Titanic Lives: Migrants and Millionaires, Conmen and Crew Paperback – 27 Sep 2012
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‘A masterpiece of narrative history’ Mail on Sunday
‘An astonishing work, of meticulous research, which allows us to know, in painful detail, the men and women on that fateful voyage. Even now, a hundred years later, Mr Davenport-Hines finds a new, and heart-breaking, story to tell’ Julian Fellowes
‘Eloquent and absorbing… As well as being a fascinating work of social history, Titanic Lives is a remarkable study of empathy and its absence. As such it will stay afloat long after the armada of other Titanic books have gone down’ Frances Wilson, Daily Telegraph
‘Richard Davenport-Hines’s immaculately researched history brings an extraordinary cavalcade of characters to vivid life’ Sunday Telegraph
‘Fascinating social history’ Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times
‘By far the most gripping book on the subject…he manages to maintain an extraordinary forward momentum, yet at the same time rescue from the deep, the biographies of hundreds of people…Davenport-Hines’s sense of what to reveal when is perfectly tuned’ Rose Tremain, Guardian
About the Author
Richard Davenport-Hines won the Wolfson Prize for History for his first book, ‘Dudley Docker’. He is an adviser to the ‘Oxford Dictionary of National Biography’ and has also written biographies of W.H. Auden and Marcel Proust. His most recent book, ‘Ettie, the Intimate Life of Lady Desborough’ was published in 2008. A Fellow of the Royal Historical Society and the Royal Society of Literature, he reviews for the Sunday Telegraph, the Sunday Times and the Times Literary Supplement.
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Top Customer Reviews
Titanic was supposed to bring a new era to Atlantic crossing and passengers often claimed, "You would never imagine you were on board a ship." On board the largest ship in the world it was easy to forget the power of the ocean. This fascinating book looks at the people who were responsible for building Titanic and where it was built. The general idea was to build ships which replicated the amenities the rich expected of luxury hotels. Lifeboats were, apparently, discussed for five or ten minutes" during a meeting, but it is worth pointing out that Titanic was no worse than other liners and that they fulfilled all the regulations of the day. For passengers, steam travel was both quicker and safer.
On board Titanic were a huge number of rich and influential passengers, including John Jacob Astor IV and Benjamin Guggenheim.Read more ›
I was fascinated as Richard Davenport-Hines set the infamous maiden voyage in its historical and cultural context.
Far from being a dull list as one reviewer would have it the book interestingly begins with the "life" of the fateful iceberg and then carefully moves on to reveal the race at the beginning of the 20th century to produce bigger, faster and grander steam ships, although, he notes, they were largely crewed by men trained in sail power and pretty much universally set to sea with fewer lifeboats than would be needed in case of disaster. It wasn't just the Titanic. In fact the Titanic carried more than the officially designated number for a ship of its size, and anyway it was said she was so sturdy and unsinkable she was herself just one big lifeboat.
Davenport-Hines beautifully sets the scene as commission hungry shipping line agents sold the American dream to potential immigrants who clamoured for the promised land, only to be met with harshness and scarcely hidden racism at Ellis Island. He compares this to the lives of the first class passengers and their snobbery - inherited wealth looking down upon new found wealth, and the second class, with men running away with their mistresses. In second class he tells the story of the only black passenger on the ship, with his white wife and their children, all looking for a new start in a more open-minded land, as well as a Japanese priest who would survive the disaster but be fired from the church for the shame of doing so.
My one criticism (and the only thing preventing 5 stars) would be that the author covers perhaps too many of the people on board and so we are sometimes only given scant detail of their lives and reasons for heading to New York.Read more ›
Of course having an Irish background and coming from a great sea port and its history of ships and liners and ship building ( Camel Lairds ) and actually attending the Titanic expo way back in the mid 80's and amazing that was too in Liverpools Albert Dock , I really wanted the book for me and then maybe pass on to whomever is interested .
A lovely thick book that im sure would make a great present for someone appreciating history and the Famous Boat she was was ..and it will also tell the other exciting tale ...
What more can I say , great evening reading on the safe shores of your settee .
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Not quite what I was expecting: an inch thick book with far more detail than I needed and the narrative style is dull and highly speculative. Read morePublished 18 months ago by lyra
Just when you thought there was nothing left to say about this momentous event in history along comes this book. Read morePublished on 4 July 2014 by Jon T
Disappointed in this. Expected more human stories but regaled with quite a lot of dry technical and even "political" stuff.Published on 30 Mar. 2014 by Jayess