Monday, February 6, 2012

Nonfiction Monday: Iceberg, right ahead! The Tragedy of the Titanic by Stephanie McPherson

Some say there's no way you need another book on the Titanic. Some say you can never have too many Titanic books.

Some of us don't care. That would be me. Titanic fever totally passed me by (yes, I thought the 1997 movie was dumb. No, I didn't not have a lot of friends as a teenager)

However! I would have to agree with the you can never have too many Titanic books crowd. At least once a month I get earnest seekers after shipwreck books, specifically the Titanic. Inevitably, the fever gets them all at once (or else it's a class project nobody has ever informed me of) and everything vanishes for weeks.

So, with the anniversary coming up and all, I thought I'd look into some additional titles to our shipwreck section. Now, not being a Titanic person, as I said, I can't speak to whether or not this book brings anything new or just retreads old ground, but it seemed to me an excellent overview of the disaster and aftermath.

It starts with a dramatic introduction to the disaster, even I, non-expert that I am, know that this is required of all Titanic books. However, it then spins out into the history of Titanic - and of the shipping line that built it, details of the disaster, and the effects on history and individual passengers. Along the way, sections are included on the famous staircase, the use of the new SOS call, survival statistics, and more. Photographs and artwork from all periods of history are also included. The story ends in the final chapters with accounts of the enduring effects of the disaster, including the films and books it inspired and the various attempts to recover the ship and the controversies surrounding the salvage.

The book ends with a timeline, glossary of nautical terms, history of ships associated with the Titanic, source notes, bibliography, further information, and index. My only quibbles on this title were the two typos that popped up and whapped me in the eye, "sever" for "seven" on page 26 and a second one closer to the end of the book, which I couldn't find again, but which I remember thinking would have been caught by the most basic spell checker. Severance or something like that.

Verdict: Despite the typos, this is an excellently researched book and seems like a good, general coverage of the Titanic disaster with a few new nuggets of information. You'll need this on your library shelf for the increased interest due to the anniversary of the disaster.

ISBN: 9780761367567; Published November 2011 by Twenty-First Century Books; Borrowed from the library; Purchased for the library


Myra Garces-Bacsal from GatheringBooks said...

Hi Jean, we had a Titanic Artifact Exhibition here in Singapore at the Art and Science Museum two months back - it was amazing. And my daughter was riveted. And yes, we did watch Leonardo di Caprio the night before our museum visit to kind of build the hype a bit. :) Will look for this book. :)

Medea said...

I went through an Edmund Fitzgerald phase wen
I was in junior high, so I understand he Titanic fascination (although Gordon Lightfoot beats out Celine Dion any day in my book!). I learned to use the microfiche just for that, and I know I was looking for those geeky details like measurements. This sounds like a great book!
Do they even
Use microfiche anymore or is it all computer now?