If you're talking about the history of the ship rather than the discovery of the wreck, I would recommend you start with "A Night To Remember" by Walter Lord, followed by "The Night Lives On" by the same author.
Next, going to early sources, "The Loss of the SS Titanic" by Lawrence Beesley and "The Truth About The Titanic" by Co. Archibald Gracie - both first hand accounts by passengers.
Next, "The Maiden Voyage" by Geoffrey Marcus and "Titanic - The Death and Life of a Legend" by Michael Davie.
By now you should be ready for specifics and if I were you I'd read the testimonies at the U S and British Hearings (there's a webpage for these but I don't off hand know the correct address).
And by this time you will know which part or parts of the catastrophe you'd wish to explore further - each area boasting a whole phalanx of corresponding books to choose from.
karel i would recommend titanic an illistrated history by don lynch it is a very good book it has ecerything you want to know about titanic from the the meeting with mr ismay and lord pirre to the maiden voyage to the night of the sinking and the rescue and what happened during the inquiry of both the american and the british committies and what happen to some survivors after they returned to america and the book has paintings by ken marshall which are amazing if you are looking for books on the discovery of the titanic i recommend the siscovery of the titanic by dr robert ballard i hope this helps jennifer mueller
To all; for the complete transcrpts of the American and British investigations, go to Titanic Inquiry Project at http://www3.mwis.net/~breaktym/ This is something worth bookmarking...which I have. I intend to get hardcopies of course. One can't always depend on the phone lines, electricity, or satillite links to the internet working when you need them to. Be warned, the complete transcripts are expensive. Amazon.com wants $85.00 US for the transcript of the British Inquiry and that's at the discount rate. They want $120.00 US for the transcript of the American investigation.
I have several books on the subject, including Titanic, triumph and Tragedy (VERY useful appendixes and deck plans which identify staterooms by cabin number as well as other spaces by their perpose), Titanic, An Illustrated History, Titanic and Her Sisters, Olympic and Britannic, Titanic, The Official Story(Has deck plans, copies of documents, and the Report on the Loss of the S.S. Titanic which is the report produced by the British Inquiry) and the excellant The Birth Of The Titanic which was written by Michael McCaugan.
No one book is without it's flaws, but they are good ones to have.
>Be warned, the complete transcripts are expensive. Amazon.com wants $85.00 US for the transcript of the British Inquiry and that's at the discount rate. They want $120.00 US for the transcript of the American investigation.<
Before the website containing the Hearings was online you had to 'pay the price' if you wanted to read the original (Tom Kuntz notwithstanding) uncut files. I happen to snag one of the first off the presses of the American Hearings put out by "Documents on Demand' - Congressional Information Services, Inc, Bethesda, Maryland. This was a large, telephone book sized soft cover and sold for right at $100 - they have now gone to a hardback, very handsome copy for the same price.
I mention this because the original soft cover wasn't just the text. The company had painstakingly zeroxed each and every page from the original hearings. So, with this version, you not only got to read the text but see how it first appeared in print, type face, mistakes and all.
Better than books is the CD ROM from the British Public Records Office. It contains both enquiries and much more and it's searchable. It costs a bomb from Amazon or from the Brits.
As to general books, it's hard to recommend any without reservations. The revered Walter Lord's works are a good start but they must be read with the knowledge that they contain numerous errors. Some are not Lord's doing, because ANTR was written before the wreck was found. Others are the result of Lord's very fast work which allowed some things to slip in. For instance, he mentions crewmen who were not on board. He's still hard to beat for atmosphere and the human interest side.
I'm a fan of Michael Davie and Wyn Craig Wade, who are both generally accurate. Avoid the bandwagon books that came out in 1998 on the back of the movie. One of the worst is by a fellow called Tibballs, or possibly by a cat of the same name.
Hi Pat, I have Tom Kuntz's book, which unfortunately is abridged. Better then nothing I suppose and it does have most of the important testimony. Of course, I want the whole thing, and I want to be able to read it when the electricity goes out of the phone lines go screwy. In my part of South Carolina, that happens a bit more often then I like.
That's the way I feel about it. Great to pull up the heavy tome for a thorough research or a quick check of facts. I started with Kuntz but had to have one of the 'big ones' (the unabridged) to add to my library. I still need to buy a complete British Hearings, tho'.
Pat, I've got the complete British inquiry on order from Amazon.com though it's delayed on backorder. The Full text of the American investigation is now out of print and I may have to copy from the on-line site that has it
Quinn's books are both excellent! I think "Titanic at 2AM" is one of the best and most detailed Titanic books I have ever read. If you enjoy passenger accounts, then "Dusk to Dawn" is also an extremely good read.