Books on the third class and their survival


Dec 20, 2011
Hello I was wondering if anyone could help me out. I’m doing a dissertation ‘An investigation of the social aspects and consequences of the sinking of the Titanic and whether or not survival depended on chance or social hierarchy’ and I was wondering if anyone could recommend any books that would be useful for this study?

Thank you

John O'Malley

Oct 6, 2010
Hello, Marian

I can think of a few books that might be of assistance.

A new book which has just come out, but which I have not had the privilege to read yet, is Report into the Loss of the SS Titanic: A Centennial Reappraisal. It has many big names in Titanic research attached to its authors list, and from what I've read in reviews, goes into a good deal of summary of the struggles faced by 3rd class in evacuating the ship.

The Night Lives On by Walter Lord has a whole chapter dealing with the struggles faced by 3rd class passengers. Its predecessor, A Night to Remember, also delves into this somewhat.

There is also George Behe's relatively new book Onboard the RMS Titanic, which contains many detailed accounts from 3rd class passengers.

Senan Molony's book The Irish Aboard Titanic has some very vivid and interesting accounts from 3rd class, as do the books 31 Norwegian Destinies by Per-Christian Sebak and Titanic by Claes-Goran Wetterholm.

The books Titanic at 2am and From Dusk til Dawn by Paul Quinn deal with these aspects of the tragedy to a fair degree.

There are some books comprised of various newspaper interviews with survivors, but many of these are of questionable accuracy. The best I have seen is The Mammoth Book of Titanic by Geoff Tibballs.

Titanic: Women and Children First by Judith Geller has many fascinating stories of 3rd class passengers.

Hope this helps.

Good luck with your study.

Tad G. Fitch

Dec 13, 1999
John has already given some good suggestions regarding books on this topic, or that contain information on this topic. I would also like to mention that Bill Wormstedt, Kent Layton and my book "On A Sea of Glass, The Life & Loss of RMS Titanic", which is due out very shortly, goes into a fair amount of detail about some of the steerage passengers, and follows the story of numerous individuals from Third Class, as well as the crew and other classes, throughout the voyage and aftermath. Good luck with your research!

John, you are absolutely correct about "Centennial Reappraisal." In addition to information mixed in throughout, George Behe and Cathy Akers-Jordan have a highly detailed appendix that analyzes the accounts of steerage passengers, and the obstacles and challenges they faced in reaching the boats. The conclusions they reach are surprising, and refute some myths, while confirming other stories.

Kind regards,

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