Best book on the Californian?


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SmileyGirl

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Hi, if I only can afford one book on the Californian question, which is the best one to get? I have heard of The Ship That Stood Still. Is this the best one out there or has there been a more uptodate one with better theories been published since then? Opinions please :)
 

Harland Duzen

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I would recommend "Titanic and the Indifferent Stranger: The Complete Story of the Titanic and the Californian" by Paul Lee.

Very informative, gives info on not just Lord, the Officers and the Californian, but also how subsequent authors (both Lordites / Anti-Lordites) have been selective with info and the various theories put forward to explain what happened.

Hope the above makes sense.
 
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SmileyGirl

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I would recommend "Titanic and the Indifferent Stranger: The Complete Story of the Titanic and the Californian" by Paul Lee.

Very informative, gives info on not just Lord, the Officers and the Californian, but also how subsequent authors (both Lordites / Anti-Lordites) have been selective with info and the various theories put forward to explain what happened.

Hope the above makes sense.


Thanks very much Harland, that’s just what I want, an unbiased book on it. I cannot take sides on anything as I am totally ignorant of mirages and the sea generally etc so cannot make any opinion on it really. I do wonder though why didn’t Lord wake his wireless operator to find out more. Has there ever been a definitive answer about this?
 
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Harland Duzen

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I do wonder though why didn’t Lord wake his wireless operator to find out more. Has there ever been a definitive answer about this?

Theres is no definitive (or short) answer I afraid, But to give a very simplified and basic answer (it can be very confusing) , It might bee that:
  • There was a mis-communication between Lord and Stone / Gibson who didn't understand what the other was suggesting which meant they didn't realise anything serious was happening and so didn't respond.
  • Stone and Gibson could't understand what they were seeing due to a variety of factors (Ship's position/ lack of lighting, mast lights etc.) and didn't think they were seeing a sinking ship but instead one that had just stopped.
Another book to recommend is "Report Into The Loss Of The SS Titanic: A Centennial Reappraisal" by Samuel Halpern and others, which also analyses the Californian's voyage and the testimony of all the officers.

Other website links to check out include:

Paul Lee's website: http://www.paullee.com/titanic/index.php

Samuel Halpern website: Titanicology

This paper by Tracy Smith, Michael H. Standart & Captain Erik D. Wood: The Californian Incident, A Reality Check

Hope this helps.
 
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SmileyGirl

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Theres is no definitive (or short) answer I afraid, But to give a very simplified and basic answer (it can be very confusing) , It might bee that:
  • There was a mis-communication between Lord and Stone / Gibson who didn't understand what the other was suggesting which meant they didn't realise anything serious was happening and so didn't respond.
  • Stone and Gibson could't understand what they were seeing due to a variety of factors (Ship's position/ lack of lighting, mast lights etc.) and didn't think they were seeing a sinking ship but instead one that had just stopped.
Another book to recommend is "Report Into The Loss Of The SS Titanic: A Centennial Reappraisal" by Samuel Halpern and others, which also analyses the Californian's voyage and the testimony of all the officers.

Other website links to check out include:

Paul Lee's website: http://www.paullee.com/titanic/index.php

Samuel Halpern website: Titanicology

This paper by Tracy Smith, Michael H. Standart & Captain Erik D. Wood: The Californian Incident, A Reality Check

Hope this helps.

Thanks so much Harland! I have made a note of all the links you have provided and will look up Samuel’s book too. I am still plodding through the Murdoch website and trying to keep up with the conversations on here. There is so much to read! :confused:
 
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Julian Atkins

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Hi SG,

The first thing I did back in September 2017 was read all of the following thread as it was up to 23rd September 2017 when I posted my first post...

Stanley Lord guilty as charged


I had also started reading online the testimony of Captain Lord, Stone, Gibson, and Groves at the British Inquiry. I had not got to Stewart and Evans by the time of my first post, or Gill's much later testimony.

I spent a considerable time finding lots of extremely helpful stuff online, and forum members very kindly directed me to certain sites.

A most valuable resource is Dave Billnitzer's site which is now on the 'wayback machine'...


Wayback Machine


(You have to use the left hand column and scroll down and click on)

In respect of the above, 'Rockets & the law' is required reading IMHO on Dave's site.

(Dave also has quite a lot of the contemporary documents that are highly relevant)

You will end up re-reading and re-reading the testimony at both inquiries, as you consider more and more of the original material and documents.

I know Senan Molony has wound up lots of forum members, but his research articles on here do include a number of important otherwise not easily found documents such as Stone and Gibson's 18th April statements, and the transcripts of taped recorded interviews with Captain Lord in 1961.

I have always considered the layout of The Californian quite important, especially the 'flying bridge', and where Captain Lord's own cabin was, and where the chart room was.

I was very kindly supplied with a copy of The Californian's drawings at quite an early stage, and a copy of the 'registered company signals' (that accorded to Dave Billnitzer's link above).

I then bought Paul Lee's book as recommended to you by Harland. I agree with Harland's recommendations.

I then (if not before) started reading all of Sam Halpern's research articles

Subsequently I have read and re-read endlessly both Leslie Harrison's 'Titanic Myth', and Leslie Reade's 'The Ship That Stood Still'. Both books are subjective. Both are IMHO essential reading when you have some background knowledge. I don't agree with a lot of what is in both books, neither do I agree with some of the conclusions in Paul's book.

I consider Leslie Reade's research in respect of the Boston Newspaper articles when The Californian docked in Boston to be very important. One of his chapters on Captain Lord being cross examined is just superbly written and crafted and I cannot fault a word of it. It accorded exactly with my own first reading of Captain Lord's British Inquiry testimony some 4 months previously.

We will all as individuals assess things differently, and see nuances and points of importance where others will see none - and vice versa.

I find it completely fascinating and absorbing!

I had Sunday Lunch 'out' today as it was my birthday last week, and after we had finished was asked why I hadn't done this and that in my workshop so I explained I had spent so much time considering 'The Californian Incident'. I was asked what this was, and so with the aid of a cleared table and lots of condiments proceeded to attempt to explain, and after 5 minutes we had quite a crowd round the table listening on intently!

Don't be afraid to ask questions! I've made lots and lots of mistakes and have needed a lot of help!

Cheers,

Julian
 
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Harland Duzen

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I had Sunday Lunch 'out' today as it was my birthday last week, and after we had finished was asked why I hadn't done this and that in my workshop so I explained I had spent so much time considering 'The Californian Incident'. I was asked what this was, and so with the aid of a cleared table and lots of condiments proceeded to attempt to explain, and after 5 minutes we had quite a crowd round the table listening on intently!

Off topic, and a bit late, but Happy Birthday Julian!

Don't be afraid to ask questions! I've made lots and lots of mistakes and have needed a lot of help!

Also very wise words to follow, when it comes to Titanic or anything related to her, nothing is ever as it seems (which seems a bit of an exaggeration but is true).
 
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Mila

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Hi, if I only can afford one book
Not sure in what country you live, but in USA one could take any book in a local library, and if they do not have the book there, they will order one from another libraries and deliver to your local one, and everything is free.
 
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Rob Lawes

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@SmileyGirl Don't worry about being ignorant of certain topics. Read as much as you can and never be afraid to ask questions or contribute an opinion.

Who knows, you may be the one who points out that the Emperor has no clothes !!!
 
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SmileyGirl

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Hi SG,

The first thing I did back in September 2017 was read all of the following thread as it was up to 23rd September 2017 when I posted my first post...

Stanley Lord guilty as charged


I had also started reading online the testimony of Captain Lord, Stone, Gibson, and Groves at the British Inquiry. I had not got to Stewart and Evans by the time of my first post, or Gill's much later testimony.

I spent a considerable time finding lots of extremely helpful stuff online, and forum members very kindly directed me to certain sites.

A most valuable resource is Dave Billnitzer's site which is now on the 'wayback machine'...


Wayback Machine


(You have to use the left hand column and scroll down and click on)

In respect of the above, 'Rockets & the law' is required reading IMHO on Dave's site.

(Dave also has quite a lot of the contemporary documents that are highly relevant)

You will end up re-reading and re-reading the testimony at both inquiries, as you consider more and more of the original material and documents.

I know Senan Molony has wound up lots of forum members, but his research articles on here do include a number of important otherwise not easily found documents such as Stone and Gibson's 18th April statements, and the transcripts of taped recorded interviews with Captain Lord in 1961.

I have always considered the layout of The Californian quite important, especially the 'flying bridge', and where Captain Lord's own cabin was, and where the chart room was.

I was very kindly supplied with a copy of The Californian's drawings at quite an early stage, and a copy of the 'registered company signals' (that accorded to Dave Billnitzer's link above).

I then bought Paul Lee's book as recommended to you by Harland. I agree with Harland's recommendations.

I then (if not before) started reading all of Sam Halpern's research articles

Subsequently I have read and re-read endlessly both Leslie Harrison's 'Titanic Myth', and Leslie Reade's 'The Ship That Stood Still'. Both books are subjective. Both are IMHO essential reading when you have some background knowledge. I don't agree with a lot of what is in both books, neither do I agree with some of the conclusions in Paul's book.

I consider Leslie Reade's research in respect of the Boston Newspaper articles when The Californian docked in Boston to be very important. One of his chapters on Captain Lord being cross examined is just superbly written and crafted and I cannot fault a word of it. It accorded exactly with my own first reading of Captain Lord's British Inquiry testimony some 4 months previously.

We will all as individuals assess things differently, and see nuances and points of importance where others will see none - and vice versa.

I find it completely fascinating and absorbing!

I had Sunday Lunch 'out' today as it was my birthday last week, and after we had finished was asked why I hadn't done this and that in my workshop so I explained I had spent so much time considering 'The Californian Incident'. I was asked what this was, and so with the aid of a cleared table and lots of condiments proceeded to attempt to explain, and after 5 minutes we had quite a crowd round the table listening on intently!

Don't be afraid to ask questions! I've made lots and lots of mistakes and have needed a lot of help!

Cheers,

Julian


Thanks so much Julian, I have made a note of the links you have provided and the books you recommend. Very best wishes for your birthday last week (how many books on Titanic did you receive or do you have them all!) It’s a very addictive subject I agree. Well, the workshop can wait can’t it :D

I know the general story of Titanic but have never read in-depth about the Californian. It sort of goes over my head about the atmospherics etc playing a part in it all but I will try my very best to learn about these things. I don’t like to ask questions on here as I will feel like a buffoon in front of all you very intelligent people o_O
 
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SmileyGirl

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Off topic, and a bit late, but Happy Birthday Julian!



Also very wise words to follow, when it comes to Titanic or anything related to her, nothing is ever as it seems (which seems a bit of an exaggeration but is true).

Yes, and so many strange circumstances came together to create the disaster, it’s quite hard to believe.
 
S

SmileyGirl

Guest
Not sure in what country you live, but in USA one could take any book in a local library, and if they do not have the book there, they will order one from another libraries and deliver to your local one, and everything is free.

Thanks very much Mila. I have a few of the most basic books on Titanic but there are so many out there, it gets a bit expensive so I need to pick and choose and also make sure not to get any of the rubbish! I will try and get the library to order a couple. I most definitely would never get the Riddle of the Titanic :D
 
S

SmileyGirl

Guest
@SmileyGirl Don't worry about being ignorant of certain topics. Read as much as you can and never be afraid to ask questions or contribute an opinion.

Who knows, you may be the one who points out that the Emperor has no clothes !!!

Haha, thanks Rob. Wouldn’t it be great if I solved the riddle of the Californian. I would be so rich wouldn’t I :D
 
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Julian Atkins

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Hi SG,

I really pushed the boat out this week!

I ordered secondhand copies of 'Titanic Calling' and 'Titanic Signals of Disaster' as a birthday treat, each costing £3.30 free postage, and both arrived yesterday and were in mint condition!

'Titanic Signals of Disaster' includes a pic of one of perhaps only 2 original Marconi Service Forms (chits) that survive written out by Cyril Evans of The Californian and the message to The Antillian written out in Captain Lord's own quite distinctive handwriting. That was quite something to see! Sort of a WOW moment! Well worth the £3.30 if not considerably more!

This sort of thing crops up more and more as you get more involved!

Cheers,

Julian
 
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SmileyGirl

Guest
That’s great Julian, that was a lovely birthday treat! I will look out for these. I have ordered a couple of secondhand books from Amazon but they were sadly not in the condition that they said they were. Which sites would you recommend for second hand books?
 

Mike Spooner

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Jan 31, 2018
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Hi Smiley,
I have read the follow books on the Californian ship:
Titanic The ship That Never Sank? By Robin Gardiner
Titanic and the Californian by Rob Kamps
The Ship That Stood Still by Leslie Reade
Titanic and the Mystery Ship by Senan Molony
The Titanic and the Californian by Peter Padfield
Defending Captain Lord Part Two by Leslie Harrison
A Titanic Myth by Leslie Harrison
Report into The Loss of the SS Titanic by Samuel Halpern
The Titanic and the Indifferent Stranger by Paul Lee.
All books will offer some thing different and one can see authors are reading the other books and adding a bit more information to their own book!
Most controversial has to be Robin Gardiner who starts off OK but then gets involved with the switch of Titanic to Olympic which never happen!
Leslie Harrison will clash with Leslie Reade and turns quite nasty to the point of suing the publisher. Harrison belives he reseach is more reliable and Reade is cutting corners and making incorrect statements!
Pick of the bunch? Not easy as each book does offer something different probably go for Paul Lee as it is the newest and has looked into the other books to! Sam Halpern book does cover more issues and certainly an active member for ET.
I still think thier is more to come out of the mystery of Califorinian cargo and why London to Boston?

Mike.
 
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SmileyGirl

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Thanks so much Mike. It certainly looks like the ones by Paul Lee and Sam Halpern are the best ones to go for so I will look at these. I won’t buy anything by Robin Gardiner!

Why is it strange Californian was going from London to Boston?
 

Harland Duzen

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Jan 14, 2017
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The Californian's normally travelled between London / Liverpool and New Orleans but for whatever reason (the coal strike, rearrangement of ships, new / different cargo or another) she went to Boston.

This was the first time both the Californian and Captain Lord ever went to Boston and also the first time Lord would encounter ice.

Also to briefly explain the cargo question, everyone's curious as to what it was she was carrying (,Ernest Gill claims he could't smoke near it implying it was flammable or something).

Back to topic!
 
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SmileyGirl

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I see thanks Harland. Oh yes, I remember in the past reading that he couldn’t smoke near the cargo. So we don’t know what the cargo was? It was kept secret?
 

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