Darkest Hours New contestant for worst Titanicrelated book ever

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Daryl C Carpenter

I was recently flipping through a book from the 1970s called "Darkest Hours", which is intended to be a huge encyclopedia of major disasters. Frankly, if the book is as accurate as the Titanic, I would take the whole thing with a grain of salt!
Things I learned about the Titanic from reading this book:
-Archibald Butt threatened to shoot any man who entered the lifeboats before the woman and children entered. Except for the first 330, of course.
-The captain removed the ship's flag and died humming a stirring hyme.
-The Carpathia raced towards the Titanic's position at 24 1/2 knots
-The captain had a cursed mummy in his cabin's closet
-Several men entered the lifeboats disguised as women
-The Titanic had a maximum speed of 30 knots, and was sailing at a "conservative" 22 knots through the ice field
-After Fleet spotted the iceberg, Murdoch ran into the wheelhouse, and ordered "All Stop" and "Hard a Starboard"
Well, enough. I might actually post the entire article, though I don't know wether to laugh or cry at it.
And the photo of Titanic's launching was actually of Olympic; Olympic's name was erased and replaced with a sloppy scribbled-on "Titanic".

Joshua Gulch

Mar 31, 2001
I wouldn't toss "Darkest Hours" to the wolves just for the Titanic entry. It's been a while since I read that section, so can't comment too much on it. The book is quite interesting and informative nonetheless. It's where I learnt of the Hans Hedtoft, and the part about the SS Rio De Janeiro was of particular interest to me.

Those of you who've never seen this book, I highly recommend it, if only as a springboard for further research. There's lots of good stuff in there. Grab it if you can find it. It was written by Jay Robert Nash.


Dave Gittins

Mar 16, 2000
Such a funny book deserves to be read. Then tear it into separate pages and hang them on a nail in the smallest room.

sharon rutman

Has anyone ever noticed that the Titanic and Fiction simply do not mix. Books like the Memory of Eva Ryker and Raise the Titanic always fall flat.

Matthew Lips

Mar 8, 2001
Do they, Sharon? Can't say I've noticed. Raise the Titanic and Eva Ryker I found to be entertaining reads, if clearly a bit far-fetched at times.

The movie version of Raise the Titanic was flat, but the book? Far from it - but then I don't consider the author or his hero to be a sexist pig...which is where this conversation is heading again, hm?
Jun 4, 2000
Titanic and fiction can mix quite well in the right hands - and enjoying fiction can be so gloriously subjective too, can't it.

Sharon, I don't know if you know the book, but one of my very favourite novels, let alone favourite Titanic novels, is Beryl Bainbridge's 'rights of passage' story Every Man For Himself. Another Titanic related novel I like a lot is Erik Fosnes Hansen's Psalm at Journey's End, an elegaic chronicle of Titanic's band members and the paths that took them to Titanic - all completely invented, of course.

Matthew, I think Eva Ryker a hoot of a book too, not to be taken seriously but enjoyed for what it is. Perhaps Stanwood doesn't quite pull off the genre, but it rips along at a cracking pace and manages to be more entertaining than others. It's also got the added cachet of what must be the most appallingly funny and gratuitious sex scene in all of Titanic fiction. And yes, that's even taking Shannon O'Corks Ice Fall, aka Titanic: a Love Story, into account.

I do think Raise the Titanic hasn't aged well, and not just for the gender politics of Cussler and his characters in that particular book. In fairness to Cussler, I haven't read any of his other books and there are writers in that genre, from that time, whose work I find more objectionable. That doesn't mean I didn't enjoy the scene where Titanic breaks the surface. However, having cut my teeth on Alistair Maclean and Len Deighton and still re-reading them from time to time, maybe I should try another, more recent Cussler? Any recommendations?

sharon rutman

Well, my husband and son like Cussler--maybe it's a guy thing. While I'm hardly a Cussler fan (everyone thinks I'm too harsh and judgemental) I have Saraha somewhere at home.

Timothy Trower

One other book where the Titanic and fiction were blended very well is an older work -- Amanda/Miranda by Richard Peck. He tells in a very compelling manner the tale of a young lady and her maid, from the time that Miranda is introduced into the household through their trip on the Titanic -- and beyond. It is arguably the best Titanic romance/fiction written.

It was published in 1980, and a new abridged edition is available for a younger (read less mature) audience. Numerous copies are available used, and of course, Amazon is a great resource.
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