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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 9 June 2012
I suppose this book had to be written. It is a very well written account of the backdrop to and the characters involved in the disaster. That means everyone from the owners of the White Star Line, millionaire businessman and high society, down to crew and poor emigrants from eastern Europe hoping to find wealth in America. The scope and historical backdrop of the book is large and includes accounts of many selected passengers and others both on and off the ship on its maiden voyage. It also creates a beguiling image of time and place and the significance of Titanic and the sinking. There are many facts in here that may surprise you but they are told with an authority that is based on significant historical research. Although I enjoyed the breadth of the book and some of the attention to detail, the book's main strength is also its main weakness. It becomes impossible to become intimately involved with any of the characters because of the sheer number that are included. In the end the book reads more like an history book from the checklist of a University course, rather than an engrossing piece of journalism, or even historical fiction. That said I found it flowed along nicely and managed to tell the story we all now know so well with intellectual flare, dignity and repose. It is also worth reading because it addresses the many false accounts of what happened and as a result seems to balances the books when, for example, it comes to apportioning 'blame' for the disaster. The book doesn't finish when the ship goes down either but also gives an exemplary account of the days and weeks following.
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on 6 October 2013
This comprehensive book does much more than rehash the familiar story of the ship and the disaster. The author details the lives of some of the workers and rich travelers on this fateful voyage, thus enabling the reader to grasp the details of what life was like (for the rich and poor) in 1912

I'm from the U.S. and read (by a customer) on Amazon's U.S. site that whole chapters have been left out of the U.S. version and a complete version can be purchased at Amazon U.K. I really enjoyed this work. Why it was so heavily edited in the U.S. is a mystery to me.

There have been hundreds of books published about the Titanic. This easily ranks among the top.
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on 10 August 2013
How could I give this 5 stars when that means I'm then supposed 'to love' this book? The subject is still too shocking for that, and not just because of the descriptions of the circumstances of those who didn't survive or who saved their lives by some sort of miracle or trick.
We also learn of the global capitalism that built the boat and the gigantic lives of its odious backers. The revelations of the immigration laws, rules and their crude interpretation by officials in New York is frankly staggering. Would you have thought that the companion-ways between First, Second and Third classes on all transatlantic liners were securely closed to passengers because of those immigration rules? Well wait, yes one would because I suppose the eastern Europe of 1912 was 'Bongo-Bongo Land' to the American élite.
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on 4 March 2013
A very informative book about this maritine tragedy. It tells about the passengers and crew and their lives. An enjoyable read.
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on 9 June 2013
Maybe I should have given it a 4 starr, but I will stick with three. Quite factual, a lot of research done, that is apparant. For me it tends to have a fair amount of packing written in ,it but beyond that it is full of detail worth knowing on this subject. It is well written and holds one 's interest. I would recommend it to anyone, well worth the money.I would buy it again.
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on 19 August 2012
Not overly impressed. Bought this as a printed book for the Mrs for her birthday, for me on Kindle afterwards. Find that the book jumps around and can be repetitious. Expected more context in how each of the groups fitted into the Titanic, and that was done well at first, but as the book goes on the care taken seems to be less and less. Things get downright sketchy by the time the damn boat sinks. Still, the book is interesting and does bring some new focus to bear. Enjoyable, but I'm not sure it's worth the £10 I paid.
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on 29 April 2012
I enjoyed some parts of this book, but it was hard going overall and didn't seem to flow well. It also veered off at tangents. For example, one minute the author is talking about the building of the Titanic in Belfast, and the next minute he's talking about WW2 ..then events in the USA, etc etc

I also disliked the tone of much of this book. The author seemed to delight in being negative and harsh to many people; for example Harland and Wolff's chief William Pirrie had his character and social status decimated by the author in tones reminiscent of a particularly nasty episode of EastEnders. Perhaps this was the authors aim: to spice up the aging Titanic story.
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on 17 March 2012
A very good interesting read. It is very detailed explaining the different lifestyles and expectations that the different classes on board the boat lived.
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on 30 March 2014
Disappointed in this. Expected more human stories but regaled with quite a lot of dry technical and even "political" stuff.
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on 29 June 2012
Purchased Titanic Lives as an extra birthday gift-fast delivery and very good purchase price.Very interesting to read about different aspects to this terrible disaster.
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