Hicks, Brian 1966-
HICKS, Brian 1966-
PERSONAL: Born 1966; married; children: one son.
ADDRESSES: Home—Charleston, SC. Offıce—The Post and Courier, 134 Columbus St., Charleston, SC 29403-4800.
CAREER: Post and Courier, Charleston, SC, senior writer.
AWARDS, HONORS: Journalist of the Year, South Carolina Press Association.
(With Tony Bartelme) Into the Wind, Around Alone:The Story of the World's Longest Race, Evening Post Publishing (Charleston, SC), 1999.
(With Schuyler Kropf) Raising the Hunley: TheRemarkable History and Recovery of the Lost Confederate Submarine, Ballantine (New York, NY), 2002.
Ghost Ship: The Mysterious True Story of the MaryCeleste and Her Missing Crew, Ballantine (New York, NY), 2004.
SIDELIGHTS: Brian Hicks is a journalist who has authored or co-authored several nonfiction books on maritime subjects. His first book, Into the Wind, Around Alone: The Story of the World's Longest Race, was co-written with fellow journalist Tony Bartelme and tells the story of an offshore classic maritime race of sailboats with a one-man crew. The race begins in Charleston, South Carolina, and takes the skippers on a 27,000-mile journey around the world. In the book, Hicks and Bartelme recount the racers' various adventures, including one competitor who was forced to perform surgery on himself and another who capsized in the freezing waters near Antarctica.
In his next book, Raising the Hunley: The Remarkable History and Recovery of the Lost Confederate Submarine, Hicks collaborates with Schuyler Kropf to tell the story of the Hunley. A Confederate submarine, the Hunley mysteriously sank to the bottom of the ocean where it would lie for 131 years until raised by salvagers led by author Clive Cussler on August 8, 2000. In the first part of the book, the authors discuss the ship's development and profile its creators and crew as they reconstruct the ship's final, fateful voyage. The book also delves into the salvage process and the historical secrets that the vessel finally revealed, especially concerning the pioneering crewmembers' final hours.
Writing in Library Journal, Charles K. Piehl recommended Raising the Hunley but had "reservations." Piehl felt the "book lacks sufficient background research" and noted that it is "weak in historical context" and does not "address the broader issues surrounding the boat's recovery." A Kirkus Reviews contributor, however, commended the authors for their "sharp eye for engaging detail and poignant coincidence" but also felt that "the subject has excited them so thoroughly that they write more like romance novelists than historical journalists." In a review for Booklist, Margaret Flanagan called the book a "fascinating chronicle" and noted, "This riveting narrative features a winning combination of Civil War arcana, maritime history, and underwater archaeology." John F. Guilmartin, Jr. called the book "compellingly" well written in a review in the Journal of Southern History.
Hicks struck out on his own to write Ghost Ship: The Mysterious True Story of the Mary Celeste and Her Missing Crew. The author tells the legendary story of the 100-foot brigantine Mary Celeste, which was found drifting off the coast of Portugal in December of 1872. The ship was deserted, but there were no sign of anything being wrong. Since that time, numerous people have offered theories about what happened to the ship's crew. In Ghost Ship, Hicks examines these many theories and debunks the majority of them, such as the theory that a giant squid had somehow taken away the crew. He also delves into the theory that the crew of the Dei Gratia, who towed the ship to shore after its discovery, might have had a hand in dipatching the crew.
School Library Journal contributor Ted Woodcock called Ghost Ship "very readable" and noted that the book "gives new life to an old mystery." A Publishers Weekly contributor called Hicks "a master of cliffhanging phrases" and noted that "he hooks readers with warnings of the ship's bad luck and poor timing." In a review in Booklist, George Cohen noted that "Hicks does an exceptional job of storytelling," while a Kirkus Reviews contributor commented that Hicks' book is "an excellent, clear-eyed primer to one of the world's most resilient ghost stories."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, March 1, 2002, Margaret Flanagan, review of Raising the Hunley: The Remarkable History and Recovery of the Lost Confederate Submarine, p. 1081; May 15, 2004, George Cohen, review of Ghost Ship: The Mysterious True Story of the Mary Celeste and Her Missing Crew, p. 1592.
Entertainment Weekly, June 4, 2004, review of GhostShip, p. 86.
Journal of Southern History, November, 2003, John F. Guilmartin, Jr., review of Raising the Hunley, p. 932.
Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 2002, review of Raising the Hunley, p. 30; April 15, 2004, review of Ghost Ship, p. 375.
Library Journal, March 1, 2002, Charles K Piehl, review of Raising the Hunley, p. 118. Publishers Weekly, January 21, 2002, review of Raising the Hunley, p. 82; May 3, 2004, review of Ghost Ship, p. 182.
School Library Journal, September, 2004, Ted Woodcock, review of Ghost Ship, p. 236.
Sea Power, May, 2003, Sherry L. Gardner, review of Raising the Hunley, p. 50.
United States Naval Institute Proceedings, October, 2004, Richard Seamon, review of Ghost Ship, p. 87.*