Reviewed by Klaus Egvang
The book, "Titanic: the Danish Stories" is in Danish but an English version is planned.
Titanic 1912 - 2012. While the 100 year anniversary of its sinking has passed. Titanic has in reality already had its 102nd birthday and is approaching 103 (having been launched on 31st May 1909).
It is often the birthday that we celebrate, for instance the big show celebrating Hans Christian Andersens 200 year birthday. In Titanic's case it is the foundering. Well the history is also more interesting than "Titanic launched, Lunch afterwards". Now back to the book. I have with great exitement been following the updates on the book's facebook group, with titbits of what new information the book will reveal, so it was fantastic when I finally had the book in my hands and I was not disappointed.
Even if it is the second book covering the Danish passengers the 20 years of thorough research is obvious. One of the writers, Jesper Hjermind has previously written about Hans Givard in "Viborg Bogen" (2002, ISBN 87-87272-31-8), and both writers have since written about Jacob Milling.
It is always a great pleasure reading about Karla Andersen and Jacob Milling, even though these 2 persons have been written about many times. I was looking forward to reading about Claus Peter Hansen and his American born wife Jennie Louise Howard, and see new images. The book also takes us to Argentina where 3 other Danish passengers would try their luck.
The book itself has been divided into the different travel companions, and it follows them from the decision to travel to America. The first part of the book relates the story prior to the disaster. The middle contains a brief description of the foundering, and after that we follow the companions again, and their struggle to get to safety. The division of the book works well. The foundering itself is explained only in brief, but it is not the mission of the book to describe the foundering in detail.
The book contains the surprising information that Niels Nielsen had wanted to travel but decided not to. Many people have claimed that they had bought ticket to Titanic, but cancelled in the last moment. Had all these people been on board Titanic it would have sunk by the weight alone. However, one of the danes got his ticked cancelled but more about that in the book...
The last section is dedicated to how Titanic was mentioned in Denmark after the catastrophe, for example, the arrangement of a memeorial concert, but also right up to present time. A lot of papers have been read to form this part.
Spread across the book is printed documentation from the the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and from the brochures of Joachim Prahl. These images have been placed so they fit into the history. It is a bit distracting when, in the middle of a sentence, turn the page and find a fact box. I read it right away, and then had to return to the sentence. It is a minor thing though and I have a hard time to figure out where the images should have been placed otherwise.
This book has covered the Danish angler of the Titanic story very well. Even the Danish captain Valdemar Engelhardt has been mentioned, something I appreciate. People who know me know that I am researching this adventurer and inventor of The Engelhardt Collapsible lifeboat. It would be a shame if he was forgotten.
Are you interested in Titanic or just curious to hear about the Danish passengers? Well this book is for you. Well done Mette and Jesper.
Is there more to discover now? Luckily there is, but probably not about the Danish passengers.