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Titanic: A Fresh Look at the Evidence by a Former Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents [Hardcover]

John Lang
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
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Book Description

1 Sep 2012
The sinking of the Titanic on her maiden voyage in April 1912 was one of the defining moments of the twentieth century. Books and films about the disaster that befell the iconic liner are commonplace, and it seems almost inconceivable that anything fresh can emerge. But there is one angle that has not been covered, and Titanic Revisited examines the events of April 1912 from that completely new perspective. John Lang brings the standards of a twenty-first-century accident investigation to bear on the events of April 1912, using his expertise and his investigator's instinct to determine exactly what happened a century ago, and what important lessons still need to be learned.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (1 Sep 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1442218908
  • ISBN-13: 978-1442218901
  • Product Dimensions: 3 x 14.8 x 21.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 506,244 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Among the plethora of books written about the loss of RMS Titanic, none has come from the hand of so distinguished an author. Rear Admiral John Lang began his sea-going career as a cadet in the cargo ships of the P&O, commanded submarines and a frigate in the Royal Navy and went on to head the UK government's Marine Accident Investigation Branch. This puts him in the prime position to examine the record of the Titanic with a forensic eye, to interpret the evidence with a seaman's experience, and to draw conclusions from which emotion is absent. Highly recommended. -- Captain Richard Woodman, FRHistS FNI Elder Brother, Trinity House John Lang brings to this compelling story a fairness and objectivity that were lacking in the aftermath of the sinking, and he casts a fresh, seamanlike eye over the events of April 1912. --M. Andrew Grey, MBE Former editor of Lloyds List

About the Author

Rear Admiral John Lang is a British professional seaman officer who has served in both the merchant service and the Royal Navy, and after a maritime career spanning 36 years and three sea commands he became head of the UK's Marine Accident Investigation Branch, retiring in 2002.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Seeks to understand rather than to blame 30 Sep 2012
There's no shortage of books about the Titanic. This one is written by a modern day expert in marine accident investigation. It is well worth reading. In shows how many factors contributed to the accident and the massive loss of life. It debunks versions of the story which vilify particular individuals. It shows how, as is so often the case, a series of errors well within the bounds of normal human frailty, led to a catastrophe. Folly played its part, but the important thing in such cases is to learn and put safeguards in place to prevent the same mistakes being made again. For example, it might be regarded as outrageous that nearby vessels didn't respond urgently to distress signals - until you realise that at the time there was no unambiguous agreement about how to signal distress. The book is carefully written in a quietly eloquent style, and the initial context setting section is interesting for its own sake, giving general insight into seafaring at the time.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Many factors combined to make this disaster 11 Oct 2012
A very well-written, thoughtful and thought-provoking study, it explores some 'angles' which will previously have eluded many people, myself included, for example the technicalities of ship visibility at night, the pervasive effects of the Edwardian system of class and deference amongst passengers, officers & crew, poorly formulated regulations, and errors in position determination. A very good antidote to the more lurid and inventive accounts, this has to be required reading for anyone remotely interested in the subject, and I hope it finds the wide audience it deserves.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As a someone who has read a library of Titanic books and seen the films, I shuddered when I read notice of publication of another new book on the subject. Very topical, on this the 100th. anniversary of the disaster and also following the recent Costa Concordia catastophy.

But this is a refreshing analysis of this ubiquitous incident by John Lang the former Chief Inspector of the UK's Marine Accident Investigation Branch which seeks to answer just two questions:- Why did the Titanic collide with an Ice berg? and, Why did so many people lose their lives?

Applying his MAIB expertise, Lang's new book offers a fresh look at the evidence that was produced in the US and UK inquiries after the disaster and which tends to have coloured our thinking ever since.

In his forward to this book which can be found at [...], Michael Grey, ex-Editor of Lloyds' List, provides a more detailed review and critique than I can ever hope to achieve.

The book Titanic by John Lang, ISBN978-1-4422-1890-1 is available in hardback from Amazon etc., but as yet is not available as an e-book. It is well worth the read and not just by Titanic aficinado's. It is a must for all those who have been assciated with Marine Accident Investigation
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By alapper
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is an investigation of the sinking of the RMS Titanic by a retired marine accident investigation specialist with a long naval career. It seeks to answer two main questions 'Why did the Titanic collide with an iceberg' and 'Why did so many people loose their lives' He starts by giving a background of the state of marine transport in Edwardian time, before given a factual account with full details of the events leading up to the collision with an iceberg and the subsequent foundering of the ship and escape and rescue of some of her passengers. There is nothing that is new or sensational in this account but considerable detail is given of facts that might have materially contributed to the disaster. Finally he summarises his findings without attempting to apportion blame but in such a way that recommendations for the improvement of future safety at sea might have been made in 1912. The only fact not available in 1912 that he has made use of is the known position of the wreck - and this is used in a careful analysis of the position of the 'Californian' relative to the Titanic. The master of the 'Californian' was crticised at the time for being the closest vessel to the sinking but only headed in that direction after the lifeboats had been picked up by the Carpathia.
The basic reasons he gives for the collision are in no way new - the ship was steaming too fast by night towards a known icefield with inadequate lookout. Nor are the reasons for the great loss of life - too few lifeboats, many launched only half full.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read... 11 Nov 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I was concerned that this book would be inaccessible to me; a little too technical or high-brow. I needn't have been. It has proved to be a balanced, well-written, easy to understand and wide-reaching explanation of an event which has been much discussed and dramatised in the last 100 years.

Lang's perspective offers an intelligent and thought-provoking assessment of the demise of the Titanic. His credibility, given his working life, is second to none and lifts this book above many others that have gone before it.

Well worth a read.
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