Books 2016-12-05T22:23:22+00:00

Jim is the author, co-author or editor of over 32 books as well as numerous articles and archaeological reports covering a wide range of subjects related to the histories of shipwrecks.

In his newest book, Silent Killers: Submarines and Underwater Warfare, he recreates the story of the sub from the bottom up–that is, through eerie photographs of subs at the bottom of the sea. The book explores all of the submarine’s triumphs and tragedies, successes and failures in this fascinating and compelling illustrated history.

Misadventures Civil War Submarine

Misadventures of a Civil War Submarine: Iron, Guns, and Pearls

Released March, 2012.

In Misadventures of a Civil War Submarine, Delgado chronicles the confluence of technological advancement, entrepreneurial aspiration, American capitalist ambition, and ignorance of the physiological effects of deep diving. As he details the layers of knowledge uncovered by his work both in archival sources and in the field excavation of Kroehl’s ill-fated vessel, Delgado weaves the tangled threads of history into a compelling narrative.

This finely crafted saga will fascinate and inform professional archaeologists and researchers, naval historians, students and aficionados of maritime exploration, and interested general readers.

Published by Texas A&M University Press.

Silent Killers: Submarines and Underwater Warfare

Read the review by Jan Churchill of the Naval Historical FoundationCalling on his training as a nautical archaeologist who was among the first explorers to dive the Titanic, Delgado recreates the story of the sub from the bottom up–that is, through eerie photographs of subs at the bottom of the sea. Delgado’s new book explores all of the submarine’s triumphs and tragedies, successes and failures in this fascinating and compelling illustrated history. Note: Jim is the sole author of this book. Clive Cussler wrote the foreword.

Purchase online | Download to your IPad, IPhone, IPod touch with IBooks, or to your computer with ITunes | Read the foreword by Clive Cussler | Listen to an interview on Overnight America | Read a review from the New York Journal of Books | Read a review from British historian and diver Innes McCartney | Recommended by Scientific American

Two Books Win Awards in January, 2011

Khubilai Khan’s Lost Fleet: In Search of a Legendary Armada wins the James Deetz Award and Nuclear Dawn: The Atomic Bomb from The Manhattan Project to the Cold War wins the ChoiceAward for Outstanding Academic Title.

Selected Titles

Across the Top of the World: The Quest for the Northwest Passage

After Columbus found his voyage to Asia unexpectedly blocked by the New World, one driving goal of explorers was to find a way around it. Arctic archeologist James Delgado relates these tales–the voyages of the Norsemen, Henry Hudson, Sir John Franklin, and others–with a rare combination of verve, historical context, and lots of illustrations.

Available in hard cover and paperback.  Purchase online.

Arctic Workhorse: The RCMP Schooner St. Roch

Dodging between the Arctic floes, almost crushed several times, the little RCMP vessel St. Roch was the first ship to conquer the hazardous Northwest Passage from west to east. This book is a “biography” of St. Roch, from her construction in Vancouver in 1928, through her working life and famous voyages, to her resting place at the Vancouver Maritime Museum. Purchase online.

Adventures of a Sea Hunter: In Search of Famous Shipwrecks

Leading archaeologist and consummate storyteller James Delgado takes readers on a rollicking deep-sea dive into his highly unusual life’s work: locating and exploring the world’s most famous shipwrecks. More than a million ships have gone lost or missing in the seas, and going down in “the museum of the deep” to find famous shipwrecks is a risky yet profitable business, sometimes challenging the limits of human endurance. Delgado, a marine archeologist and a member of the Sea Hunter TV retrieval team, presents a chronicle of distinguished wreckage, addressing the wrecks’ histories, the scope of the undersea explorations to locate them, the joy of discovery and the thrill of bringing artifacts to the surface. Purchase online.

Encyclopedia of Underwater and Maritime Archaeology

This encyclopedia is the first comprehensive reference book on the discovery and recovery of underwater archaeological remains around the world and across time. Written by archaeologists and other scientists who have made the discoveries, it offers a wealth of authoritative and accessible information on shipwrecks, drowned cities, ritual deposits, and other relics of our submerged past. Purchase online.

Ghost Fleet: The Sunken Ships of Bikini Atoll

In July 1946 a fleet of 242 ships, among them some of the most famous of World War II, assembled within the lagoon of Bikini Atoll, 4,500 miles from San Francisco. In Ghost Fleet, author James Delgado, offers a fascinating account of Operation Crossroads and the forgotten remains that have turned Bikini’s lagoon into a vast underwater ghost town. Purchase online..

Gold Rush Port: The Maritime Archaeology of San Francisco’s Waterfront

Drawing on excavations in buried ships and collapsed buildings from this period, James P. Delgado re-creates San Francisco’s unique maritime landscape, shedding new light on the city’s remarkable rise from a small village to a boom town of thousands in the three short years from 1848 to 1851. Purchase online.

Read Jim’s entry: Digging Up the Gold Rush City on the University of California Press’

Khubilai Khan’s Lost Fleet: In Search of a Legendary Armada

Winner of the 2011 Deetz Award.

Heather Pringle’s review (see also: blog for Archaeology Magazine)

“Delgado, as you may know, is a marine archaeologist and the current president of the Institute of Nautical Archaeology in Texas. Among many other things, he’s an entertaining story-teller, and in this new book he regales us with the tale of the fleet that Khubilai Khan sent to invade Japan. It’s a book about hubris, a divine wind, and a terrible defeat, and it’s packed with fascinating details. I particularly relished Delgado’s account of how a team of Japanese archaeologists pieced together the fate of the invasion force.” Purchase online.

Lost Warships: An Archaeological Tour of War at Sea

From the defeat of Antony and Cleopatra at Actium to the 1946 nuclear detonations at Bikini Atoll, Lost Warships places shipwrecks in a broad historical, often-tragic narrative of warfare at sea. Drawing on the author’s knowledge as an underwater archaeologist, naval historian, and maritime museum director as well as historical accounts, paintings, contemporary documents, photographs, and maps, the book presents a comprehensive, graphically appealing overview of milestones in marine warfare that changed the course of world history. Sidebars featuring histories of specific battles, ships, relics, and shipwrecks further illustrate and enhance this riveting tale. Purchase online.

Native American Shipwrecks (Watts Library: Shipwrecks)

Excerpt: Many early native Americans lived and hunted near lakes, rivers, and the sea for tens of thousands of years. Purchase online.

Nuclear Dawn: The Atomic Bomb from the Manhattan Project to the Cold War

Winner of the Choice Award for Outstanding Academic Title 2010.

Delgado tells the breathtaking story of the original Manhattan Project and its aftermath. While most previous authors have focused on either the scientific or the social history of the events, Delgado’s is the first to spotlight the military and political phases of the atom bomb. In crisp prose, he covers the background of the bomb in the labs in Europe, Britain, and America, but the story picks up speed after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and the declaration of war by America. James Delgado’s new book fills a very important gap in our understanding of the enormous changes that the United States military underwent during WWII. Purchase online.

Shipwrecks from the Westward Movement (Watts Library: Shipwrecks)

Excerpt: The first Europeans who settled in North America came by sea. They also spread across the continent on water. This westward movement left wrecked canoes, riverboats, and ships. Today, archaeologists are rediscovering these wrecks on the bottom of the sea or in lakes and rivers. Purchase online.

The USS Arizona

Jasper, Delgado and Adams trace the history of Arizona, from her launching in 1915, through her extensive cruises in the Atlantic and Pacific, to the chaos after Japanese airplanes sounded the death knell of America’s battleship fleet. Purchase online.

Waterfront: The Illustrated Maritime Story of Greater Vancouver

Co-winner of the 2006 City of Vancouver Book Award (City of Vancouver media release) and winner of the 2006 Bill Duthie BC Booksellers’ Choice Award (BC Book Prizes)

Available in hardback and soft cover.

Waterfront is a magnificently illustrated, authoritative, and lively tour of the dynamic ebb and flow between the water, the surrounding land and, above all, the people who strove and dreamed along the waterfront. Many dramatic stories abound along its waterfront—of this place, its people, ships, and the events that shaped a city, a region, and a nation: prehistoric mariners who ventured out of the Arctic wastes after the last great ice age, European explorers who sought a fabled passage to the riches of the Orient, enterprising lumberman, railway tycoons, shipping magnates, stevedores, ship captains, immigrants, scoundrels and heroes, hardworking men and women. Their tales play out in this book, entwining the story of the birth and growth of cities, ports, industries, and companies. Purchase online.

Wrecks of American Warships (Watts Library: Shipwrecks)

Excerpt: For more than 200 years, the people of the United States have seen the sea as a barrier to enemies in distant lands. They built a navy with ships to defend a nation. Purchase online.