One of my favorites, along with the 'sequel' "Dusk to Dawn." The way he describes the gradual sinking of the ship and interweaves survivor accounts truly adds to it. The fact Mr. Quinn is a fellow Mainer may also add to the bias. ;-)
There's nothing much in the book that will be new to seasoned readers, but where it scores is in creating a very detailed but coherent sequence from the confusion of events in the final stages of the sinking. The illustrations, done by the author, were never intended to be works of art but rather to improve the reader's understanding of the text by showing in particular the progress of flooding. To my mind, they do that rather well. One of the favourites in my collection, and a worthy winner of Michael Tennaro's 'Book of the Year' award for 1997. Highly recommended.
I thought this was a good book.I felt it gave a good account of the final twenty minutes of the sinking, when things really started to go wrong. The narrative seemed to pretty much match the illustrations. I would recommend it.
The quality of the art is subjective, of course, it depends on your own personal tastes. Quinn's strength is in architecture, especially the interior of the ship. His depiction of people is weaker, and comes off rather cartoonish.
What Quinn chose to paint is sometimes more important than how he painted it. There are a couple of images that were just chilling, one of the water slowly pooling on the linoleum of a first class corridor, another of water rushing down a third class staircase. The power of those images is very moving.
As Bob said, the real importance of this book, and the reason it won my Book of the Year Award, is that it was one of the first serious attempts to publish a definitive timeline of events during the chaotic last 20 minutes. There is so much conflicting testimony, spread out over many sources. Quinn pulls it all together, and even though one may not agree with all his conclusions, it is still quite an accomplishment.
>>I know I've never seen it in any regular bookstores,<<
I got my copy at a second hand bookstore but Amazon.com still offers it HERE. Dusk to Dawn is available HERE. For the reasons expressed here by Bill and TMiB, I think both of these books are worthy additions to your library.
I know a number of people who really enjoy the book for the art work, but as per Michael T's comment I value it for the timeline.
Regarding the relatively high price, the book is a large format hardback with full colour illustrations on glossy paper. That, and it's put out by a small press that doesn't have the same opportunities for economies of scale as say Hyperion or Madison Press. All in all, I thought it reasonable for what it was, but it doesn't hurt to check out the used book listings.
In my recent book (Rescue of the Third Class on the Titanic)I am critical of Quinn's views in certain respects, but I definitely think his books are worth reading. The illustrations of the ship's decks are great, but those of the break-up are out-dated.
The biggest problem I have with both books is that Quinn only cites little snippets of testimony in support of his account, and these are often taken out of context, or are contradicted by other testimony that is left out. The story he paints of the last twenty minutes, in particular, should be taken with a grain of salt.
A friend loaned me this book and I was impressed by the way Quinn approached his subject.
I liked the colour paintings in that they evoked Ken Marschall's work using original perspectives and subjects. I was prepared to overlook the artistic problems of some of them but Like Michael Tannero i was impressed by the staircase waterfall into the steerage Dinning Saloon and the water in the 1st class corridor.
I'd love to see a similar work on the last 18 minutes of the Lusitania's life.