As the 100th anniversary approaches, there have been a number of books with new information previously unseen. Unfortunately, Last Night in a Small Town is put together with the help of other books and easily accessible online resources. Since much of what is found in this book is taken from other books, what was the point of this book? There are 2200 plus passengers and crew to chose from so I would think that an author would avoid the trap of telling stories that have been told elsewhere. The more successful Titanic books are from authors who talk to families, dig through newspaper/museum archives, etc. If you are very new to the Titanic story, this work is fine. However, it would be recommended that you should buy the original books the author used to put this piece together.
John Welshman is a respected and well published author and his very readable book traces the last night of the Titanic through twelve individual histories of some of the inhabitants of this tragically short lived floating town; from a senior officer to a young Assistant Wireless Officer and passengers from First, Second and Third Class. Doing so, he provides interesting insights into why those people were on the liner in the first place. Last May my wife and I sailed across the Atlantic on the Queen Mary 2. As for many on the Titanic , our journey was both a celebration and an opportunity to stay with relatives in New Jersey and Washington. Complete with our formal, semi formal and elegant casual clothes that we were to wear for evening meals, we were soon installed in our State Room and went to explore the opulence of a vessel as magnificent, if not more so, than was the Titanic. It was somewhat unnerving as we assembled for emergency drill to remember that like the Queen Mary 2, the Titanic was also reckoned to be the last word in maritime safety. Later, it was also sobering to recall her last night as we sailed over her grave and that of those who died 12,500 feet below. Then, when on the Sunday morning as we joined the Captain's worship I remembered that as the Titanic sank, the ship's orchestra played the old Victorian hymn, "Nearer my God to Thee." As the centenary of this tragic maritime disaster is commemorated, a number of powerful human themes are picked up in Welshman's excellent book which portrays a very different picture from the romance and disaster of many films and other publications. From the accounts he captures, he provides a fascinating story - and a first rate book at an excellent price - not to be missed in 2012.