While numerous books and the two iconic films of the Titanic tragedy have left little unsaid, this handy little book ends where many of those stories begin. Written in an authentic early 20th Century style, it provides a handy guide for prospective passengers prior to embarkation on a routine transatlantic crossing. The confidence of the era shines through the early pages, presenting Titanic and her sister Olympic as the latest jewels in the crown of Britain's maritime power, constructed almost entirely from materials provided by Britain's industrial base. The two commercial giants are the White Star Line and Harland & Wolff, working together to create the most luxurious liners of the day.
The technical description of the builder's yard and the ship are useful, although more likely to be found as content of a "Commissioning Book" rather than a passenger's guide. However, they do provide a context for the reader, presenting Titanic as a pinnacle of technological achievement, considerably better found than many ships of her era. The prospective passenger, particularly one travelling in First Class, might well find interest in the middle section of the book, although the diagrams showing deck layouts are almost indecipherable in this compact format. The many luxurious facilities compare favourably with the cruise liners of today and the exquisite decor with its extraordinary mix of styles and periods is described in detail, with lovely contemporary illustrations. Some of the real gems within this book are to be found in the detail. For example, the "General Information for Passengers in the Second Class" requires that dogs, cats and monkeys are to be caged before being brought onboard and placed in charge of the ship's butcher. Elsewhere the author describes Titanic's submarine signalling device, in the form of hydrophones which may detect the presence of bells fitted to offshore buoyage - potentially useful when making a landfall in poor visibility.
In summary, this book presents another facet to the Titanic story, clearly presenting the pride and optimism of the era, which was shortly to be shattered by the cataclysm of World War as surely as this beautiful but flawed vessel was herself on her maiden voyage. It perhaps offers more to the maritime enthusiast rather than the general reader,although at the price it is a worthy alternate view.