The Titanic and the Mystery Ship


Sep 22, 2003
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Hello Fellow Titanic Researchers and Enthusiast. I just read about this book on Titanicbooksite.com, which describes the book as an expanded and revised version of "A Ship Accused". a book which was very much enjoyed by me, as are his other works. so I seriously considering getting this book. mainly for the expanded material. although I'm not sure how much there is, so I wondering if anyone had read this book and would be able to give there opinion.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Jesse: I have not seen Senan's previous book "A Ship Accused" so I cannot compare the two to say just how much material in it is new. I did however decide to purchase a copy of this one since I consider myself a student of the issue, as well as other issues and topics related to the Titanic. As you know, I also have had several exchanges with Mr. Molony on more than one occasion on this site regarding certain aspects of the Californian affair and found that not to be a very pleasant experience unless you held the same view of things as he does. However, in the interest of truly understand all points of views and arguments, I now have a copy of this book which I only begun to read.

The one thing, however, that I did find a bit disappointing with the book as soon as I opened it up had nothing to do you with what was written, how it was organized, or anything like that. My disappointment had to do with how the book was printed. The type size in my opinion is just too small. My first impression was why does the text in the body of the book look about the size of what I expect to see in footnotes or an index? But I'm sure that was the publisher's decision. It's one way to keep the size limited to 350 pages.

Bill, that was an interesting observation concerning the title. However, it is not the same exactly. Dave's site is called "The Titanic and the Mystery Ship." Senan's book title is bit shorter, its just "Titanic and the Mystery Ship." I would have thought, however, that he would had used "Titanic and The Mystery Ships," plural, but that is not the case. Senan has put forth various arguments on this site and it will be interesting to see if he expands on any of them or how he addresses some of the counter arguments that were presented here, assuming he does. Since I like to jump all over the place when I get something new to read, like skimming the conclusions, further reading and what the appendices contain, I noticed that in the section on further reading he references the two inquiries and the 1962 reappraisal report by the MAIB. The only books specific to Californian that were referenced for further reading were Harrison's A Titanic Myth, Padfield's Titanic and Californian, and Reade's A ship that Stood Still. He did not reference his earlier work. Also in that section for further reading included Beesley's Loss of the Titanic, Bisset's Tramps & Ladies, Gracie's Truth about Titanic, Groves' Middle Watch manuscript, Lightoller's Titanic and other Ships, and Rostron's Home from the Sea.
 

Inger Sheil

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Senan Molony is one of the most original (if not the most original) author/historians in the Titanic field writing today, so I do get a bit of a chuckle out of the idea that he'd feel the need to plagiarise from another writer...particularly an obvious title like that one.

I seem to vaguely recall Senan mentioning to me that the title change was a publisher's decision, but would have to check with him. Those familiar with the publishing industry would know how these decisions are often made. Personally I rather like A Ship Accused as a title, but that's just me.

I saw the proofs, and it looks fantastic - Senan's usual superlative work. I'm very pleased that it's now being brought to a wider audience with this mainstream publication.

Remarkable to think that so soon after the release of his powerfully moving Lusitania work that Senan has two more books published in such swift succession, although they've been in production for a while. The Phoenix Park Murders is due out in July.
 
Nov 12, 2000
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Hello all,
I realize what a lightning rod Senan is, and I think I can speak as one of the few people to remain friendly with folks on both sides of the isle.

Bill, the title of a book is rarely the author's prerogative, rather it is the publisher who decides based on what will best sell the book. I agree with Sam though, that Titanic and the Mystery Ships would have been a better title, as this book goes into much more than just the Californian.

Sam, the size of the text is on the small side, but again that was a requirement of the incredible volume of verbage contained within. Paper being very expensive, publishers are required to limit the page count to as little as possible. As you have the book, you know that even at this small point size, the volume of content is massive, the book is quite thick.

There is some very impressive work being done on the Californian right now, that has not made it to a wide audience yet. I hope those works see the light of day soon as they argue that Californian was the mystery ship.

To balance the scales, it is thrilling to see Senan's book published by a mainstream publisher as his is still the very best book to argue the other point of view. If you want that side of the story, Senan's is a must have for your collection.

all the best, Michael (TheManInBlack) T
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Michael: I agree with what you said. I noticed the type size appears to be the same used in Eric Sauder's "RMS Lusitania," also published by Tempus. For me it is on the small size. In Mark Chirnside's "The Olympic-Class Ships," also a Tempus published work, the type size is bit larger and much easier to read in my opinion.

As far as the content is concerned I also feel that this book should be part one's collection on this particular subject. It is very well referenced throughout, and Senan is a very good writer who presents his points of view with clarity. This is not an endorsement of his conclusions by any means, but a statement regarding his ability to keep things clear for the average reader.
 
Nov 12, 2000
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Titanic and the Mystery Ship: A Review.

This book was first published privately by the author in 2002 with the title A Ship Accused. Tempus Publishing has just released a completely revised, reedited and somewhat expanded edition, with this new title. Like the original, this is a no holds barred critique of the "mystery ship" debate, with emphasis on exonerating the Californian as being the ringer.

Anyone who has read my review of A Ship Accused knows how highly I respected that work. If there was any flaw, it was that Molony's style of writing could be somewhat rambling and disjointed at times. This updated version, masterfully reedited and revised, corrects this flaw by composing the author's arguments into an even tighter point by point examination of his evidence. No real surprise as Molony is a professional journalist for Ireland's largest selling daily newspaper. It is a pleasure to watch his writing talents mature.

The images in the original work were also somewhat less than could be desired, not a flaw, but the necessity of an individual publishing his own work, and the resulting tradeoff of quality versus budget. This new edition, with the resources of a publisher behind it, corrects this issue as well. There are 32 plates produced with excellent clarity, as well as quality detailed illustrations within the text.

One complaint already mentioned elsewhere, is that the point size of the text is quite small, and this is a true statement. Us "elderly challenged" folks need cheater glasses to read this book with any ease. But again, this cannot be considered a flaw as the volume of text is just extraordinary. Considering the high cost of paper today, reducing the size of the type was the only way to bring the entire book to within a page limit that could afford to be published.

Molony takes the reader on a step by logical step guided tour of the evidence, explaining each detail in clear and concise language purposefully adopted for the casual reader. He is not afraid to take on opposing theories, giving evidence taken primarily from the original inquiries, the words of the men and women who were there, to show equally reasonable alternate explanations.

So has the ultimate mystery ship book been written? Depends on which side of this debate you fall on. Those who believe Californian was the mystery ship will remain unconvinced. Those who think otherwise will consider it to be a slam dunk, case closed. Without taking sides, all I intend to say is that this is the most comprehensive, detailed account of the mystery ship debate that has even been printed. It simply blows every previous book out of the water. That's not to say that an equally powerful book for the opposing point of view couldn't be written; but it hasn't been - yet.

In any event, whether pro or con, if you are interested in this convoluted subject, Titanic and the Mystery Ship is a must have book for your collection.

all the best, Michael (TheManInBlack) T
 
Sep 22, 2003
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I might just buy this book even though I already have "A Ship Accused".

Sam Im well aware of your exchanges w/ Molony on the subject of the californian and Mystery Ships which I shall not comment on. As you know however when it comes to the Californian I'm what most Consider to be Lordite/Pro Californian.
 
Mar 22, 2003
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Hi Jesse. I tend to stay away from labels. I like to test hypotheses where possible. The entire affair is quite a fascinating subject that I feel is still ripe for analytical study. So far I feel there has been too much reliance placed on human observation and judgement only, and all the uncertainties that go along with it. Now I just need some time sit down and read through this particular work. I'll probably have more to say when I'm done with it.
 

Paul Slish

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Jan 18, 2006
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I've just heard from Tempus Publishing that the first printing of "Titanic and the Mystery Ship" has sold out. A second printing is now being produced.

Paul Slish
 

Inger Sheil

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Looks like it was you and a few thousand others, Sam! I understand this has set some sort of record for Tempus in terms of swift sales.

This is particularly remarkable in light of the fact that the Titanic market has supposedly been tapped out. When an author, like Senan, does this out of a passionate interest in the subject rather than money, and manages to combine superlative research and writing to a high degree, it's always pleasant to see them rewarded with good sales. And ultimately we all benefit, as it demonstrates that there's still life left in this niche interest area.

So congratulations to Senan and Tempus!
 

Paul Slish

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Jan 18, 2006
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The publisher shipped out the entire first printing. Some had to be transported over here to the USA. There are copies available through various sellers here in the USA now. Just type in the ISBN 0752437437 in any search engine.
 
Sep 22, 2003
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i suppose so. anyway for some reason his Name is spelled "moloney" on the US Amazon site, which explains why I had throuble finding it at first. if only i had thought of searching by ISBN
 

Paul Slish

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Jan 18, 2006
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I signed on to Amazon in the USA today and received quite a nice surprise. On the home page on the upper right there was an announcement of "Titanic and the Mystery Ship". If you clicked on it you were directly taken to the listing for the book. That is some nice free advertizing for an issue dear to our hearts. No matter where anyone falls on the issue, the publicity is great. Amazon says they are down to only two copies.
 

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