Let us know what you think of the book. I have some quibbles with it (inevitably), but I believe it is not only one of the most impressive Titanic works in terms of meaty content, it's also one of the most well written books on the subject. Ocassionally I've followed in Reade's research footsteps (coming across cards for him in PRO documents, finding some of the sources he accessed for that work) and I'm continually amazed by his extraordinary talent for finding new sources. I only wish it were more widely available.
Minor stuff, and mostly opinion based. I'd have to re-read it, but I remember querying some of the emphasis he put on Stone's reported later admission. It was an important bit of data to include, but it was hearsay reported many years after Stone's death, even if it did come from his family. In terms of factual data, the book stands up remarkably well for a work that incorporates so much that is new - I can't recall anything off hand that jumped out at me with an 'oi! That's a bit of a blunder'. Inevitably - given the density of the material Reade is presenting - there must be some factual errors, but nothing springs to mind at the moment. The other thing that strikes the reader is the quality of Reade's discourse - it could have been a very dry book, but instead it is one of the most enjoyable reads in the Titanic canon. Some of his character observations are wonderful - the comment about Fleet being a man the Welfare State had overlooked, for example. To combine that with his rigorous research is a very impressive achievement - look at how he absolutely skewered the Samson story.
Thanks for letting me know in advance that Stone's evidence was heresay as not being a professional writer but only an enthusiast, I sometimes miss important stuff like that! Also, I want to compliment you on your research that led to positively identifying officers of the White Star line in that photo that in almost every Titanic book incorrectly identifies them as all Titanic officers! You don't know how many times I wondered why correct pictures of the Titanic crew looked nothing like that photo. Thanks so much and keep up the good work!
Leslie Harrison has been accused of selective bias in his book on the Californian incident, leaving out details unfavorable to Captain Lord. But Reade does the same in his book, in this case leaving out details favorable to Stanley Lord.
One prime example in the book is when he tells of Captain Lord getting a "failure to join" notation on his record. He did not tell why or how it was resolved. Lord did indeed get a "failure to join" notation, usually a serious offense, when he did not sail with the Barbadian early on in his career, in 1899. What Reade neglected to tell us is that Lord did not make that voyage because he'd broken his leg, nor did he tell us that Lord was promoted from 3rd to 2nd officer six weeks later.
I think you would have picked up on the nature of the Stone material Reade uses - he's very clear on where it came from (indeed, he goes to some pains to describe how he was able to get in touch with the Stone family!). I believe it was an important inclusion in the book, but given the nature of what Reade calls Stone's 'confession' - a second hand family story - I don't think it can be considered quite the clincher that Reade treats it as. But you can judge this for yourself As I say, it's more a matter of quibbling with the empahsis than anything else.
Thank you very much for your kind words in the Olympic photos - I have a bit of a soft spot for the image that is now in the ET Titanic Gallery on loan from Steve Santiani's collection, as a print exists in the collection of someone close to me and - having seen the full sized version - I have to say the quality is superlative. There's still work to be done on it, but I've been a bit slack of late...I do have a few candidates for the other officer in the shot, but have not yet been able to corroborate my suspicions as to whom he is.
Tracy - Sins of Commission and Omission You're right about the selective marshalling of data - both sides advocating positions in the Californian debate are capable of selectivity in presenting material. I still think Reade holds up very well, however - my feeling is that he does give Lord his due as a talented master mariner. I haven't had a chance yet to get Lord's certificate applications btw (and given that it's an expensive little exercise don't know when I'll be doing it next, as there's a slew of them I need to order for WSL officers), but I did check his entry in one of the files listing masters' certifications. They only had the date and place of when he was awarded his certificates, however.
I read in an article that the publisher of this book recalled all unsold copies shortly after publication and modified a few pages in response to a lawsuit by Leslie Harrison. Can anyone tell me what pages were modified and what specifically was modified in them? I'm curious if the copy that I have is a modified version or not.
Harrison's lawsuit centered around two issues: he had withdrawn permission for a photograph of himself which he originally provided for the author to use in the book, and he was upset concerning a statement in the book inferring that he had excessively influenced Lawrence Beesley to alter the original declaration made in Beesley's 1912 book about when the final distress rocket had been fired. A modified copy of "The Ship That Stood Still" would therefore likely not contain this photo, shown in the photo section above the photo of the Samson, and near the bottom of page 318 the statement "...wearing down an old man with talk, undue persuasion, and long past his bedtime" would not be in the text.
As Harrison's lawsuit happened over two years after the book had been published, there probably would not have been many copies left on store shelves of what was likely a small print run, and as most people who wanted a copy would have already purchased one, I suspect it would be easier to just pull any unsold copies and destroy them rather than alter the books. Any future editions would have to be modified of course, but the book has never been reprinted. Hope that answers your question!
Hi Stefan, sorry that this reply comes rather late. The book does not have actual biographies of the officers, but some details of their later lives are given throughout the text of the book.