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I love Charles Pellegrino's books, and have particularly enjoyed the Titanic books. If you haven't read some of these other books, you'll be surprised when you learn the tie-ins with 9-11 and the collapse of the World Trade towers. The physics of destruction had many common features with the two disasters.
I especially liked that this book reflected some of the latest revelations about Titanic trivia and history. Edith Russell's toy pig was a good luck charm, not just grabbed on a whim when she left her stateroom for the last time. Among her preparations for leaving were multiple slugs of whiskey, and she left the final drink in the glass holder, untouched. The weight of the liquor held the glass in place as the Titanic shook and tilted on her trip to the ocean floor. Generations later, that glass sits in its place in her stateroom, unbroken.
The Titanic crew took a poor approach to managing the disaster, and only Murdock really responded in a positive manner that saved lives. The "women and children only" edict resulted in partly-filled lifeboats that took forever to load, and the officers were also concerned that the boats were not sturdy enough to be lowered when fully loaded.
There are new characters to meet, including a Japanese efficiency expert who was traveling in second class. He was not allowed to buy a first class ticket because he was not white. He survived, though he was later vilified when people thought he'd dressed as a woman to get into a boat. In truth, the officer overseeing the loading had sent him into the boat as a rower. There was also a story that a Chinese individual had gotten in a boat by trickery and acted in an insulting manner to the first class ladies who were already aboard. This resulted in vigilante behavior toward the Japanese man, and the mistaken identity followed him for the rest of his life.
Chief Baker Charles Joughin knew he would die in this wreck. The ship's doctor advised him to drink heavily and be insensible when the cold waters closed over him for the last time. Meanwhile he drank and helped get people into the boats. He helped package food and water for the boats at a time when the story was "we'll all be back on the ship for breakfast, folks, don't bother to take anything." He knew better. When the ship went down, he made it to a piece of floating wreckage, getting only partially wet, and survived. Suffering from hypothermia, he had the kitchen crew on the Carpathia put him into a warm oven. That should have killed him, as rapid rewarming is now considered too hard on the heart. Joughin survived rewarming and became a near-comic character in "A Night to Remember."
Only one first class child died. No third class (immigrant class) children survived.
The actions of second mate Lightoller contributed to the failure of the evacuation and the high death toll. He did redeem himself in later years, particularly at Dunkirk, where he sailed his own yacht back and forth to bring trapped soldiers off the beach in France.
The seas were flat calm that night in April. Had there been a light chop, the bioluminescent creatures of the Atlantic would have helped the lookouts spot the deadly ice ahead. There would have been little glimmers and flashes caused by the animal life being disturbed by the motion of the water. This is why the ship's wakes glow in certain conditions.
Captain Smith and his crew knew there was ice ahead. The decision, none the less, was still "go faster!" A coal bunker fire was barely managed, but the goal of setting a record Atlantic crossing was more important.
She reached the sea floor in record time...
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I got this book because I wanted to know more detail and history about the titanic incident and the people aboard. The first half of the book was really good and informative detailing exact reasons why the ship went down. There were also a decent mix in on the thoughts and actions of those exploring the wreckage during the present day as well as information pulled from the senate and parliament hearings. Cool!
From there, the book starts diving into the 9/11 attacks. The author basically was comparing the towers to the titanic, which would have been fine for a chapter, but not for the remainder of the book.
After breezing through the first 6 hours of the book and then struggling through the rest, I cannot recommend this book to someone, like I, that just wanted to know about the titanic. If you want to read the short version of this book, watch the movie. The author references the movie a lot due to him being a part of the movie making process. This is more a testament to how much historical accuracy is in the movie ( not counting the love story and some of the more "Hollywood" elements) compared to the amount of detail in this book.
As for the narrator, he did a fine job. I really enjoyed his voice. Sounds like a grandpa voice if that makes any sense.
A beautifully written, incredibly moving and emotional book.
An intricate jigsaw puzzle of time and coincidences.
I would absolutely listen to this book again immediately
2 of 2 people found this review helpful