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Titanic Captain: The Life of Edward John Smith [Paperback]

Gary Cooper
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Oct 2011
Commander Edward John Smith's career had been a remarkable example of how a man from a humble background could get far in the world. Born to a working-class family in the landlocked Staffordshire Potteries, he went to sea at the age of 17 and rose rapidly through the ranks of the merchant navy, serving first in sailing vessels and later in the new steamships of the White Star Line. By 1912, he was White Star's senior commander and regarded by many in the shipping world as the 'millionaire's captain'. In 1912, Smith was given command of the new RMS Titanic for her maiden voyage, but what should have been among the crowning moments of his long career at sea turned rapidly into a nightmare following the Titanic's collision with an iceberg. In a matter of hours the supposedly unsinkable ship sank, taking over 1,500 people with her, including Captain Smith.

Frequently Bought Together

Titanic Captain: The Life of Edward John Smith + The Man Who Sank Titanic: The Troubled Life of Quartermaster Robert Hichens + How to Survive the Titanic or The Sinking of J. Bruce Ismay
Price For All Three: 19.59

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: The History Press (1 Oct 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0752460722
  • ISBN-13: 978-0752460727
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 470,215 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


Still making waves after 100 years, Titanic Captain, The Life of Edward John Smith by Gary Cooper. The finest of this year's crop.Plainly the result of years of research, it is astutely written, and a significant contribution. It also has a poignant postscript. Of all those linked to Titanic, Smith's daughter, Melville, was one of the more ill-fated. Father went down with his ship; mother was knocked down and killed by a London taxi; her husband died in a freak shooting accident; her son was killed on war service with the RAF; and her daughter died of polio at 24. One wonders if the cause of the disaster was not the usual human failings but simply that the fates had it in for the Smith family. --The Independent on Sunday

Gary Cooper has taken on a rather challenging project. From sometimes conflicting accounts, controversies, gaps in the evidence and the patina of legend, he has attempted to reconstruct the life of an Edwardian merchant officer and his role in a notorious disaster. Overwhelmingly, he has succeeded. While at times we see through a glass dimly, we still see, and what is probably the most clearly delineated portrait of Smith we are ever likely to have emerges....Titanic Captain represents a substantial contribution to our knowledge of Smith the individual, and gives us an invaluable, clear narrative of his role in the Titanic's brief life and tragic fate. --Encyclopedia Titanica

About the Author

Gary Cooper has worked as a typewriter mechanic, museum illustrator, supply teacher and now a museum presentations assistant. A keen artist, devourer of histories, biographies, Victorian adventure stories and modern science-fiction novels. He has a Masters degree in Victorian Studies and has been tracing the career of local boy E.J. Smith on and off since 1983. His great, great, great-grandparents lived eleven doors away from the Smith family in 1851. He lives in Staffordshire.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book worth reading. 14 April 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was pleased to have read this book. We all, I'm sure, by now know the story of the Titanic. This book gives that story but does not focus on it unnecessarily. It does, as well as able, focus on the Captain, the man. A worthy book to sit alongside Walter Lord as a primer for anyone interested in the Titanic story. I have it in kindle form and one does not looses out on the photos. An excellent book.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Well Worth Reading 16 May 2013
We hear lots about Titanic and it's celebrity millionaire passenger list but not much about her crew. I'm very glad to have came across this biography of the `EJ' as I enjoyed it immensely. The book describes the late mariners humble beginnings and how he worked his way to become one of the most respected Masters in the shipping industry. The book describes how Smith was an aggressive Captain, taking his ship out in adverse conditions where no other master would dare leave port, hence giving Smith the title of the `storm king.' The books also informs the reader that Smiths career was not without hazard or mishap prior to Titanic. He grounded his vessel while entering port at speed and not waiting to collect a pilot. Overall the book exhibits Smith to be a highly competent mariner who was vastly experienced. As to what happened to this great mariner on that fatal night in the north Atlantic is a question that will always remain unanswered. A must read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read 8 July 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed reading this book from beginning to end. The author has gone to great lengths in his research on Edward Smith. I was always curious to know what happened to his family, the sad facts are revealed here in this book. I have roots in Stoke on Trent and in the Southampton area and was able to relate to the life of EJS. I would recommend this book not only to those with an interest in Titanic, but also to anyone who is interested in the life of a merchant seaman at the turn of the 19th / 20th century. Driving past the docks at Southampton this morning took on a whole different meaning for me after reading this book.

Titanic Captain: The Life of Edward John Smith
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5.0 out of 5 stars Titanic Captain 12 Dec 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A very thorough and interesting book about Captain Edward Smiths early years growing up in Hanley , Stoke on Trent ...and right through his working life ..until the fateful...'Night to Remember'.....
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My first book on Kindle 13 Jan 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A good read a remarkable man. Of course we all know the ending of the story but few know the begining. This book brings the Captian to life.
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