Thank you Beth. I have ordered the book from the adress you gave. I will probably receive in a couple of weeks. Then I will tell you about how the book is, unless others gets hold of the book before me, and comments it.
According to the publisher’s website, this is the true story of a Lebanese immigrant Anna Thomas (Youseff, Toma or Touma) bound for Michigan who traveled third class with her two small children, Maria and George, on the Titanic. Despite not knowing a word of English, Anna Thomas managed to get herself and her family into one of the lifeboats. They were amongst the very few Lebanese passengers to survive the sinking.
If you were expecting to read a third class survivor’s account of the disaster, you will be disappointed. Anna’s account, as told to the author, her grandson, is all of three page long. Even as a biography of the three survivors, this book is a letdown as there is very little information about Anna of her two children in the book. Most of the biographical information is about the author himself.
In addition, this has to be one of the most padded books I have seen in quite a while. Of the 122 pages in the book, only about a third of them are about the Thomas family. Most of the rest of the book contains excerpts from the American Senate and British Board of Trade inquiries, with an additional pictorial section of photographs taken from Jack Winocour’s book. None of this material has any direct relation to the Thomas family story with the possible exception of a brief few pages taken from the inquiries that tell about the lifeboat they were in, which the author claims was number 2. Most of my other research material seems to indicate the Thomases were actually in collapsible C, however.
The one thing that shines through in this book is that the author truly loved his grandmother, and wanted her to be remembered. It is too bad there is so little actual material about her or her experiences included in this book to give the reader more than the merest inkling of who she was. Except for us compulsive completists, this one is, unfortunately, not worth your time.
Hi Michael - I am sorry to hear the book isn't very good. I was thinking (hoping) it would be mostly about Anna and her children. I haven't seen many 3rd class survivor accounts of the disaster. I guess I won't go out and buy this book. Maybe they would have this at the public library. Thanks for the review Michael!
Beth, I agee with you 100%. I was initially very excited to learn about another 3rd class survivor's account as they are just not very common. what a letdown.
you might try getting this one through the library, although I am not sure if you will succeed. this book is printed by what is called a vanity press. that means that the publisher only prints off copies as they get orders for them. if you do decide to try and get the book through the library, please let me know how you make out.
I think the book is okay, but I'll have to warn anyone who buys it that the 'Passenger List' in the back, probably taken from a very old newspaper account of the disaster, is full of mistakes (112, to be exact - I have counted - I have WAY too much time on my hands.)
Most of them are spelling mistakes eg. Ethel being spelt as Ethet, Peacock being spelt as Peacocd, or children not being listed as children, but there are some more 'atrocious' ones such as Susanna Riihivuroi being listed as 'Sanni Panula,' Ida Lefebvre being listed twice with absolutely no mention of her sister Jeannie, Anna Danbom listed as Sigrid Danoff, passengers such as Berthe Leroy, Argene Del Carlo, Elizabeth Catherine Brown and Mary Fortune being listed as victims, 7-year old Catherine Nellie Johnston listed as a married woman, and the complete exclusion of 38 Irish passengers (plus the grandmother's name being spelt wrong.)
I may seem nitpicky, but that's the price of being an overly obsessed (to the point of insanity) Titanic buff.
I think the story that the author relates about his grandmother is heartwarming and full of love, as well as being full of excitement. I never knew so many of those things about the Thomas' escape from the ship, such as George Touma being left on the boat deck and Anna getting her finger slammed in the door. I know most of you Encyclopedia Titanica people will say the author is lying, but when she told her story she was a very old woman relaying the most tragic event of her life; what would she gain from lying?! I know some of the details like the number of the lifeboat may have been a little off, but if she says she and her daughter almost got locked behind a gate, then in the name of Obi-Wan Kenobi, they DID almost get locked behing a gate! The only people who know what really happened are the survivors themselves, and it's high time we actually started listening to what they say rather than what we assume.