Golden Turkey Award for Worst Titanic Book


Inger Sheil

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Dec 3, 2000
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Nah, Shelley...I insist that 'The Ship that Never Sank' by Robin Gardiner could give them a run for their money. It's even more bloody ghastly than its forerunner, 'The Titanic Conspiracy' (or 'The Riddle of the Titanic')
 
Nov 12, 2000
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My vote for the worst book is William Barnes' Thomas Andrews Voyage into History: Titanic Secrets Revealed through the Eyes of her Builder.

In this book Barnes professes to have been Thomas Andrews in a previous life. No matter what your views on reincarnation it is hard to take this book seriously, as Barnes' story has more holes in it than the mythical 200 foot gash in Titanic's side.

Barnes gifts his Andrews with all the insight of a 20th century scientist: the rudder being too small, the iron being brittle, too much slag in the rivets - all are theories that have been promoted relatively recently, but according to Barnes, Andrews knew all this back in 1912.

Even worse is the shameful portrayal of Ismay who is reduced to a two dimensional villain right out of a B movie. The most outrageous is the scene where Barnes has Ismay scrawling 'Unsinkable' across the blueprints. Please!!!

this book is a hoot.
all the best, Michael (TheManInBlack) T
 
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Dan Cherry

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Mar 3, 2000
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Confession:
My name is Dan, and I own Chuck Pelligrino's book, "Her Name, Titanic."
(sob)

Shelley,
I have to admit that I wasted, er, spent a whole $3.95 for 'Her Name, Titanic' way back when it first came out in paper back. The book isn't even on my shelf of numerous Titanic books, so shameful is it to own, but rather resides buried in a box in the back of the store room.
My nomination for the 'turkey'...
 
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Kelly Beth Vogelsong

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I own, "Her Name..." as well....but I keep it out on the shelf where everyone can see it.

Undoubtedly, there are some pieces of information in there that others clearly don't know about. Of course, these are probably people who know nothing about the Titanic in the first place. Anyway -

Not the greatest book ~ not the worst, either.

KB
 

Mike Herbold

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Feb 13, 2001
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Paraphrasing Will Rogers, I never saw a Titanic book I didn't like. Until...
"The Titanic Conspiracy, Cover-ups and Mysteries of the World's Most Famous Sea Disaster" by Robin Gardiner & Dan van der Vat.
Claiming that White Star switched the Olympic and Titanic for insurance reasons is a bigger crock than the wildest JFK conspiracy. I got so disgusted with this one that I threw it.

Inger's selection of "The Ship That Never Sank" by the same author and TheManInBlack's choice of the William Barnes Thomas Andrews book may have been worse, but I refuse to buy or even borrow them to find out.
 
Nov 30, 2000
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Steven Beil's "Down With The Old Canoe: A Cultural History Of The Titanic Disater" could be said to be a tie between good and bad, but I say it deserves the Golden Turkey Award for the OUTRAGEOUS BA-LO-NEY in it which throws the good stuff it has off-balance.
Cases in point: Beil is of the opinion that:
A. "A Night To Remember" has "gender sterotypes"
in it, and
B. has "Nascent nucular anxiety." in it.
Don't make me laugh, bud! That's nuttier than Billy Caufield (a character Micheal Keaton played in a film called "The Dream Team") claiming he played for the New York Rangers when he actually only attacked a referee on the ice once (!).
Another good case in point: Biel also claims that the story of the discovery of the Titanic was made to have "paens to masculinity" in it.
He also contradicts himself when he says that there was no reason to doubt Ballard's sincerety about, and his statement that he was not being theatrical with, his memorial service on the fantail of the Knorr after the T. was found, but then flip-flops back on himself and says that it "did make for good theater" and was featuring some more hokum about "male masculinity" to boot.
Again, don't make me laugh, bud. This guy shoulda been a NOVELIST instead of a historian.
"Canoe" has some good stuff in it, chiefly in Part One of the book, but it's straight downhill from the first veiled attack on ANTR in Part Two on.
I say "attack", because Beil repeatedly whines and moans about "popular history", "collapsing the distance between time", and other things, in his book, and, I swear, his off-the-wall comments on ANTR are because he was so irked by "popular history" that it made him to be off the beam and assail works like ANTR via his loony comments saying it had stuff in it that related to "gender sterotypes" and "nascent nucular anxiety" and other such bull. Eithier that, or it was because he was "an eight-ulcer man on four-ulcer pay" when he wrote the book and desired to get some non-ulcer money by writing hooey which made Ballard look like a clown and Walter Lord like a non-professional, gooey-eyed nostalgist of a historian, and then some. Oh boy, and then some!
I could go on and on, but I'll just close by saying: GIVE THIS BOOK THE GOLDEN TURKEY AWARD.
Nuff said.

Richard K.
 

Tracy Smith

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Apr 20, 2012
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"eight ulcer man on four ulcer pay" Harry Truman!
I remember that quote, I believe it was in reference to the critic who gave his daughter's singing debut a scathing review.
 
Dec 6, 2000
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"Total Titanic" by Marc Shapiro is easily the worst. Rip off city for this one, as I've mentioned elsewhere.

Followed fairly closely by Webb Garrison's "Treasury of Titanic Tales". In this one, I especially like the caption on page 229 "The captain and crew of the Carpathia honored Maggie Brown with a loving cup for her leadership and heroism on the sea between the sinking of the Titanic and the rescue of her lifeboat".
 
Nov 30, 2000
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Right on, Tracy. HST used that phrase in a letter to Washington Post music critic Paul Hume.
I can't recall if Margaret Truman's Constitution Hall concert in Washington D.C. was her debut or part of a tour of hers, but anyway, Harry was actually upset over the death on the day of his daughter's concert of his best friend Charlie Ross. Who was also his press secretary. That, more than Hume's review, is what caused Harry to write that letter.
Happy to relate, Hume did not take Truman's letter personally. He even sent a letter of support to the Prez when Truman fired ol' Douglas MacArthur the year after the letter incident.
Goodness gosh, if it were today, though, meebe Hume would have sued the Prez....
The "ulcer" phrase Harry once heard Franklin Roosevelt's press secretary Steve Early say.
As I have begun to inject "straight talk" into my Titanic writings to blaze through the ether from time to time, I thus chucked what Early and Harry once said at Herr Biel. With my own "non-ulcer pay" phrase added to it. :)

Richard K.
 
Nov 30, 2000
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Yup. Too bad HST wasn't on the ballot last week.
I take it you know a bit about him, Tracy?
I wonder, if in 1912, he wrote down any thoughts of his about the Titanic disaster. He was alive then, you know, and, IIRC, well into his adulthood.
Back on the subject of T. books, "Her Name, Titanic" perhaps isn't all that good eithier, but not as awful as Biel's or any of the BS "cospiracy" books about the T., and the poor general histories about her, too.
THOSE must have DEFNIETELY been written by eight ulcer souls on four ulcer pay who were seeking some non-ulcer money! :)

Richard K.
 

Tracy Smith

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Apr 20, 2012
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Yes, I know quite a bit about Harry...I have at least 22 biographies about him. I don't recall what he said about the Titanic; I'd have to go through the books and look it up. He was still a young man then; I believe the same age as 5th Officer Harold Lowe.

He was rather busy in 1912 trying to earn enough money to marry Bess and support her in style, and also helping his father, who only had two more years to live.

I remember when he died, in 1972, when I was 14. His oldest grandson is about my age.
 
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Cátia Lamy

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Hi everyone!

Unfortunelly I can't say a word about all these books you've talked about.... so if you don't want them and are thinking on threw them away to the carbage basket please do not and just send me them! ;) Once again, I'm jsut asking something!! He he he! Don't think me wrong here, I'm just asking you not to loose a book when somebody could do something with it!

Thanks,
Cátia Lamy, Portugal
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Dear Catia,

I agree with Michael Standart. Just having a book written with the name of Titanic on it does not make it worth having. Some are so wrong that kitty litter paper is too good for them to be treated.

If a book was published where a large portion of the book is based on errors, it makes it hard to sort out the truth from the fiction.

I totally understand the scarce availability of books makes it nice to get any book. But be cautious about what you invest in regarding books on Titanic. Maybe none of them are perfect, but I do believe that there are some that are more perfect than others.

I think that you have your email address posted here somewhere. I will try to find and email you to get your snail mail address. When I come across books and I can, I will try to send out a book to you.

Maureen.
 
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Daniel Rosenshine

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Hello All,

"Just having a book written with the name of Titanic on it does not make it worth having."

I'll drink to that! I visited a library today and checked their catalogue. I found a book called "Sailing first class on Titanic" ... returned it literally within two seconds!

It was a photography book and had NOTHING to do with Titanic at all. I think the author named it that just to get attention, the only problem is, it’s listed under Titanic books and if a Titanic buff picks it up, they're not going to look at it, as it has nothing to do with Titanic.

Thus the purpose is lost, as he loses his possible audience.

I'd give it the golden turkey ... but it has nothing to do with Titanic!

Daniel.
 

Dave Gittins

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Apr 11, 2001
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Leaving aside books that are just plain stupid or push crank theories, my vote goes to "Titanic:the Extraordinary Story of the "Unsinkable" Ship" by Geoff Tibballs, or possibly by a cat of the same name. There is some kind of simple error of fact on nearly every page. Don't ask me for chapter and verse. I read it in the library and would not buy it at $1.
 
Dec 2, 2000
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Come on Gittins, a dollar? You know for certain that you would not even hold the book over due and pay the library 10 cents for fees on that book. Golden Turkey?...aaahhhh, perhaps the plastic squirrel award would be more fitting...rides the bike in the pack and wobbles and after knocking all the blokes off their bikes, is the only one standing.....hmmmmm...I think that best describes what this book does.

Maureen.
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