Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Currently Reading - Titanic First Accounts

One of the books I'm currently reading is Titanic First Accounts, by Tim Maltin. Tim Maltin has been studying the Titanic for 25 years and has compiled an interesting book; at least, so far. I'm currently about 3/4 of the way through, and overall, have enjoyed the story.

As it states, it features first hand accounts by the various passengers and crew members who survived the disaster. I have found, over the first part, that the story has been somewhat repetitive. I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing and thinking about it, it's almost impossible for it not to be, considering the closed subject matter. The first half features excerpts from two passenger's books on the disaster, Tim Beesley's Chapter 4 of his book The Loss of the Titanic and seven chapters of Archibald Grace's The Truth about the Titanic. The former is more of a personal narrative of Beesley's observations. Grace includes his observations of what he saw and what he did, but his also includes reports from both the British and American hearings on the disaster, a summary of each life boat that was launched and excerpts of observations from the various persons in each life boat.

The second portion are individual person's reports to either of the commissions set up to examine the disaster and the third portion (this is where I currently find myself) contains newspaper accounts from various passengers, including Molly Brown's article in the Newport Herald.

At times the story has been somewhat dry, but as you read, you get a feel for the expanse of the disaster and maybe the dryness makes it seem even more incredible. There are acts of heroism described throughout and the matter-of-fact way in which this is done makes them seem more heroic. There are intimations of impropriety as well, especially those of one of the owner of the Titanic, Mr. Ismay, who chose to depart on one of the last lifeboats. However, this isn't harped on at all, rather the overall impression left is one of the many men who willingly stood back to let the women and children take advantage of the few lifeboats so they could be saved.

I still have a way to go to complete the book, but I find as I get into it that it gets better and better and has been a most interesting read. I'm looking forward to reading the final chapters; which include further news paper accounts and also excerpts from Logan Marshall's Sinking of the Titanic.

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