Ghosts of the Titanic


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serena

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Has anyone read Charles Pellegrino's new book "Ghosts of the Titanic" ? Although many people didn't like his last one "Her name Titanic" it's one of my favourite books.Is the new one only about the discovery of the Titanic or also about the voyage and the passengers on board ? Please let me know.
Serena
 
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Tracey McIntire

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Dear Serena,
I just finished reading it. I thought it was quite interesting. There are several new theories presented, including the idea that the Grand Staircase might have floated free from the ship and that Smith might have been hurrying to New York not because he wanted to beat Olympic's record, but due to the fire in the coal bunker. The book is definitely worth a read.
Sincerely,
Tracey
 
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Tracey McIntire

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Hi Serena,
Not much that's new on Thomas Andrews I'm afraid. Just the fact that as he was standing by the fireplace in the 1st Class Smoking Room when the Titanic broke apart, it was quite possible he might have been burned to death before the water overcame him. It is the author's opinion that the stern section caught on fire from the hot coals and even if it had remained afloat, the people would all have been consumed by the fire.
Hope this answers your questions!
Tracey
 
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I rate "Ghosts of the Titanic" as just about the best book I have read on the Titanic disaster. I guess it is easy to be very enthusiastic about a new book but I liked the descriptive style of writing and also what was to me a lot of new and surprising information. I'm satisfied that Dr Pellegrino has laid to rest the never ending debate on the identity of the "mystery ship"! This writer is convinced it was the California, no if's, but's or maybe's.
Another tidbit from the book I found interesting was the discovery of Major Peuchens wallet in the Titanic's debris field. According to "Ghosts of the Titanic" the Major threw his wallet overboard. As we know he was later ordered into boat 6 to assist as a crew member. As boat 6 left the Titanic at 12.55am Dr Pellegrino concludes that the Titanic didn't drift in any current. That's the way I interpreted it anyhow.
I recommend this book to anyone. It is a very interesting read indeed.
 
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Sorry, I left the "n" off the Californian.
I may as well add that apart from Dr Pellegrini's book convincing me that the lights seen from Titanic were indeed those of the Californian, George Behe did a pretty good job too. There are pages of debate on this subject at Mr Behe's web site.
George, if you see this note and have read the section of "Ghosts of the Titanic" dealing with the Californian and Captain Lord I'd appreciate your thoughts.
 
Ghosts of the Titanic by Charles Pellegrino is a Book of the Month Club selection for August. I'm not familiar with it and wonder whether it's worth getting.
 
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Hi Steve,
I have'nt read Her Name: Titanic but I have read Ghosts of the Titanic and I rate it one of the best books I have read on Titanic if not the best. If you look under books about Titanic at this site there is another thread for Ghosts of the Titanic. I posted my thoughts on this book there a few days ago. You can also visit www.amazon.com and in the search window type in ghosts of the titanic and there you will find a couple of in depth reviews of this book.
Along with most people who visit this site I have many books on Titanic. While a select few of those books are far better works than the majority of books available I'm always reluctant to harshly criticise any book simply because writing extensively on any subject is an extremely difficult task. This is especially so in non-fiction where the author has to be meticulous in both research and the presentation of facts. Errors and typo's always seem to find a way into a finished work.
I would recommend Ghosts of the Titanic to anyone. It is a very good read.
Best Regards
GaryT
 
My mistake -- I'd checked the existing threads for this topic before posting this morning and overlooked it, but there it was tonight. Thanks for the double recommendation!
 
Before forking out money for this book, I strongly suggest reading the review of it in The New York Times.

If you are not registered with the NYT you will need to do so, but it is free and in several year's membership I've never been hassled by the NYT.

The URL of the review is http://www10.nytimes.com:80/books/00/08/27/reviews/000827.27parfitt.html

Newcomers to Titanicdom should be warned that the field is plagued by what we Aussies call ratbags, or in Pellegrino's case, raving ratbags.
 
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I visited the NYT and read the book review on Ghosts of the Titanic and I have to say that it is one of the most scathing reviews I have ever read. The reviewer, in this case Michael Parfit, is a very successful author himself so one could hardly say he was under qualified to judge written works. However I sometimes wonder if, once the critics hat is donned, judgement and perspective diminish and the critic becomes just that, a critic. When you really read this review it’s not about the book, it’s all about the author of “Ghosts”, a Dr. Charles Pellegrino.
When I read reviews as negative as the one in the NYT the fact that there isn’t one positive comment to be found, not one, bothers me greatly. Ghosts of the Titanic does have some rather stupid mistakes but it also has some interesting perspective’s on the position of the Californian, the distance of the iceberg when first sighted, the type of damage inflicted on the hull and an interesting hand drawn map of the Titanic’s debris field. I might add I found many other interesting ideas in this book but I will leave it for any one else who reads “Ghosts” to discover them for themselves.

How many books can be written on the Titanic disaster? By this question I mean books that will sell enough copies to get a publisher interested. When you get down to the “nuts and bolts” of it the Titanic disaster it’s a very simple story. A brand new steamer, on her maiden voyage, collides with an iceberg and sinks, taking some 1500 people with her. As there have been numerous books written on this subject a budding author had better have a fresh approach to this disaster to even attain mild interest from a publisher. To write a book that does have that fresh approach the author needs a good imagination and an ability to write in a graphically descriptive manner. In my opinion the attraction of the Titanic is the mystery. What really happened? Was Capt. Smith really in charge or was Ismay calling the shots? Why didn’t the lookouts see the iceberg sooner? How was it that the Titanic was veering to port while Fleet was still on the phone? It goes on and on.

I have a few years under the belt and if I had followed the advice of critics I would have missed seeing some good movies, wouldn’t have listened to some really good music albums and my bookshelf would look rather empty. I would also have missed James Cameron’s Titanic because if I remember correctly it was a movie critic at the NYT who gave this movie a fearful bagging and predicted the movie would sink without trace to the bottom of the sea, just like the real Titanic. The rest, as they say, is history.

A while back I rated Ghosts of the Titanic a good read and I haven’t changed my mind. After all, who knows what really happened aboard Titanic that night? To take a thought from “Ghosts”, a discussion between Walter Lord and the author considers the fact that we only know a third of the Titanic story because only a third of the people survived. As most of those survivors came from the boat deck we know very little about what happened on the other decks. More mysteries.

Finally, just in case anyone thinks I only like off-beat books, among my favourite books on the Titanic are:
Titanic: An Illustrated History by Don Lynch
The Loss of the SS Titanic…..It’s Story and It’s Lessons by Lawrence Beesley
A Night to Remember and The Night Lives On by Walter Lord
Titanic At Two a.m. by Paul Quinn
The Truth about the Titanic by Col. Archibald Gracie
Dave Gittens rated Charles Pellegrino a "raving ratbag". Dave's entitled to his opinion. Dave lives in Australia as I do and he has a nice website but I have to say "raving ratbag" is right over the top in my opinion. I've read some fairly lousy books including ones on the Titanic but I've never felt I had to denigrate an author in that manner. To each his own I guess.

I have written before that books and movies etc are subjective. I have my opinion others have theirs. I don't mind reading a book by someone who is unafraid to use their imagination. I'll even excuse some errors. Mind you I'm yet to read a Titanic book without some errors, it seems it's part of the territory and understandable too.
 
Come to think of it there are several books that keep getting reprinted despite having very little value in the terms of information.
Right off the top of my head
Colin Simpson, Lusitania.
Can anyone name any others...
 
Does Gardiner and Van Der Pelt ring a bell???

This "Titanic Conspiracy" thing never seems to go away despite the best efforts of rivet counters everywhere.

Cordially,
Michael H. Standart
 
All,

A valid point has been raised about Pellegrino's near-monopoly of Walter Lord and I'm glad someone has had the courage to say it.

His web site which carries stories so far on Helen Candee, Edith Russell, and Hugh Woolner is undeniably interesting and the letters and other documents SEEM to be authentic, but how dare he presume to be this sort of "keeper of the flame" for Lord whom I feel so sorry for as I really believe he's been taken advantage of.

That Pellegrino is hoping to enlist financial support for Parkinson's research via the Michael J. Fox Foundation is a very great thing (in itself) and if I didn't know these other negative/suspicious things about him as a writer I'd almost feel his advocacy is completely genuine; as it is, though, I can't help but wonder whether his support of the cause is nearer to being an arbitrary move, a kind of cover for less noble deeds.

Randy
 
Randy:

Thanks for the extra details re: the Francatelli letter. What I do have, as my website says, came from George and Pat Behe, several years ago.

I didn't realize that this was only an excerpt, but glad to hear that George has a longer version now.

Looking forward to seeing the complete publication!
 
Pellegrano seems to dramatize much of his work...
while I enjoyed Her Name Titanic even I could tell he played fast and loose with the facts. I have not read Ghosts of the Titanic. As for The Titanic Conspiracy I found parts of it to be very well written but other parts were not so good. I was amazed at how remarkably little was dedicated to their own theory. About Pellegrino (grano? grino?) taking advantage of Walter Lord, I surely hope that is not the case. He has no more right than anyone else to his (Lord's) files.
 
I'm a bit late joining the party, but since this thread has been recently updated I thought I might add a few words m'self.

Like Randy, I would presume to have more than average knowledge of a certain subject. That subject being cabins. I have been told that Pellegrino made a mess of the cabin allocations in his book, so I found the book in a library to have a look at this mess ... and boy was it a mess!!

Several passengers have more than one cabin, some are in the wrong cabins. He gives Edith Rosenbaum E63 for her luggage! There was another passenger in that cabin originally, although he supposedly moved to an outer cabin with a porthole. In any case, it is not clear whether Edith did have a second cabin, possibly not, but even if she did, it would have been nearby, a vacant cabin on A deck.

He has Candee and Rheims on B deck. However, according to the supposedly never before seen Candee account (which is on his web site - and about which I have many, many doubts) she was on A deck. I have no idea where she was, but I have a feeling both decks are wrong (however that is just that, a feeling).

However as for some proof, Rheims was on A deck and he was continuously interrogated about that and went so far as to draw a diagram of where he was and where he was standing when he saw the iceberg. There is no doubt Rheims was on A deck and not B deck.

There are plenty of other sources, such as the "Cave list" which would prove much of Pellegrino's mess to be wrong.

Daniel.
 

Ben Holme

Member
Hi Daniel,

He gives Edith Rosenbaum E-63 for her luggage!

Yes, and this is condradicted later. On the website, Pellegrino mentions that E-63 had been allocted for her luggage, but later in her account "she" says:

"I then mounted to A-deck where my room was located, and found that a very luxurious cabin had been assigned to me and a vacant cabin *opposite* for my luggage".

I can't imagine Clinch Smith or George Goldschmidt would have been too happy with that arrangememt!

Regards,
Ben
 
I don't know if what I'm about to say has any relevancy to why there are inaccuracies in books by Pellegrino and Butler, but in my writing career, I have been advised by editors and other writers not to waste my time writing an entire book before shopping it around. "Just write a couple sample chapters to accompany the query letter...why write for free?" For one, I write out of pure enjoyment of the craft. But really, I write in freedom to produce the kind of book I want to read. When I write historicals, I want the freedom of time to explore the facts so that my books feel honest and real. I don't want some editor breathing deadlines down my neck. When the pressure of deadlines is added to the mix, the accuracy of the book suffers, and the heart and soul of the book diminishes. I've read some well known authors' latest works who succumbed to the deadline disease and their books were poorly written.
Then there are those writers who should stick to fiction, as they are better storytellers than historians.

As an aside, Dan Butler has been a guest in my home, and he is a charming and compelling storyteller.

All the best,
Kyrila
 
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