Pellegrino as a scientist


Arun Vajpey

Member
Jul 8, 1999
2,128
717
388
65
IMO, a lot of people are enamoured by Pellegrino's writing style and so are prepared to overlook the dubious and often erroneous content. I have always had a slightly cynical side in forming an opinion about the way in which non-fiction is presented. I prefer people to stick to facts that can be analyzed, even if that results in the overall narrative becoming a bit meandering. That is the reason why I love reading On A Sea Of Glass but don't think much of Titanic: An Illustrated History, which IMO sacrifices detail in favour of drama.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Mike Bull2019

Member
Oct 8, 2019
106
96
73
UK
There's a lot of truth there; when Charlie released 'Her Name, Titanic' it really struck a chord with the younger me at the time because it was the first book that really spoke to me about the obsession we can get with the subject, the way it can hook you and never let go, rather than just being another dry run through of the facts. It took a more adult perspective- and the two increasingly inferior and fanciful follow up books- for me to see where things were really at.

Yes, to be honest I think 'On A Sea Of Glass' should be required reading, with no excuses.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Encyclopedia Titanica

Staff member
Member
Sep 1, 1996
4,987
113
513
Slightly off to a tangent, there was a terrific biography written in the 70s, it was scrupulously researched but it also contained a certain amount of made-up dialogue, so it enraged the purists who could only bear to see something where every t could be crossed and every i dotted as verifiably historically accurate. Since then other biographies have come out that adopt this (arguably) over-pedantic approach, but they are no way as interesting or engaging to read! I can't comment on CP books as I have never actually read one! But I wonder if there are similarities?
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 users

Cam Houseman

Member
Jul 14, 2020
1,824
305
148
16
Maryland, USA
...except in 'Ghosts' he says it several times and there's even smoke drawn coming from the stern section in the illustrations, one caption for which ends with-

'The stern is now burning and sinking'.

A pretty definitive statement, I would say.
Page 225
“Forty-five minutes later, when the steward [steward F. Dent Ray] looked up from the sea, and watched the stern break away, he noticed a strange glow near the smoking room, where Thomas Andrews and William Stead had last been seen. From boat four, Oiler Thomas Ranger also thought some of the ship’s lights had stayed on long after the last of the steam engines should have died. He distinctly recalled seeing a fiery red glow abreast of the fourth smokestack, shining through the windows of the smoking room.
Near the end, the broad fireplace aft in the smoking room had been burning, only a few feet from Thomas Andrews [now we know he was on the bridge, only outdated information]. During the moments leading up to the break, the room had tilted forty-five degrees, and the fireplace must surely have spilled its contents across the carpeted Floor”

He backs up the statement with facts, and pieces the facts together from Walter Lord’s personal files of interviews and correspondence he had with the survivors, which Mr. Lord gave to Dr. Pellegrino

I think the theory is just either outdated entirely, or bits and pieces of the theory could be changed to make it viable. For example, the Smoking room had red and blue floral linoleum tiles, but there was a carpet infront of the fireplace, right?

Besides, picking outdated theories won’t ruin his credibility

PS: this not meant to be rude, but simply a friendly debate :)
 

Cam Houseman

Member
Jul 14, 2020
1,824
305
148
16
Maryland, USA
Slightly off to a tangent, there was a terrific biography written in the 70s, it was scrupulously researched but it also contained a certain amount of made-up dialogue, so it enraged the purists who could only bear to see something where every t could be crossed and every i dotted as verifiably historically accurate. Since then other biographies have come out that adopt this (arguably) over-pedantic approach, but they are no way as interesting or engaging to read! I can't comment on CP books as I have never actually read one! But I wonder if there are similarities?
Hi Phi—Titanica!
I definitely recommend Dr Charlie Pellegrino’s books, but start with his “Farewell Titanic: Her final legacy”
 

Mike Bull2019

Member
Oct 8, 2019
106
96
73
UK
There are also plenty of accounts of red glows, showers of sparks, and all sorts of other things going on as and just after the ship split. From that, we cannot suddenly decide to illustrate the stern section with smoke coming from a fire and definitively state that it is 'burning'. That is the issue here- cheery picking bits and pieces of information and then making it into a new 'FACT'.

Put down your obsession with CP and his old books, and read OASOG.
 
Last edited:

Arun Vajpey

Member
Jul 8, 1999
2,128
717
388
65
Near the end, the broad fireplace aft in the smoking room had been burning, only a few feet from Thomas Andrews [now we know he was on the bridge, only outdated information]. During the moments leading up to the break, the room had tilted forty-five degrees, and the fireplace must surely have spilled its contents across the carpeted Floor”
It is such baseless descriptions and suppositions thereof make CP's books unappealing to me. The so called "forty-five degree tilt" was discounted a long time ago. I suggest you read Sam Halpern's article "Why A Low Angle Break?" and his convincing explanation with appropriate graphics as to why the bending effect on the keel was at its peak when the stern reached an angle of 11 to 12 degrees.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Cam Houseman

Member
Jul 14, 2020
1,824
305
148
16
Maryland, USA
There are also plenty of accounts of red glows, showers of sparks, and all sorts of other things going on as and just after the ship split. From that, we cannot suddenly decide to illustrate the stern section with smoke coming from a fire and definitively state that it is 'burning'. That is the issue here- cheery picking bits and pieces of information and then making it into a new 'FACT'.

Put down your obsession with CP and his old books, and read OASOG.
Nobody has an obsession. I’m going to keep defending him when people make fun of him.

Are you forgetting this book was made in 1998 then delayed until 2000? Dr. Pellegrino isn’t required to watch every single documentary

I do remember once on Facebook you said he made up the Downblast, then Bill came in and said its real
 

Mike Bull2019

Member
Oct 8, 2019
106
96
73
UK
Pointing out poor writing/the wilful creation of new 'facts' is not 'making fun'.

When the book was written or what documentaries Dr P may or may not have watched (which I did not even mention) has no bearing on the point I am making, which I repeat for clarity-

Pellegrino claimed that the stern section was burning- his own conclusion which he presented as a hard fact. That is poor writing.
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Cam Houseman

Member
Jul 14, 2020
1,824
305
148
16
Maryland, USA
Nobody has an obsession. I’m going to keep defending him when people make fun of him.

Are you forgetting this book was made in 1998 then delayed until 2000? Dr. Pellegrino isn’t required to watch every single documentary

I do remember once on Facebook you said he made up the Downblast, then Bill came in and said its real

Pointing out poor writing/the wilful creation of new 'facts' is not 'making fun'.

When the book was written or what documentaries Dr P may or may not have watched (which I did not even mention) has no bearing on the point I am making, which I repeat for clarity-

Pellegrino claimed that the stern section was burning- his own conclusion which he presented as a hard fact. That is poor writing.
He didn’t, it was a theory Mike, and backed it up!
Same thing what Sam did, created a theory and backed it up. Weather book is outdated, written in 97-98, published and delayed in 2000
 
Last edited:

Mike Bull2019

Member
Oct 8, 2019
106
96
73
UK
For one thing, what does posting something from Facebook prove? In fact I would go as far as to ask you to remove that, seeing as it was a discussion about downblast, which is not what we are discussing here, as it would appear to be little more than a cheap attempt to score a point, using a discussion that did not even take place on this platform.

Secondly, and yet again, the burning stern was presented as hard fact. Not a theory, but an absolute- 'the stern is now burning and sinking'.
 
Last edited:

Cam Houseman

Member
Jul 14, 2020
1,824
305
148
16
Maryland, USA
For one thing, what does posting something from Facebook prove? In fact I would go as far as to ask you to remove that, seeing as it was a discussion about downblast, which is not what we are discussing here, as it would appear to be little more than a cheap attempt to score a point, using a discussion that did not even take place on this platform.

Secondly, and yet again, the burning stern was presented as hard fact. Not a theory, but an absolute- 'the stern is now burning and sinking'.
Far enough, sorry Mike.

Are you ignoring that he backed it up, which all theorists do
 

Mike Bull2019

Member
Oct 8, 2019
106
96
73
UK
OK, thanks for that. I had reported the post, but the mods will see that you took action when asked.

I promise, I'm really not ignoring his sources and I really don't intend to be difficult, or in any other way persist with a witch hunt- but whatever his bits and pieces of source material, it is the fact that he crosses the line from saying what MAY have happened, to stating definitively that it DID happen. Compare-

'Seaman Bloggs saw a red glow coming from the vicinity of the Smoking Room. Might there have been some spilt hot coals? Could they have caused a fire?'

to-

'Seaman Bloggs saw a red glow coming from the Smoking Room. The stern was now burning and sinking'.

That's my sole issue here- it's as if he simply couldn't resist going that bit further, for the sake of a more dramatic passage/book. And when something like that is done, it causes people to question everything else he writes. We all think we know everything(!) but what about the layman reader? The entry level enthusiast? They see a book from a guy who has been on multiple expeditions, been down to the wreck lots of times, and his book has a dfiagram of the stern with smoke coming from it and a description of it 'now burning'. To me that is unacceptable, and is the only point I am making here.

Peace!
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Cam Houseman

Member
Jul 14, 2020
1,824
305
148
16
Maryland, USA
OK, thanks for that. I had reported the post, but the mods will see that you took action when asked.

I promise, I'm really not ignoring his sources and I really don't intend to be difficult, or in any other way persist with a witch hunt- but whatever his bits and pieces of source material, it is the fact that he crosses the line from saying what MAY have happened, to stating definitively that it DID happen. Compare-

'Seaman Bloggs saw a red glow coming from the vicinity of the Smoking Room. Might there have been some spilt hot coals? Could they have caused a fire?'

to-

'Seaman Bloggs saw a red glow coming from the Smoking Room. The stern was now burning and sinking'.

That's my sole issue here- it's as if he simply couldn't resist going that bit further, for the sake of a more dramatic passage/book. And when something like that is done, it causes people to question everything else he writes. We all think we know everything(!) but what about the layman reader? The entry level enthusiast? They see a book from a guy who has been on multiple expeditions, been down to the wreck lots of times, and his book has a dfiagram of the stern with smoke coming from it and a description of it 'now burning'. To me that is unacceptable, and is the only point I am making here.

Peace!
Alright Mike, I agree with you! Thank you for laying it out for me

I am sorry for the arguing

have a happy Easter :)

PS: I enjoyed TTSM volume 1 a lot!
 

Mike Bull2019

Member
Oct 8, 2019
106
96
73
UK
It's cool. Glad you liked the book- they are heavy going, but contain so much. Now you KNOW which book I'm going to tell you to read next!
 
  • Like
Reactions: 1 user

Arun Vajpey

Member
Jul 8, 1999
2,128
717
388
65
Pointing out poor writing/the wilful creation of new 'facts' is not 'making fun'.
I have to agree with this. In fact, some of the reviews for Her Name, Titanic (Brought tears to my eyes etc) actually made me laugh. Such writing style is fine if one is writing poetry but not hard, cold facts.
He didn’t, it was a theory Mike, and backed it up!
Backed it up with what? More of similar theories of his own making.
Same thing what Sam did, created a theory and backed it up.
Not the same thing Cam. First of all, Sam has always said that his calculations and following conjectures should be considered as the most probable scenario and no more. And his 'backing up' is always based on mathematical and logical probabilities, like that 'bending effect' graph that I have mentioned several times before. If you have not done so already, I very strongly suggest you buy and read RITLO SS Titanic: A Centennial Appraisal.
 

Arun Vajpey

Member
Jul 8, 1999
2,128
717
388
65
If one thing annoys me more about books presenting non-fictional topics, it is when they choose style over substance. Pellegrino did that in all his books and even then his 'style' is not something I liked anyway. Especially when dealing with a complicated conundrum of a subject like the Titanic disaster, it is best done in painstaking and as accurately as possible presentation of facts, taking special care with timelines so that the reader does not get disorientated. That is exactly what OASOG does very well and is better for it. The slight repetitiveness in places is in fact done carefully so that the reader is able to 'go back' mentally to take-up the event that he/she left off a few pages earlier.
 
Last edited:

Cam Houseman

Member
Jul 14, 2020
1,824
305
148
16
Maryland, USA
I get what you're saying, yeah

but many authors stretch the truth sometimes

In "A Night to Remember" Walter Lord said William T Stead was nagged by a dream he had about throwing cats out of a top story window, and he never cited evidence about that.

Good Morning to everyone, and good afternoon to my british and other nationalities friends
 

Similar threads

Similar threads