The Sinking of J Bruce Ismay Frances Wilson

Senan Molony

Jun 28, 1998
This book really is poor, and the author has been ill-advised by the dummies she consulted.

She falsely claims Rufus Isaacs was Solicitor General (thereby eliminating Sir John Simon at a stroke), but makes no mention as to who might be the Attorney General, the person asking hundreds of questions. This is beyond poor - it's abysmal.

Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon is promoted to 'Lord Duff Gordon.' Costelloe Lodge is described as being 'treeless moonscape'- the author has obviously never been there - but she should have noticed the trees in the background of a picture of Ismay at his retreat.

Wilson imagines Lightoller spent more than six days in the witness box at the British Inquiry, proving she can't do her figures either, claiming that he spent 50 hours giving evidence. Not true.

Shackleton is an Arctic explorer, would you believe, and Ismay lost his leg because of an acute problem ~ not so, it was chronic,affecting him over many years.

The iceberg was '500 feet out of the water'(p. 275), and it goes on in such a risible vein.

Clearly averse to research, she sighs: 'The second half of lives, as well as novels, can be of limited interest.'

No, my dear, you just can't be bothered.

And so why should the reader?

One to avoid. Full of clap-trap. She pronounces archly on a variety of subjects she knows absolutely nothing about. Poor
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John Creamer

Nov 7, 2003
Thanks for the review. I went out yesterday to buy a copy, but was told the book wasn't in stock. Don't think I'll bother now...
Jul 9, 2000
Easley South Carolina
>>Perhaps you should read the reviews in either The Sunday Observer, Times or Telegraph newspapers to get a less scathing and more constructive review of the book. I found them most interesting.<<

Perhaps but who wrote the reviews and what do they actually know about the disaster and the people involved? Senan has been doing this sort of in depth research for years. He's as adept as anyone you can find at spotting mistakes that the less well informed would miss. (Which doesn't mean he's perfect but I'd think long and hard before betting against him.)

Just a thought.

Senan Molony

Jun 28, 1998
Reviews are a subjective process. Comment is free, but facts are sacred. Bad information is bad information. Laziness is laziness. Female author or male author, I won't cheerlead without good reason and I won't join any cheerleading either. This author is a dilettante and an ingenue. But go right ahead and make your own consumer choice. Just be aware this author has not engaged in any much personal research. She offers little but a meditation, as I said. She knows as much about Ismay as I know about Indonesian folk festivals.

Jason D. Tiller

Aug 20, 2000
Niagara Falls, Ontario
I recently came across this book in a bookshop. It's by Frances Wilson and it touches on Ismay's life, his lost honour and contains some photographs of the family, that I had not seen before. It's not a biography though; it is more personal and the author raises questions about cowardice and heroism.

I'll be adding this book to my library soon.

Here are a couple of reviews:


Anna Popova

Feb 21, 2008
Hi everyone!

I hope I post it in the right place.

The point is that I want to know about Bruce Ismay more.

Mostly I'm looking for research articles on the Internet as (considering where I live) buying English books can be pricy.

But if you know good books or magazines with interesting information about him (beyond the basic), please, let me know.

And yes, I've heard about new book by Frances Wilson but after reading the reviews I'm not sure if I want to buy and/or read it. I'm looking for something more or less objective, not making of Ismay the evil of all evil.
May be if you read the book, you will share your opinion about it?

Thank you in advance.

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