BEYOND WALTER LORDOTHER TITANIC BOOKS


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Michael Bezek

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I must confess that the only 2 full length books I've ever read on the Titanic are A Night to Remember and The Night Lives On. While this is in part a tribute to the late Mr. Lord's ability as a writer, it's also due to the fact that a lot of Titanic books out there are just mass market fodder catering to the general interest in the ship and really not worth the paper they're printed on. One book I picked up-and immediately put down again-said she was a CUNARD ship! I don't want to waste my time with books whose only claim to accuracy is that the author randomly picked the name of Smith for the captain! Can anyone suggest some good, accurate Titanic books to supplement Walter Lord?
 

Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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In terms of an over-view of the disaster, I'm a big fan of Geoffrey Marcus' The Maiden Voyage, Michael. He went beyond the established sources and the well-worn rut, and uncovered new and interesting material. He also - as is often the case with pioneering material - made some errors, but then no substantive writer on the subject has produced a work that is completely error free.

There are some other tremendous books, often specialising in a particular area, that represent some innovative research and in some instances excellent writing - Senan Molony's The Irish Aboard Titanic, Stephen Cameron's Belfast's Own spring to mind.

Dave Bryceson's collation of newspaper accounts is another great volume. The transcripts of evidence given at the two inquiries, now available on-line, is an essential starting point that you might already be familiar with.
 
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Alex McLean

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Michael,
I too saw a book that said on the blurb that Titanic was a Cunard liner. I did buy it though because it was on said for only $2 at a second hand bookshop. It was only after I got home that I realised why it was so cheap.

'Her Name: Titanic'

My best,
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Alex
 

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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Books that I highly recommend are--

Davie, Michael. The Titanic. The Full Story of a Tragedy. 1st printing. Lon: Bodley Head. 1986. hardcover. isbn: 037030764X.
Davie, Michael. Titanic. The Death and Life of a Legend. 1st American printing. NY: Knopf. 1987. hardcover. isbn: 0394558162.

This is the same book under two names. It's rather hard to find but good libraries have it. It's one of the few to be written by somebody who actually knows the sharp end from the blunt. It has quite a bit on the British inquiry and the people involved.

Wade, Wyn Craig. The Titanic: End of a Dream. ISBN 0 14 01.6619

This is based on the US inquiry. I don't entirely agree with Wyn's view of Senator Smith, or with some of his conclusions, but the author had access to many private papers of Smith's and throws light on many details of the inquiry and the US political background.
 

Phillip Gowan

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Apr 10, 2001
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I agree with my friend Mr. Tennaro that Don Lynch and Ken Marschall's book Titanic: An Illustrated History is not to be missed. In my opinion it is a better read than any other Titanic book out there--truly one that once you start reading it, it is hard to put down. Some of the others mentioned above (excluding Walter Lord's and Senan Molony's) are quite good factually but aren't "good reads."

Phil
 

Julie Dowen

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May 12, 2004
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Titanic-Women and Children First is very interesting, although it focuses on specific passengers, I found it to contain interesting tidbits and info that I had not previously read. Written by Judith B.Gellar

Titanic an Illustrated History is a beautiful book.
 
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KB Vogelsong

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Titanic an Illustrated History is definitely a must have. I found and purchased, "The Complete Idiot's Guide to the Titanic." It's campy, of course, but it has some useful information. Has anyone else read/bought this book?
 
Sep 22, 2003
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The Three Books I Recomend Most Besides, Lord, Marcus, Beesley, And Gracie are:

Daniel A. Butler, "Unsinkable"
Garzke and Woodward, "Titanic Ships, Titanic Disasters"
D. E. Bristow "Titanic: Sinking The Myths"

These 3 books are most accurate on the in my opinion.
 

Logan Geen

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Dec 2, 2001
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Hey KB-
I've read "The Complete Idiot's Guide". It is indeed easy and enjoyable reading. For folks who are well read on the subject it offers nothing new but I highly recommend it to "newcomers". It may be a good idea for those people who only associate the word "Titanic" with the film!

Another good one is the Dorling Kindersley "Eyewitness Titanic". While that one is more for kids I liked the design of it.
 
Sep 22, 2003
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I bought Idiot's Guide a couple of years ago. As Logan said, a useful newcomers book. The works by Gracie and Beesley are IMO, good primary sources insofar as they are direct accounts from people who were actually there and written when the events were fresh in their minds. They were also two of the most levelheaded accounts of the disaster that were published at the time.
 

Marty Comes

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May 20, 2004
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Hi Michael!
I think you would really enjoy Unsinkable by Daniel Allen Butler. It's very well written, and he was helped with his research by Mr. Lord.

Also, Titanic an Illustrated History is wonderful.
I've always called that book my "Titanic Bible".
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KB Vogelsong

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Logan~

Definitely a newcomers book, a collector's or a student's. I haven't read the other you mentioned. I'll have to check it out.
 

Logan Geen

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Dec 2, 2001
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Unsinkable is a very enjoyable book to read, although I have a few impressions that I think others have noticed: The segments of the book regarding the sinking is almost word for word the same as "A Night to Remember". I noticed that the first time I read it. I'm assuming it is because Walter Lord helped Mr. Butler with the book. Also, Butler does make some conclusions in his book that are controversial (his appendix on Captain Smith may be of particular interest). There are no major errors in the book but minor things he mentions I can't verify anywhere else (for example, he mentions Andrews and Captain Smith conferring in A-36 and Fleet & Lee reporting the sighting of a ship's light to the bridge)...which is confusing to say the least. Overall though, I rate it very highly. His original material is extremely well written.

KB-This is the Eyewitness book here: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/078944724X/qid=1086232839/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/102-9079251-1843368?v=glance&s=books&n=507846 . It is well illustrated and I at least enjoyed it.
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There are other DK Titanic books for a younger audience as well. In fact, it was a book similar to that that spurred my interest.

BTW, this book here http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1931182345/qid=1086232888/sr=8-4/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i4_xgl14/102-9079251-1843368?v=glance&s=books&n=507846 looks a bit interesting. Titanic crops up everywhere!
 
May 3, 2002
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For me My first book was Lawrence Beesley's work.
My grandmother gave me her copy when i was quite young.

My next major book would be ANTR which was the first "adult" book I bought. Marschall and Lynch would come much later. All three are a must.

Art of Titanic is, of course, in a class of its own and a visual banquet of Fine Art IMO. Ken's Latest with Don Lynch Ghosts Of The Abyss is also a must.

Bob Ballard's Discovery captures a pivotal moment in the Titanic story: Her discovery on the seabed.

Just a few thoughts I hope will be of help.

cheers

Martin
 
Feb 21, 2003
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Ok time to chime in Here are my recommended Titanic books:

1) Titanic: Safety Speed & Sacrifice George Behe

2) Titanic: A Survivor's Story Archibald Gracie

3) Titanic Voices Donald Hyslop et.al

4) Titanic: Belfast's Own Stephen Cameron

Three are many others and but I find myself referring to these the most.
 
Feb 24, 2004
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Hi, Susan!

Excellent list! :)

...to which I would add, just off the top of my head and in no particular order:

1) The Last Log of the Titanic - David G. Brown

2) The Loss of the S.S. Titanic - Lawrence Beesley (previously mentioned)

3) The Ship That Stood Still - Leslie Reade (if you can locate a copy)

4) The Titanic and Silent Cinema - Stephen Bottomore

5) The Last Days of the Titanic - Fr. Eddie O'Donnell (Francis Browne photographs w. text)

In line with what Inger said, most of the general Titanic offerings are simply retreads of thrice-familiar material, offering little in the way of new material or insights. How many times can we be served warmed-over hash before it becomes deadly boring? '-)

Best wishes!

Roy
 

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