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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
What the author seems to have done is essentially a 'cut & paste' job - trawl libraries and other resources for newspaper reports both before and after the sinking, and then compile them in a book. This explains why other reviewers say that it is repetitive. Reading this book is a bit like buying all the national newspapers on the day of a major event, like 9/11, and reading them (and doing so again for a while thereafter). Many will give you a slightly different angle but you quickly feel bored due to repetition. The author does write introductions to the stories and the book's Introduction itself is interesting, so it is not purely a cut & paste job.

On the other hand, if you set aside the natural inaccuracy of newspaper reporting, newspaper reports from a few days after the event, reporting survivors' stories, are likely to be more accurate than Hollywood versions.

For example, one report tells the story of, as a lifeboat is being lowered, a person in the lifeboat telling the reporter: 'A number of other passengers, mostly men, were standing near by (sic) and they joked with us because we were going out on the ocean. "The ship can't sink", said one. "You'll catch your death of cold out there in the ice".'

Another newspaper report, from the Boston Post on 20th April 1912 (see what I mean about contemporaneous reporting?) concerns an interview with a survivor who saw a mother and her six children being allowed onto the interviewee's lifeboat but the father being denied entry. The newspaper story states ' "Let him come with me. Oh please let him come with me", she pleaded. "I don't want to live if he can't come. There will be nobody to earn bread for my little children", she wailed. But the officers wouldn't let the father go. "I'll stay with my husband then", the woman cried. I saw her clinging to her husband and children just before I left the vessel. That was the last I ever saw of her. The whole family went down together". It's terribly, terribly sad. You can see both the foolishness of her decision and why she did it.

The book gives a passenger list, compiled by ticket/job type (First, Second, Steerage & Crew, with Crew sub-divided by job type), with survivors in bold. It is interesting seeing the approximate percentage of survivors by class or crew's job (I say approximate as the list is just a list - there is no analysis included). For example, many men and many people in Steerage survived. Many men made it into lifeboats (and some newspaper reports in the book state survivors not realising that there were men in the lifeboats until the sun rose). Many sections of crew had heavy losses but two sections stuck out by being 100% in bold - Quartermasters and Lookout men (7 and 6 in total respectively).

So, the book is repetitive and reads less like a book and more like a relative's scrapbook containing newspaper clippings of the disaster. I got it in the Spring Sale and am pleased I did not pay full price for it. Maybe it is better for dipping into, to read newspaper report by newspaper report.

* Edit 10/5/12: I've upgraded my rating for the book from 3 to 4 stars for two reasons. Firstly, I've found myself coming back to the book (it IS far better read in small doses). Secondly, the book mentions a few incidents which give you an insight into how it was not obvious to those on board how perilous a situation they were in - for example, the book quotes Mrs William T. Graham speaking to Howard Case:

'On the deck we met Howard Case... ...I asked his advice, because I had already seen one boatload of passengers lowered and I wanted to know if it would be safer to stay on board. Mr Case advised us to get into a boat. "And what are you going to do?" we asked him. "Oh," he replied. "I'll take a chance and stay here."

That's an example of the Historian's Fallacy.

I wondered if Mr Case realised his error and survived. I realised I didn't need to wonder as the answer was in the book - in the passenger list. His name was there but not in bold. Mrs William T. Graham was in bold.

Likewise, I've found myself using the passenger list in this book as a reference source. For example, a TV programme mentioned an incident and the name of the passengers concerned. It didn't say if they survived. So I looked them up in this book. While that's slightly morbid, it connects you slightly more to the tragedy - it is a relief when you find out that they did survive.

I found the application of the Historian's Fallacy to this book haunting. Historian's Fallacy reared its ugly head in 9/11 too - see my review of '102 Minutes' for more details. What seems obvious now was not obvious to those living the event.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I was really looking forward to reading this book as I have always held a fascination for the Titanic as have many others, Whilst I found the facts and survivor accounts extremely fascinating and at times heartbreaking, the book was as many other reviews have also stated very repetitive and misleading. The author seems to have just copied and pasted every newspaper account from the time and I found the first part of the book very tough going. We get told the same information many times and in different ways to the point where I was skipping forward page after page to get to more interesting parts. It was like trying to sit down and read every newspaper that was published from that week in history, we get told all the inaccurate information that was printed at the time and I feel lots of irrelevant info that was not necessary. I have as yet to complete the book though, but my suggestion is that it's one of those books to keep coming and going from as and when you want to, it's not like reading a novel that has a following plot. I am glad I purchased this in the spring sale, it's a good book to have in my collection but a good bargain.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 11 May 2012
This was a very interesting book about the most dreadful of sea travel disasters. I did find it a little repetitive, but the way the book was written was clear and the characters 'came to life', so that you knew who was who, the heroes and the cowards.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
This is a very full and comprehensive collection of almost all accounts by Titanic survivors and others related to these events, as well as a wide range of newspaper articles from before, during and after the events. As such, it contains many tragic and moving accounts, though also, inevitably, rather a lot of duplication. It is very useful as a compendium of relevant contemporary accounts, though it could have done with a little more contextualisation and analysis to balance the undoubtedly valuable comtemporary testimony. Contains very useful lists of passengers and crew, biographies of survivors and ships, plus a glossary (very usefully searchable on my Kindle edition) which rounds off its valuable reference function. 4/5
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 10 April 2012
i found this book to be really haunting.it covers every angle of the story of the titanic.a very good factual read
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on 20 May 2012
I loved this book as I found myself completely immersed in the time particularly as the newspaper articles and statements are reproduced verbatim. I did not find it repetitive only insofar as many witnesses and accounts state and re-state the events of the voyage. To me, this gave me sense of the time and what it felt like to read the daily reports of both the British & US inquiries and the various newspaper stories from survivors. Reading numerous witness statements is going to be repetitive to some degree, but what it does is allow you to make your mind up regarding various incidents. The individual stories are heartbreaking in many cases, and in some, heartwarming. The author has done a fabulous job with this; how anyone could be bored reading it, I have no idea.
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I have always been fascinated by the Titanic history since long before the recent hype due to the anniversary. I have read and re-read books, articles and watched documentaries but am now reading even more since so many books have flooded the market at this time. Voices from the Titanic is an excellent read. There have been many conflicting views given on events from that terrible time but people who were there have recalled their experiences which, in most cases, are factual and in some instances quite remarkable. There is little doubt that the whole situation was fraught with sadness and horror and much has been revealed of the class distinction and the incredible flaws in the vessel's construction and safety provisions, many of these highlighted in retrospect.
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on 22 April 2012
I bought this book as it's always interesting to read about events from the people who were actually there. The book starts off well but you seen find yourself reading the same thing over and over for quite a few pages. It starts off by describing the vast size and how luxurious the ship was, even for those in steerage. It gives you a good sense of how little worry there was after the ship hit the iceberg, and how the crew and passengers were so sure the ship wouldn't sink, it wasn't until they started loading the lifeboats that people realised how serious the situation was. I haven't read it all yet, but for 99p I can't complain!
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on 5 December 2012
Truly inspiring read, true accounts with very detailed and descriptive reports on the design, launch, voyage and sinking of this ship.... Recommended, some parts are very sad , however the tale of how the lifeboats were half empty now makes sense, people genuinely did not believe she would sink, and men were chivalrous to women and children, so went to their unfortunate deaths!
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 20 April 2012
I have been facinated with the Titanic for years and thought this book sounded interesting but after a few chapters you read something and think im sure i have already read that, this happened a lot and after a while i became a bit bored with reading it. It is a bit too repetitive, although in the begining it is quite good
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