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62 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A FASCINATING BIOGRAPHY OF A TRUE SURVIVOR
This is the biography of an extraordinary woman, who was so much more then just a Titanic survivor; she was a true survivor, with all the meaning of the word.

Born in Argentina where her Irish parents immigrated, Violet had to endure and overcome a serious illness that she was not expected to survive, sexual abuse, loss of several of her siblings, constant...
Published on 4 Jan. 2011 by Eleni

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 4 out of 10
I ordered this after watching the programmes about Titanic with Len Goodman on BBC when he mentioned Violet Jessop and her memoirs.

It is an easy and quick read, but Violet is far from being a good authoress and I was often frustrated by the lack of detail she gave to many of her more interesting experiences.

For example, early on in life, in...
Published on 29 April 2012 by S Edmondson


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62 of 62 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A FASCINATING BIOGRAPHY OF A TRUE SURVIVOR, 4 Jan. 2011
By 
Eleni - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Titanic Survivor: The Memoirs of Violet Jessop, Stewardess (Paperback)
This is the biography of an extraordinary woman, who was so much more then just a Titanic survivor; she was a true survivor, with all the meaning of the word.

Born in Argentina where her Irish parents immigrated, Violet had to endure and overcome a serious illness that she was not expected to survive, sexual abuse, loss of several of her siblings, constant changes of location in search of a better life, and extreme poverty. And yet, she describes her childhood as a happy one, filled with love, wisdom, warmth and an altogether positive attitude towards life. After her father's death the family moved to England, where again she had to face extreme poverty, loss, sexual abuse and to sacrifice her own dreams in order to help her family. Once again, Violet remained optimistic and positive.

During her many years at sea; a profession she chose out of necessity and never actually liked it, she survived three disasters. Her narration of Titanic's sinking is amazing and I think that from all the books, documentaries and movies about this famous liner, these thirty pages moved me the most. She provides so many information I never knew about Titanic, like the fact that this was the first time the crew was asked what little improvements would make their work easier and it was Tommy Andrews, whom she dearly loved, that made sure all improvements would be made. Also I never knew that there was a cat onboard, which had just given birth to a basket of kittens; so very sad. Violet's account of her last moments on Titanic are surreal and moving and her farewells to dear brave friends who perished that night will forever haunt me. As will her desperate hopes that the Californian would rescue them in time, and her account of their rescue by the Carpathia, which some women mistook for Titanic and greeted with joy, thinking that their loved ones were safe and all was well.

As if Titanic was not enough, during WWI she was posted as a nurse on Titanic's sister ship, the Britannic. When the ship was hit by a mine and sank in 1916, in Greece, Violet was among the few people who fell overboard and was injured by the ship's propellers, but it was her will to live that saved her. Once again Violet found the silver lining and kept a positive attitude and a sense of humour.

Violet never found happiness in her personal life, though few people deserve happiness as she did. She had a brief unhappy marriage with a co-worker that she does not mention in her memoirs, and never had children which she so much loved, although she did save a child's life on Titanic. Her great love with the elusive Australian Ned, remained unrecruited, but she always loved him and was very proud that she rejected multiple proposals for prosperous marriages "for the love of a pair of quizzical eyes."

The book is excellently introduced, edited and annotated by John Maxtone Graham. He provides all the facts that the reader needs to know in order to better understand Violet's memoirs and he comments on her narration without however interrupting her story. Also he explains the real names of Titanic's crew and passengers, as Violet changed most of the names. The book also includes interesting letters that Violet wrote to friends and family.

I bought this book as I thought that it would be an interesting account of Titanic's disaster but this is so much more. It is a fascinating biography of a strong woman, who's life was so full and interesting that Titanic was only a small part of it, and the best thing is that it is so well written and gripping that I could not put it down. Highly Recommended!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A memorable life at sea, 22 Aug. 2008
By 
L O'connor (richmond, surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Titanic Survivor: The Memoirs of Violet Jessop, Stewardess (Paperback)
Although this book is called 'Titanic Survivor' and includes a vivid and exciting description of that memorable event, the rest of Violet Jessop's life contained many interesting episodes that are recounted in this book.

Her childhood in Argentina was happy, though overshadowed by her own serious illness, and the illness and death of more than one sibling. Her teenage years, spent at a convent school in Kent run by Breton nuns, also seems to have been happy.

Feeling obliged to give up further education in order to support her mother and younger siblings, Violet embarked on a long career as a ship's stewardess. though there seem to have been many things about being a stewardess that she disliked, particularly the beggarly wages and the fact that they were mostly reliant on tips, she nevertheless continued to work at sea for most of her life.

A pretty girl, she had plenty of opportunities for romance, and turned down at least one very eligible proposal of marriage. The strong romantic attachment she felt to a young Australian called Ned in the end came to nothing, and although she was apparently briefly married, the book says nothing about it.

The sinking of the Titanic is memorably described, but even more dramatic is the sinking of the Britannic, in 1916, the description of which is not for the squeamish. Although the loss of life was comparatively small (only 28 died) a lot of people were horribly maimed by the propellers of the ship, and the descriptions of their horrific injuries make blood-curdling reading.

The editor, John Maxtone-Graham, occasionally casts doubt on certain passages, beleiving they may have been misremembered or exaggerated, but whether they are or not this certainly is an entertaining and memorable book.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fact Is Stranger Than Fiction, 15 Sept. 2010
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To be born and raised on the Argentinian pampas and die of old age in a Suffolk village sounds mildly interesting. But what if in between you had worked as a stewardess and had avoided death on three famous liners which had met with accidents? Including rescuing a baby as the Titanic sank. Violet tells us that as she passed the dignitaries whilst being ordered into the last lifeboat, the men were calm, waiting for a rescue that never came. The lights of the California could be seen on the horizon and "they must have picked up our SOS". If only.
However this life story is much more than a Titanic novel. It is about a person's resilience and will power to overcome sadness, setbacks and handicaps over a period of 80 years. She lived anonymously and humbly after retirement with her written account unpublished until the end - soccer players and actors please take note - so that all those extra questions one would like to have had asked unfortunately go unanswered.
This is a superb true-life adventure story.
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29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent insight into life at sea, 23 Mar. 2001
I couldn't put this book down. Violet Jessop was an incredible woman, surviving not just one but three accidents at sea. Her attitude is admirable and as you read more and more, you come to admire and respect her.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Violet Jessops intimate account of a life at sea, 27 May 2000
By 
ab..c (england) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
V.J was born October 2nd, 1887 of Irish parents in Argentina. Her health was very poor during childhood, but eventually she and her parents returned to the u.k in poverty. She had to forgo a valuable scholarship to support her beloved family. Her life at sea has a well written, intelligent restraint feel about it. She served on the all three of the Olympic class ships; the Titanic, the Britanic and the Olympic, amongst others. The first one you know about, but the second was hit by a mine in WW1 and sunk in less than 40 mins. She had a cracked skull from the accident but continued to nurse! The main interest, that of the Titanic, is very low key and only occupies 20 pages or so. Don't let this put you off, however. This is typical of the woman; suppressing large tragic events and magnify romatically low key events. The life of a maid was very hard and poorly paid and all sacrificed their home and family life for the rigid task masters of the cruise liners. The love of her life-Ned-drifts in and out of the picture as they span the worlds oceans in toil & labour. She was a handsome, practical, intelligent and caring women. I liked her character and she weaves a saga of another age. We will not see her like again.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars titanic suvivor, 3 Mar. 2012
This review is from: Titanic Survivor: The Memoirs of Violet Jessop, Stewardess (Paperback)
A very good story of the life of Violet Jessop. I found it engrossing as it follows her career as a Stewardess and includes her time on the sea with the three great liners, Olympic, Titanic, and Britannic, of which she survived the sinking of the last two. A very eventful life lived to the full and a great window on the times she lived through.

One of the best survivors stories written and I thoroughly recommended this as an excellent read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars 4 out of 10, 29 April 2012
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This review is from: Titanic Survivor: The Memoirs of Violet Jessop, Stewardess (Paperback)
I ordered this after watching the programmes about Titanic with Len Goodman on BBC when he mentioned Violet Jessop and her memoirs.

It is an easy and quick read, but Violet is far from being a good authoress and I was often frustrated by the lack of detail she gave to many of her more interesting experiences.

For example, early on in life, in Argentina, she was taken ill with a lung complaint and spent time in hospital, it is only much later you find she had part (or all?) of a lung removed. She never tells of this traumatic operation at the time. Similarly she never gives much of herself away, keeping very coy about onboard relationships, although this could be due to her Catholic upbringing (the episode where she takes great trouble to go all the way to Australia to visit her beloved Ned just sort of peters out because of something he says.)

I also got the feeling some of her tales were more than a bit exaggerated. A man climbing down the side of an enormous ship using a 'loosely tied' rope to reach a female passenger's porthole?? Why did she not call out 'Man Overboard'? And the story of Yuwa the rickshaw man was very far fetched, it's written almost like a fairy tale. Some doubt has also been cast on the 'baby' story - according to record the only baby on Titanic lifeboat 16 (Violet's lifeboat) was handed to an Edwina Troutt.

John Maxtone-Graham has edited and annoted the book in a fairly useful, but slightly pompous way, which is a bit irritating - he never seems to know whether to refer to 'Voilet' or 'Jessop'. He says in summing up Violet's later life that she was almost living in poverty - he bought her an electric kettle to replace the dodgy 'Tilley' primus stove she was using to boil water - really? In 1970? Are we are supposed to believe she was cooking on a camping stove and didn't have something as simple and relatively cheap as an electric kettle?

We are also told that Violet could hardly afford to retire as she had only a small pension, but yet she retired to a thatched, 16th Century country cottage with a paddock attached where she kept hens and employed a part - time gardener and was running a car. This was in the 1950's, when owning a car (in Britain anyway) meant you were pretty comfortably off financially. And Great Ashfield, where she lived, looks like an affluent, pretty, picture box village in the country.

Not a really bad book, but not the best one if you want to learn about life aboard Titanic and the tragic events that happened that night. Only a couple of chapters are about Titanic, so this is more of a story about Violet and her life. I get the feeling that 'Titanic' was stuck into the title of the book to cash in on the popularity of that ship and everything associated with it.

Violet certainly had a very interesting life, it would have just been nicer to learn a bit more about her, and why she stuck with a life at sea even though it was a pretty harsh life, and one she did not seem to like very much, apart from the world cruises she did in later years. It is suggested that it was to support her family and younger siblings, but as her brothers grew up and started work they could have helped out financially.

By the way, anyone intrigued by Violet's short-lived marriage (which she also avoided mentioning in the book!) should check out Encyclopedia Titanica on the web - there is a recent article (27 April 2011) on there about it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Story., 28 Nov. 2011
By 
Kenneth E. Tutton (Bristol, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Titanic Survivor: The Memoirs of Violet Jessop, Stewardess (Paperback)
As someone who cannot read enough books related to the White Star Line then this was perfect for me!
Violet Jessops life is fascinating, moving and shocking.
The only thing however that kept that magic fifth star away was John Maxtone-Grahams need to defend Americans where possible. If Americans were portrayed badly in the eyes of Violet Jessop then he was very quick with a footnote to excuse them!
The book was "Americanised" which is a shame but I suppose it was aimed at that market?
Buy this book if you want to read a very interesting account of life working at sea in a very different world we have now, don't assume it is all Titanic.
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A strong narrative badly let down, 13 Mar. 2011
This review is from: Titanic Survivor: The Memoirs of Violet Jessop, Stewardess (Paperback)
Violet Jessop's part of this book is a magnificent, heart-warming story of a woman who, from a sense of duty to her mother and siblings, took up a career she feared yet persisted in despite suffering two maritime tragedies, the sinking of the Titanic and her sister ship the Britannic.

Sadly, however, Miss Jessop has been let down by an editor who has completely misunderstood why she wrote it. What Miss Jessop wrote is a aide-memoire of memories for her own and her family's information. The editor treats it as a defective scholarly treatise. He complains that her chapters do not end with summaries of what she wrote and adds, often trite, summaries of his ownn and he interrupts her narrative to add unnecessary historical detail.

Miss Jessop, a woman of outstanding character from whom we can all learn, deserves better.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An autobiography that gives life to the tragedy, 10 Feb. 2013
By 
M. Follows (West Midlands United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Titanic Survivor: The Memoirs of Violet Jessop, Stewardess (Paperback)
I picked up this book because of its link with the RMS Titanic and the HMHS Britannic. My interest in Britannic is due to the fact that one of my technical diver friends is one of the few to have explored the wreck.

I didn't have high hopes for this book. How wrong I was. This is so much more than another book about Titanic. Violet Jessop was much more than a mere Titanic survivor; she led a charmed and very colourful life. She is an inspiration. Granted, she experienced poverty and the loss of siblings. But she survived and being a dearly loved child may have bestowed her with the strength of character to face what was to come.

Her testimony of the sinking of both the RMS Titanic and HMHS Britannic has the detachment of a witness. But they were woven with passages that make your heart skip a beat. For example, as Titanic was sinking, Stanley, one of the bedroom stewards, came down to Violet's cabin to chivvy her along to muster on deck for the lifeboats. Stanley knows that he will not get a place on a lifeboat and Violet looks back see "he was standing with his arms clasped behind him in the corner where he usually kept his evening watch", resigned to his fate.

She came very close to perishing when the Britannic struck a mine near the island of Kea in Greece during World War One. The Britannic had been requisitioned as a hospital ship and Violet was serving as a nurse (Voluntary Aid Detachment). She could not swim and was afraid of drowning so she was the last to jump from her lifeboat to escape the spinning propellers of the Britannic as it continued to make way, while sinking bows first. Her captain was trying to run the ship aground or steer her to shallow waters, for subsequent recovery. Violet ended up with a fractured skull and a severe gash to her leg.

But this book is much more than a catalogue of ships she served on or the sinking of the Titanic or Britannic. Violet endured unrequited love. She went on a date with Ned Tracy, a ship's officer, when their ship put ashore in Jamaica. Towards the end of the evening they kissed. On the strength of a "kiss has always remained my most sacred and wonderful memory", Violet worked her passage to Australia to see Ned again, in the forlorn hope that they would be married. While he seemed a little distant, his parents were "hospitable and charming", though she "caught a commiserating expression in their eyes". Did they suspect that their son was gay, I wonder, or that he had issues with intimacy? Or was he just shy? He later wrote to Violet to express his sorrow at the death in battle of her youngest brother. He spoke of his regret that he did not marry her. She ends that chapter with the words: "I always half expected to find Ned smiling one day on the doorstep, yet, when he failed to come, I was not surprised." She wasn't short of admirers so we assume that she chose to remain single. While it might be easy to feel sorry for Violet I think many people would love to have lived her life.

I think the commentary added by John Maxtone-Graham enhances the book. Highly recommended.
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Titanic Survivor: The Memoirs of Violet Jessop, Stewardess
Titanic Survivor: The Memoirs of Violet Jessop, Stewardess by Violet Jessop (Paperback - 19 April 2007)
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