Welcome back to the third and final day of Titanic Week! I have enjoyed exploring Titanic reads with you, and I hope you have liked following along. For today's final book, I decided to go with a true life account instead of historical fiction. As much as I like fiction, when it comes to history, I want the truth. Do you ever wonder more about the people that sailed on Titanic? Who they were? Why they were on the ship? I know that our imaginations have been stirred by countless fictinal characters, but I wanted to know more about the real passengers on board......
The Goodwin Family
Edith Corse Evans
Cosmo Duff Gordon
Lady Duff Gordon
Archibald Wilingham Butt
Rescued Crew Members
Harold Bride Wireless Operator
Thomas Andrews Ship Designer
All photos courtesy of Wikimedia Commons (click on photos for credits)
These are but just a few of the over two thousand faces that were aboard Titanic. Today's book takes you into the lives of the people who built the ships, the crew and the passengers. A fascinating read and a must for anyone who is a Titanic buff!
Here is my review:
Voyagers of the Titanic: Passengers, Sailors, Shipbuilders, Aristocrats, and the Worlds They Came From by Richard Davenport-Hines
Late in the night of April 14, 1912, the mighty Titanic, a passenger liner traveling from Southampton, England, to New York City, struck an iceberg four hundred miles south of Newfoundland. Its sinking over the next two and a half hours brought the ship—mythological in name and size—one hundred years of infamy.Of the 2,240 people aboard the ship, 1,517 perished either by drowning or by freezing to death in the frigid North Atlantic waters. What followed the disaster was tantamount to a worldwide outpouring of grief: In New York, Paris, London, and other major cities, people lined the streets and crowded around the offices of the White Star Line, the Titanic’s shipping company, to inquire for news of their loved ones and for details about the lives of some of the famous people of their time.
While many accounts of the Titanic’s voyage focus on the technical or mechanical aspects of why the ship sank, Voyagers of the Titanic follows the stories of the men, women, and children whose lives intersected on the vessel’s fateful last day, covering the full range of first, second, and third class—from plutocrats and captains of industry to cobblers and tailors looking for a better life in America.
Richard Davenport-Hines delves into the fascinating lives of those who ate, drank, reveled, dreamed, and died aboard the mythic ship: from John Jacob Astor IV, the wealthiest person on board, whose comportment that night was subject to speculation and gossip for years after the event, to Archibald Butt, the much-beloved military aide to Theodore Roosevelt and William Taft, who died helping others into theTitanic’s few lifeboats. With magnificent prose, Voyagers of the Titanicalso brings to life the untold stories of the ship’s middle and third classes—clergymen, teachers, hoteliers, engineers, shopkeepers, counterjumpers, and clerks—each of whom had a story that not only illuminates the fascinating ship but also the times in which it sailed. In addition, Davenport-Hines explores the fascinating politics behind theTitanic’s creation, which involved larger-than-life figures such as J. P. Morgan, the ship’s owner, and Lord Pirrie, the ship’s builder.
The memory of this tragedy still remains a part of the American psyche and Voyagers of the Titanic brings that clear night back to us with all of its drama and pathos.Hardcover, 352 pagesPublished March 6th 2012 by William Morrow
Three and a half stars: A book filled with facts, a must for any Titanic enthusiast.
Ever wondered more about what the folks were really like on the Titanic? Want to know how the great ship came to be? Are you curious about her cargo? How much food it took to feed the passengers and crew? Of course, anyone fascinated by the Titanic would be interested to learn more about the night she sank and the aftermath that followed. April 15, 1912 is a date that is still marked one hundred and two years later. It is the fateful night the Titanic, the largest, most luxurious and supposedly unsinkable ship struck an iceberg and sank in under three hours, taking with her over fifteen hundred souls. The story of the Titanic has caught our attention and stirred our minds, and we still can't let her go even after all this time. This is a book that is heavily researched and it aims to present the facts. If you want to know all the details of this great ship and her story, read this book.
What I Liked:
- After several fictional reads regarding the Titanic, I was eager to read a factual based book. Mr. Davenport-Hines has done an extraordinary amount of research in order to piece together this book. It is filled with detail and facts all about Titanic. From the men who first envisioned her, to the hardworking men who built her, and the men who eventually sailed her. Step aboard and meet some of the passengers on board, headed to a fateful collision with an iceberg. There is even information on icebergs. I loved gleaning new information and facts from this book. If you are like me, a Titanic enthusiast, this is the book to read.
- I was most intrigued with the aftermath of the sinking. There was so much information that was new to me. This book discusses the media frenzy in the days that followed the sinking. There were frantic and erroneous reports everywhere stating that the Titanic hadn't gone down, or that everyone had survived. The cold, harsh truth hit when the Carpathia docked bringing the dazed and traumatized survivors to shore. I loved exploring everything that happened from the hearings, to the new regulations and lasting effects of the sinking. I was fascinated to learn that many of the survivors even though they got off the ship, in reality they never did in their head. Many never shook the horror they witnessed that night, and several took their own lives over the years. The guilt, horror and depression the survivors faced must have been horrifying.
- As far as the sinking goes, it is covered in great detail. There is no attempt to glorify anyone or misconstrue the truth. Mr. Davenport-Hines is careful to present the events as true as possible by relying on countless testimonies from survivors. He even goes to far to dispel some of the far fetched stories that many took to heart as truth following the disaster. I appreciated that he presented an unbiased account. We are all familiar with how the first class passengers were vilified in the press following the sinking. There were a few first class passengers that behaved badly, but in reality the boats that left that weren't full were not because of the first class passengers but because of the officer who loaded them and the unwillingness of many of the passengers to board, as they didn't believe early on the ship would sink. There are plenty of accounts of heartbreaking gallantry as men loaded families, wives and girlfriends in boats and accepted their fate. One can only imagine the heartbreak and horror that unfolded that night on the decks of the ship. I appreciated that this book brought it to life.
- It was heartbreaking to read about those who suffered such terrible loses that night and how whole communities were effected, especially South Hampton where hundreds died. Learning more about the bodies recovered was particularly sad.
- This is a meticulously researched factual based book. It covers the origins of the iceberg, the men who visualized and built the ship, and the passengers who sailed on her. There are numerous facts and figures on the ship, cargo and statistics on the survivors. It introduces many of the passengers and crew from first to third class. If you want to know more about Titanic this is the book to read.
And The Not So Much:
- As I discussed, this is a factual book. The author doesn't attempt to gussy it up and write a story to intertwine the material. He presents the information and leaves it as such. While I loved a great deal of the material, there are portions that are a bit dry, superfluous and not as interesting. I found myself skipping through certain sections, but it was worth it to learn new material.
- The pacing and flow of the book are slow at times and in certain portions it drags. However, once you get to the sinking and the aftermath, everything picks up and gets very interesting.
- The ending was a bit abrupt and a tiny bit disappointing. The author is in the middle of discussing the ill fates of some of the survivors and then he segue ways into a few paragraphs on icebergs and ends. I was expecting a bit more.
Voyagers of the Titanic: Passengers, Sailors, Shipbuilders, Aristocrats, and the Worlds They Came From is an incredibly detailed and informative book that covers everything you wanted to know and more about the Titanic and her disastrous maiden voyage. This is a meticulously researched historical account. It is based on fact and it dispels many myths and rumors regarding the ship. This is a must read book for any avid Titanic fan.
I borrowed a copy of this book from the library. All opinions are my own and I was not compensated for this review.