan and suffered huge losses in the fire. They moved away to divorce themselves from the devastation on the General Slocum.