Sunk! My Titanic book collection

I’m not quite sure how it happened. I was bobbing along, minding my own business, when two books about the R.M.S. Titanic jumped out of the store and sailed onto my bookshelves. Over time, more and more Titanic books cruised in until I had an entire collection of them. And now as a history lover, I’m immersed in them. I can’t stop diving into these books when I’m in the mood for history. I guess I’ll just have to go with the flow.

Titanic at Southampton Docks

Titanic at Southampton Docks. Who could have predicted that it would never return? (Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

The first book was Titanic: An Illustrated History by Don Lynch and James Marschall. This book features Marschall’s wonderful illustrations as well as painstaking recreations of the wreck from haunting underwater photographs. The second book to float into my collection was A Night To Remember, Walter Lord’s minute-by-minute account of the accident. Other Titanic books have reeled me in as well:

1. James Cameron’s Titanic, by James Cameron: As a movie/history lover, I couldn’t pass up this one. And since it has behind-the-scenes photographs, that was even more tempting.

2. The Last Days of the Titanic: Photographs and Mementos of the Tragic Maiden Voyage, by E. E. O’Donnell: It contains some unique images, including the great cover photo where the photographer is on the dock, looking upward at Captain Smith and others leaning over the side of the ship and looking downward at the photographer.

3. Inside the Titanic, by Ken Marschall: A kid’s book with cutaway views above and below the waterline. I bought it for a relative and liked it so much I bought a copy for myself.

4. The Titanic: End of A Dream, by Wyn Craig Wade: It contains fascinating stories from the British and American investigations after the disaster. Surviving crew members and passengers gave their personal testimonies for both courts. If you’re interested in knowing what these people had to say, visit the Titanic Inquiry Project, which has the transcripts from both the U.S. Senate and the British Board of Trade.

5. Titanic: Fortune and Fate, by Beverly McMillan: This book contains letters, postcards and other mementos. I like to read the letters and postcards to glimpse the minds and hearts of their writers.

The 100th anniversary of the Titanic disaster is coming up about one month from now (April 15, 2012). Prepare for the deluge, people. I’ve already seen blogs and documentaries mentioning it and wouldn’t be surprised to see reams of newspaper articles, magazine articles and perhaps even another book.

What IS it about this ship that still has us so fascinated with it, 100 years later? I think many Titanic enthusiasts enjoy playing the “what if?” game with the Titanic‘s story (“What if the ship had been moving slower? What if the ship had enough boats for everyone? What if I’d been in that situation — how would I have reacted?”). Others are fascinated by Titanic’s eternal mysteries, such as what happened to the jewel-encrusted copy of the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam that someone was carrying.

I guess the Titanic attracts me for two reasons. One reason is the ship’s sheer magnificence. The other is the secrets that Titanic still holds, locked away and crumbling under 13,000 feet of icy seawater. Like everybody else, I’ll continue to read the articles, watch the documentaries, pore over the books and visit Titanic museum exhibits. It’s an addiction, but a fun one.

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22 Comments

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22 responses to “Sunk! My Titanic book collection

  1. That’s a whole lot of Titanic…wow!

  2. How about “Wreck and Sinking of the Titanic: The Ocean’s Greatest Disaster”, by Marshall Everett? It’s to be reprinted in time for the 100-year anniversary of its sinking, so I picked it up. It was supposed to be the book that was printed within the first year after it sank, so it’s written in a totally different style than our books, nowadays. I like picking up Titanic books, too, though I don’t think I have as many as you do. The Walter Lord books are pretty interesting.

  3. The illustrative photo of Titanic looks absolutely wonderful. Love all the books you’ve showcased here…I may have to check them out soon.

    • Please do! All of them are wonderful books. And if you’re interested in seeing some Titanic relics online, check out the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic’s website. This museum is in Halifax, Nova Scotia and has a wonderful Titanic collection.

  4. Very interesting. A book in our school library caught my eye on Friday about the Titanic. Fascinating collection you’ve accumulated here.

  5. Of all of the books you mentioned, I’ve read five of them at some time or another. My favorite though, of the above, would have to be Titanic: Fortune and Fate. I liked it for the reason you stated “to glimpse the minds and hearts of their writers”.

    I’m still not sure what my interest is in Titanic. I have a fascination with ships, I’ll admit, but Titanic’s fascination is different. The ship was beautiful and so many died. However, I find myself extremely interested in the Deck Dept., deck officers and radio operators. Great post.

    • Thanks for your comment. I’m particularly interested in the story of the Navratil boys, Edmond and Michel. The father and mother were separated and the father ran off with the kids. The father died in the sinking but the boys were saved and later returned to their mother.

      I’m told that there will be a 3-D version of the movie “Titanic” next month. I can’t wait!

  6. I think the love — and craze, interest and everything you can term — for Titanic among most general people is a result of James Cameron’s Titanic feature film. I mean, I knew there was this titanic Titanic and it sank in the middle of the Atlantic. But these words are way less effective when compared to what we see on the big screen. Watching the film leaves a deep impact on our minds as a result of which we get fascinated about Titanic.

  7. It’s sometimes odd how we become interested in certain subjects. I’m that way about cows. I even wrote a cow joke book! Are you planning on something about the Titanic?

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