by John Maxtone-Graham


W.W.Norton, 2011

Was it really necessary to write yet another book about this well-known tragedy? What else can be said? The answer is Yes! There is much left to say.

This is reality. These are real people. This is a look inside the event that few people get the opportunity to see and understand. Don’t think about the movie or the fictional stories written over the years, as interesting and fascinating as they might be. Here is an account of the tragedy (and the situation fulfills the true definition of that word); here are the people who lived—and died—in the event; here are the mistakes, the frustrations, the stoicism, and most of all, the sacrifice of lives who were dedicated to perform their duties “no matter what.”

The reader is taken into the bowels of the ship as the crew ponders the situation, questioning if there truly is a crisis, and if so, what to do, and in some cases, sleeping through the crisis—until it is too late.

The reader also gets to know the passengers and the staff, the losses and the victories, and can feel the angst of those who lost so much when there was so much promised and then denied.

The story is also a memorial to the many people who literally gave their own lives to save others. The author has done his research and presented the events before, during, and after the sinking, which I will call a “tragedy,” because it was human mistakes, both in the expectations and the actions, that sunk that majestic ship. As a plus, this author doesn’t stop with the event, but traces for the reader some of the passengers and crew members who survived, giving a personal touch not offered in other accounts.

Is this just another story about the Titanic? Absolutely not!