Start reading How to Survive the Titanic or The Sinking of J. Bruce Ismay on your Kindle in under a minute. Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here or start reading now with a free Kindle Reading App.

Deliver to your Kindle or other device


Try it free

Sample the beginning of this book for free

Deliver to your Kindle or other device

Sorry, this item is not available in
Image not available for
Image not available

How to Survive the Titanic or The Sinking of J. Bruce Ismay [Kindle Edition]

Frances Wilson
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £8.99
Kindle Price: £5.39 includes VAT* & free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet
You Save: £3.60 (40%)
* Unlike print books, digital books are subject to VAT.

Free Kindle Reading App Anybody can read Kindle books—even without a Kindle device—with the FREE Kindle app for smartphones, tablets and computers.

To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.


Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition £5.39  
Paperback £8.99  
Kindle Delivers Sign-up to receive email updates and get a Free Kindle Book

Book Description

Books have been written, films made, we have raised the Titanic and watched her go down again on numerous occasions, but out of the wreckage Frances Wilson spins a new epic: when the ship hit the iceberg on 14 April 1912 and a thousand men prepared to die, J Bruce Ismay, the ship's owner and inheritor of the White Star fortune, jumped into a lifeboat with the women and children and rowed away to safety. Accused of cowardice, Ismay became, according to one headline, ‘The Most Talked-of Man in the World'. The first victim of a press hate campaign, his reputation never recovered and while other survivors were piecing together their accounts, Ismay never spoke of his beloved ship again.With the help of that great narrator of the sea, Joseph Conrad, whose Lord Jim so uncannily predicted Ismay's fate - and whose manuscript of the story of a man who impulsively betrays a code of honour and lives on under the strain of intolerable guilt went down with the Titanic - Frances Wilson explores the reasons behind Ismay's jump, his desperate need to make sense of the horror of it all, and to find a way of living with lost honour.For those who survived the Titanic the world was never the same again. But as Wilson superbly demonstrates, we all have our own Titanics, and we all need to find ways of surviving them.

Product Description


Beautifully written, and beautifully deconstructed (Sunday Times)

A gripping study - part reportage, part biography, part literary criticism - of the more intimate ramifications of a disaster which still haunts the public imagination (Sunday Telegraph)

Wonderfully rich and multi-layered ... Full of fascinating details ... It is one of the few works of recent non-fiction that would benefit from a second, or even a third reading. Every sentence crackles with intelligence (Mail on Sunday)

Masterful and timely (Daily Telegraph)

An unusual and creative book ... in the end, the subject of this fascinating book is not just historical or biographical uncertainty, but psychological and moral ambiguity (Guardian)

Wilson's biography is beautifully written and beautifully constructed (Sunday Times)

Book Description

The strange and fascinating story of the owner of the Titanic, J. Bruce Ismay, the man who jumped ship

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4481 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing (15 Aug. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #109,524 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
  •  Would you like to give feedback on images?

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Titanic aftermath 29 April 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Contains some interesting information about Ismay's attitude to the sinking but presents no new details to confirm exactly what action was or was not taken by him on that night of disaster. The book also has a great reliance on long quoted passages from 'Lord Jim' by Joseph Conrad. All in all not the most informative read.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A real sinker 20 Jun. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
This is so tedious and hard to get through - don't waste your time. The author is clearly one of those
academics in love with the sound of her own voice and enamoured of long quotations (easier than coming
up with her own decent prose, right?). I was deeply unimpressed.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring 19 Jun. 2014
I thought this was really boring and couldn't engage with the characters. I guess this was one of the frogs you have to kiss ...
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This should have been a really good book 2 May 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I read the reviews of this, heard bits on Radio 4, and in honour of the Centenary, had just re-read Walter Lord's seminal work "A Night to Remember". I was going on holiday, so downloading this book seemed a logical follow-on. It really could have been a good book, but so many irritants precluded this. Very early on there was reference to "Lord" & Lady Duff Gordon - there are articles all over the internet on Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon & his wife - either the editor or the author just slipped up, but it made subsequent facts harder to believe. J Bruce Ismay was a fascinating subject, in today's parlance clearly a very "damaged" personality (or perhaps just plain unpleasant). The author seems undecided. I did seriously wonder if she had chosen him as a subject merely to be able to write a literary treatise on the comparisons with Conrad's Lord Jim. While it didn't put me off reading it (like many I just skipped through it, despite having been unable to stomach Conrad - gave up on the Shadow Line many years ago and was warned off Nostromo & Typhoon by my mother, who was commanded to read them by her father) it didn't significantly add anything to the so-called biography of Ismay.

The author had done a lot of research into Ismay himself, his family, his connections and the enquiries, the material on which was interesting, although (like them) no real conclusions were drawn from them or Ismay's behaviour at them. Ismay's behaviour was weird to the point of deranged, and his subsequent shunning by society was not altogether surprising. Indeed the author does not really plead a case for him. How much more illuminating it would have been to have arranged the book in chronological order. Presenting his early life well into the book just seemed perverse.
Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant 26 April 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I don't know which planet these people, who criticise this book as a character assassination, come from! Have they even read the book? I can only doubt that they have. This book isn't anti-Ismay in the slightest. It is sympathetic towards him and its conclusion is, if there is one, that whatever he did, and no one knows, and no one can ever know, he was only acting as a human being, so he shouldn't be judged by people who haven't themselves been tested in a stressful, life-or-death situation. It reminds me a little of The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher. Whicher is a little earlier, but they both dissect one 'case' and use this as a hub to explore further afield in contemporary literature and society, etc. They also delve into one man's psyche and see what they can discover. This is compelling and excellently written.
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to Survive the Titanic 18 Aug. 2011
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
J. Bruce Ismay was the managing director and chairman of the White Star Line, the company that built the Titanic. Ismay was on board and had seen a warning about ice sent from the Baltic, but went to bed after dinner apparently unconcerned. When the collision occurred at 11:40pm Ismay awoke and went to the bridge. One of a handful of people on board who realised the ship would sink he failed to warn his secretary, valet, dining companion or others of the danger. However, he did help load the lifeboats on the starboard side and was helping load Collapsible C, one of the four life rafts when he claimed, "I helped everybody into the boat that was there, and, as the boat was being lowered away, I got in." On this one action, Ismay was judged by the media as a coward. There were conflicting reports in the confusion - that Ismay was ordered to go, that he was virtually thrown into the boat by an officer, that he left on the first boat, that women already in the boat begged him to accompany them or that he was pressured to leave by members of the crew or the Captain. Ismay himself claimed he only took a seat when no women were there to take a place before him, but his actions were a defining moment in his life. William E. Carter, an American polo-playing millionaire, jumped into Collapsible C at the same time as Ismay and also claimed the deck was deserted and both men got into the lifeboat only after checking no women were there. However, Carter also claimed his wife and children had already left the ship and later, his wife Lucille, sued for divorce claiming he had deserted her and her children to their fate. Other passengers claimed there was pandemonium around the boat and that Ismay pushed his way on. Read more ›
Comment | 
Was this review helpful to you?
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Were these reviews helpful?   Let us know
Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Amazing and well written, held by attention until the end
Loved it
Published 8 months ago by ria grand
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting
An interesting book.

Like a lot of books about Ismay this cannot avoid giving opinions about his actions. However, I certainly found it interesting.
Published on 2 Mar. 2013 by Mr. M. Wilson
5.0 out of 5 stars The Perfect Titanic Book
I am a big Titanic buff, and this is probably the best book I've read on the Titanic disaster from a theoretical and ethical standpoint. Read more
Published on 12 Dec. 2012 by Lisa
1.0 out of 5 stars Spoiler Alert
Spolier Alert, do not read if you want to know how the book ends.

How to survive the titanic.

Answer 1) be rich or alternativly be a woman or a child.... Read more
Published on 6 Sept. 2012 by C. steel
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting history
well written detailed history mainly of J. Bruse Ismay, but also of the sinking of the Titanic. a bit dry when the author deviates into other author's stories of other sailors. Read more
Published on 28 May 2012 by Erica
5.0 out of 5 stars A Titanic Scapegoat ....
J Bruce Ismay's life was defined by a single event - the fact he survived the sinking of the Titanic when so many others, including hundreds of women and children, did not. Read more
Published on 14 May 2012 by Gregory S. Buzwell
2.0 out of 5 stars runs out of steam
I can spot the exact spot in the book where the author, like the Titanic, starts to run out of steam:suddenly she veers off, like the Titanic, into an iceberg; short of anything... Read more
Published on 1 May 2012 by Neil Murphy
3.0 out of 5 stars not what I was expectng
I found reading this book rather hard work. The cronology flitted back and forth and the endless references to Conrad and Lord Jim were teadious and distracting. Read more
Published on 27 April 2012 by pen
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Customer Discussions

This product's forum
Discussion Replies Latest Post
No discussions yet

Ask questions, Share opinions, Gain insight
Start a new discussion
First post:
Prompts for sign-in

Search Customer Discussions
Search all Amazon discussions

Look for similar items by category