And then there's Reade, who suggests outright that the key to what he believes was a conscious decision on Lord's part not to go the aid of a ship in distress was his belief that the other ship was 'something like ourselves'. It is Reade's contention that Lord - oblivious to the fact that it was a large passenger liner going down - was unwilling to risk his own ship in assisting what he took to be a smallish tramp.I think Walter Lord gets close to accusing Captain Lord of cowardice.
As to Walter Lord's "presumption", I would say it's no more presumptuous then any other slants offered by various authors on both sides over the past half century. They all had opinions. Hell, for all I know, one of them might even be right, but none of them were mind readers.
Absolutely. There have been some extraordinarily gifted researchers/authors who have worked on the California story and, using the same primary evidence (or what they choose to use of it) have come up with an array of explanations to cover the facts as we understand them. Interpretations of Lord's actions ranges from fairly pitch black to verging on the hagiographical, with most of us falling somewhere in between the polarities. But when we can't agree precisely on what the sequence of events actually was, there's very little chance of reaching consensus on the question of his motivations and internal thought processes!The trouble with my jaundiced thoughts is that they are not justified by the evidence. In this business we must be wary of mind-reading.