I have always been Titanic obsessed. I’m not sure if it stemmed from the movie – still one of my all time faves – or from the countless conspiracy theories attached to it. Anyone who knows me knows that I love nothing more than a good conspiracy theory. It may also have been something I picked up from my brother who has always been quite intrigued by the legendary ship also. In fact, I’m pretty sure I found this book when I was snooping around his room one day for God knows what reason.
Now I’ll be straight up in saying that I would only recommend reading this book if you have some prior interest in the Titanic as even for enthusiasts like me some sections were a bit slow-going. Completely non-fiction this book is in no way a story but a collection of articles and statements from the time of the terrible tragedy.
If you get stuck on the first two chapters as I did, I urge you to keep powering forward. Many of the articles in the beginning are from newspapers and advertisements describing the spectacular amenities of the ‘floating hotel’ but some are also filled with technical mumbo-jumbo that means little to us average Joes. However, as I persevered I found the stories to get more and more interesting.
As early as chapter 3 you delve more in to witness statements of the moment the ship struck the infamous iceberg. From here we travel along in the timeline of the sinking, the escape from the disaster, the rescue and everything that followed in the aftermath.
There were two main feelings I had when reading through these first hand stories;
The first: I could not read much more than a few pages at a time. A vast majority of these accounts were absolutely heart-wrenching. Tales of newlyweds torn apart, lifetime loves going down with the ship as they refused to be apart, kisses goodbye from loved ones they expected to see again upon rescue and the bravest of gentlemen calmly waiving goodbye to their wives as they waited for their inevitable watery deaths. Sadder indeed Is the fact that so many more of these lives could have been saved.
The second: When reading the statements of survivors it is so hard not to imagine that you are reading fiction. The experiences that these people lived through are so incredible that you can barely believe they are reality. That they did in face sit in the freezing waters and watch such a magnificent ship sink to the depths of the ocean.
One particular line that really stuck with me the whole way through was a young chap who stated “I am always annoyed at artists’ depictions of the sinking of Titanic. I’ve never seen one that came anywhere near the truth.” Reading that hit home on just how impossible it is to imagine what those survivors lived through and witnessed that awful night. Many also report on how they still hear the terrible chorus of human wails when all those doomed souls were forced in to the freezing water.
So whilst most definitely a tear-jerker it is also extraordinarily interesting. If you have any interest surrounding the Titanic I would definitely give this a read.
Let me know what you think…