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.