Jan 10, 2012
My new book about the Titanic is published officially today:

As you will know, it was historian Walter Lord in A Night to Remember (1955) who described the sinking of the Titanic as 'the last night of a small town'. My book Titanic: The Last Night of a Small Town (Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2012), both builds upon and challenges Lord's famous account. First, it re-balances the narrative, covering First, Second, and Third Class; women as well as men; children as well as adults; crew members as well as passengers; and people from countries other than Britain and America. Second, the book offers not just a minute-by-minute depiction of events, but explores themes - the ship's construction, social class, migration, radio - thereby employing and extending the metaphor of a small town.

The book features the stories of both crew and passengers. The featured crew includes the Second Officer; a Stewardess; the young Assistant Wireless Operator; and the Captain of the Carpathia rescue ship. There are eight featured passengers in all - an amateur military historian and governess in First Class; a teacher in Second; a domestic servant and mother in Third; and three children. What were their earlier histories, their hopes and anxieties? Who survived, and why, and who perished? What happened to these people in the years after 1912? And what can we learn from their accounts? On the centenary of the sinking, it is the individual histories of twelve of the inhabitants of the small town that this book reconstructs. The book employs the rigorous, sceptical approach of the social historian, while at the same time retaining the vividness of the eye-witness account.

Any comments or thoughts about the book welcome. I am also now on twitter:


Many thanks.

John Welshman

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