Sunk Without a Sound

by Brad Dimock | Biographies & Memoirs |
ISBN: 1892327988 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 6/18/2019
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Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Tuesday, June 18, 2019
I got this softcover at a local Savers thrift shop, for another release copy.

I'd heard of the disappearance of the Hydes during their honeymoon trip down the Colorado River in 1928, and knew there were several mysteries surrounding the case, from what happened to them to whether either of them might have survived...

Turns out that the author of the book spent a great deal of time and energy - including risking his life and that of his wife in an attempt to replicate the Hydes' trip downriver in a sweep boat - in researching this story, and the conclusion he presents makes a lot of sense to me, though it may disappoint some of the more ardent conspiracy-theorists out there {wry grin}. I found the book enjoyable to read, and often quite surprising; the central characters of the story, the Hydes and their friends and family, seem to have done a huge amount of traveling - this, during the early-to-mid-1920's.

The Hydes were also a good deal more lively than I'd expected from what little I'd heard of them before; Bessie actually had a rather racy past, including a hasty previous marriage that may have involved a pregnancy, an abrupt move from the east coast to San Francisco, and an almost Bohemian lifestyle. I suppose I shouldn't have found it that surprising - this was the Roaring '20s, after all! - but somehow I always associate that with Chicago and points east, not with the son of an Idaho farmer and a transplanted Maryland girl.

The research seems pretty thorough, including interviews and a few surviving documents from the families of both Glen and Bessie, and from interviews conducted at the time of the disappearance as well as those conducted during the '40s by Colorado River historian Otis Marston. There seems to be a remarkably solid timeline of the Hydes' trip up to a certain point - and then there was only the discovery of the abandoned sweep boat, floating undamaged and fully loaded with their goods, clothes, food, even cash. Glen's father led an immense search - one that would be mind-boggling even today, and at the time pretty much bankrupted him.

The segments in which the author describes his own river trip via a sweep boat of similar design to the Hydes' are quite dramatic (and often very funny) - and, as the author opted to wear a life jacket and to have someone in a high-powered speedboat accompany him in case of emergency, he and his wife survived to tell the tale. I even learned a bit about how the sweep boats work - and why they aren't a great idea in the types of rapids in the Colorado River; pity that the Hydes had no way of knowing that...

There is one incredibly frustrating element to this account, having to do with the discovery of the empty sweep boat: when found, the boat's mooring rope was snagged somewhere under water, and when the people who found the boat couldn't free the rope by pulling on it, they cut it.

Cut it. Leaving whatever it may have been snagged in, or with, or around, invisible under the water.

Was it really very likely that at least one body was down there? Well, it's possible, but there's no way to know, and once the boat was moved, no way to find out. But then, if they had found a body at the time, would the story have survived as long as it has?

Very interesting book about a small slice of history, and about life on the Grand Canyon rapids before the days of the Hoover Dam. Recommended!

[For more on the hazards of the region, including a mention of the Hydes, check out Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon.]

Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing at Little Free Library, Atherton Park in Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Released 1 mo ago (6/20/2019 UTC) at Little Free Library, Atherton Park in Nashua, New Hampshire USA


I left this book in the Little Free Library; hope someone enjoys it!

[See other recent releases in NH here.]

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