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ISBN-13: 978-0470873878
ISBN-10: 0470873876
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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

The Titanic was the biggest, most luxurious passenger ship the world had ever seen. The ads proclaimed it to be unsinkable. When it sank in April 1912 after hitting an iceberg, killing more than 1,500 people, the world was forever changed, and we have been spellbound ever since. Now, a century later, the Titanic is about to disappear forever: its infrastructure will finally collapse in the next few years. In this book, scientist and New York Times Bestselling writer Charles Pellegrino offers what may be our last opportunity to see the ship before it is lost to the sea for eternity.

In Farewell, Titanic, world-renowned Titanic expert Pellegrino re-creates the great ship’s final hours in stunning detail, clears up several key mysteries about what actually happened, and reveals new information about how and why the ship went under so quickly. This is probably the last book that could have been written while Titanic survivors were still alive, and in Farewell, Titanic, Pellegrino draws on survivors’ firsthand stories of the tragedy as well as evidence he and others have collected during their deep-sea explorations of the ship’s remains in the last twenty-five years. Together, these sources create a riveting account of the intensely dramatic moments before and after the collision and of the aftermath.

Farewell, Titanic also goes far beyond the nightmarish catastrophe to draw connections between the loss of more than 1,500 souls and some of the tragedies of our won era. Drawing on the author’s personal story, the book examines with rare sensitivity and immediacy the cautionary scientific and poignant spiritual lessons of disaster. Filled with dozens of extraordinary original color photos of the great ship, Farewell, Titanic offers compelling reading for anyone who is fascinated by forensic maritime science or who is simply moved by the timeless drama of history’s most legendary shipwreck.

From the Back Cover

Praise for Charles Pellegrino

Farewell, Titanic

"Pellegrino has completed his twenty-five-year journey of Titanic exploration with this deeply detailed book that looks the horror and chaos of that disaster square in the eye, with human insights not previously brought to light. Pellegrino really is the king of connect-the-dots."
James Cameron, Academy Award-winning director of Titanic

"Charles Pellegrino's aptly named book is packed with untold stories. There is much to admire here, and Pellegrino is just the man to document what may indeed be the Titanic's final chapter."
Bill Schutt, American Museum of Natural History, author of Dark Banquet

Ghosts of the Titanic

"Charles Pellegrino has raised the Titanic—at least in my imagination."
Stephen King

"Very moving. Like Her Name, Titanic, Ghosts of the Titanic often brought tears to my eyes."
Sir Arthur C. Clarke, author of 2001: A Space Odyssey

Her Name, Titanic

"Like walking through a Stanley Kubrick film . . . it is impossible to pull off this sort of thing without knowing the facts, and Charlie Pellegrino knows his Titanic inside and out."
Walter Lord, author of A Night to Remember

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (March 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470873876
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470873878
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #635,786 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Charles Pellegrino
(Charlespellegrino.com)

On the Story Behind the Story of, "To Hell and Back: The Last Train from Hiroshima"

The original title of my proposed book about Hiroshima and Nagasaki was, "The Last Train to Nagasaki." I believed the title conveyed how I would bridge the story of the two cities via the people who had survived both atomic bombings - the double hibakusha. In this manner, I thought I could correct the problem of how history all but forgot the second and even more powerful atomic bomb and the people beneath it. As one survivor expressed the forgetting: "It is never good to be the second of anything." I did not know how extreme the forgetfulness had become. In 2009, my editor discovered that almost no one at the publishing house knew what the name, Nagasaki, referred to - and thus the title change, to name a city familiar to everyone: "The Last Train from Hiroshima."

Approximately 300 people are known to have made the journey, aboard two trains, from Hiroshima all the way to Nagasaki in the wake of the atomic bombing of August 6, 1945. Of this group, approximately 90% were killed by the second bomb. In "Last Train," the double hibakusha bracket and interweave with the stories of other survivors, ranging from conscripted schoolchildren and doctors at Nagasaki to the origin of the thousands of paper cranes that were sent from the children of Hiroshima to the children of New York in 2001.

As a child of the "Duck and Cover" drills, I grew up to eventually embrace what I feared most (the very physics that made possible, the thermonuclear inverse to the Golden Rule). During the 1980s, I joined brainstorming sessions at Brookhaven National Laboratory, where we designed nuclear melt-through probes for exploration of new oceans turning up beneath the ice of Jupiter's moon Europa - in addition to a Valkyrie rocket that could actually bridge the rest of the Solar System, and perhaps even interstellar space. Along the way, I met survivors of the atomic bombs, and began recording their stories. In 2001, I was working on forensic physics/archaeology in the ruins of the World Trade Center. In a landscape possibly even grayer than the surface of the moon, thousands of bundles of paper cranes were arriving, becoming the only splashes of color and beauty. I met the Ito and Sasaki families when they visited, and I learned from them the word Omoiyari - which may be rendered as empathy (translated, in America, as the "pay-it-forward" principle)-I learned it as a way of life, and not just a word.

In the New York death-scape, where expressions about "nuking" someone rolled too easily off people's tongues, it occurred to me that almost no one really knew what the words "nuke-them" meant. Most seemed to regard the atomic bomb as an antiseptic weapon that instantly erased "the bad guys" and allowed those outside the target area to somehow just walk away. After I added new hibakusha interviews to my archive, and showed chapters to colleagues, the most important review I received (or probably ever will receive), came from archaeologist Amnon Rosenfeld - who had been very hawkish and believed in pre-emptive nuclear strike. After reading the draft, he said that everything he thought he knew about what happened in Hiroshima and Nagasaki was wrong, adding that anyone who learns the truth, and who designs nuclear weapons or plans first use for any reason whatsoever, "has found the unforgivable sin."

My hope is that others will come to the Rosenfeld conclusion. My hope is that this glimpse of the past (through the science of what happened, combined with the human perspective), will in at least some small way help to prevent the hibakusha experience from becoming prophecy for much of our world during the next thirty years. My hope is that nuclear war will have ended, forever, at the black granite pinnacle marking the hypocenter of Nagasaki.

After the first American edition of "The Last Train from Hiroshima" was published in 2010, I learned that one of the Tinian Island aviators I interviewed had exaggerated part of his war record, and I announced my mistake and the need for a correction from New York, on the John Batchelor Show. This seemed to have opened the floodgates for e-mailers denying the existence of "shadow people" and other thermal effects near the hypocenters, along with denial of radiation effects. The e-mail wrecking crew managed to spoof the NY Times and my publisher by pretending to be everyone from famed Hiroshima artist and hibakusha Keiji Nakazawa to veterans threatening mass public burnings of the book.

The real Keiji Nakazawa was in fact on my side and took special interest in my attempts to learn more about the atomic orphans. He helped me and Steve Leeper (then Director of the Hiroshima Peace Cultural Foundation) to fill in a blank space in our history (the orphans). With Nakazawa's input, the atomic orphans can finally speak loud and clear- after seven decades. Real veterans of the 509th never made threats to my publisher about pickets and book-burnings, and in fact veterans and their families contributed details to the new edition. Nonetheless, the publisher had by then prevented book burnings (as threatened in emails from "veterans"), by withdrawing the first edition and pulping it. In the real world, you will be hard-pressed to find an American veteran who endorses censorship. No less an authority on such matters than Tom Dettweiler (who survived the destruction of the Pentagon's Navy wing on 9/11 on account of having been called away for an eye exam), observed: "Despite past attempts to suppress this history, Charles has succeeded in a detailed immortalization of one of the true turning points in human existence... [It] should be required reading for all those making decisions of war."

The ultimate accomplishment of 2010's internet hoaxers and impersonators was to bring many new truths to light. Chief among these was the coming forth of survivors who had hidden their experiences, and who had intended to take their stories to the grave. For most, speaking of it was very difficult, often a very painful experience. I cannot thank them more, for their bravery.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 47 people found the following review helpful By J. W. Nicklaus on March 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Nothing that teaches us about history is irrelevant. Nothing is irrelevant that instructs us regarding hubris. Posterity, when heeded, can illuminate far more than just the past--its brilliance can cast a meaningful glow into our future. Farewell, Titanic - Her Final Legacy should not be taken as just another book about a tragic ship or her history--author Charles Pellegrino has provided a wider scope of history, a template of humanity held against the context of Titanic's story.

Perhaps the most immediate question for the potential reader is: "Does it tell the story of the sinking?" The easy answer is "It does indeed." But so do countless other books on the subject, not the least of which is Walter Lord's A Night To Remember, which the author used as source material--including personal correspondence with Lord. Lord's fascination with the Titanic began at a very early age which gave him the time to accrue a depth of knowledge regarding the event (her sinking) which few others could come close to except her survivors; Pellegrino does both Walter Lord and Titanic's human descendants a deft, factually thorough, and humanistic service in Farewell, Titanic.

Pellegrino's approach is perhaps the most gripping in its narrative style. Outside of global war the Titanic story is one of history's greatest cautionary tales of man's arrogance and tragic greed. Having the chutzpah to sail not just into but through an ice field is (cetainly, in hindsight) hair-raisingly stupid--but to do so, on a moonless night in calm waters and run the engines "full ahead" based on human claims of "unsinkable" construction is barely a stones throw from qualifying as murderous.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Mr. Titanic on March 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover
An essential facet of this immortal story. "Farewell, Titanic" - the third and final book in Charles Pellegrino's Titanic trilogy proves to be a captivating tribute to honor the centennial of the legendary lost liner's sinking. Offering a unique personal account, this book covers his involvement with the James Cameron era of Titanic exploration, the most spellbinding, methodical and enlightening series of expeditions to probe deeper into the remains of the fabled vessel than ever. The author's greatest gift continues to be his command of time, which reads more like a setting rather than a distance between the catastrophic loss of the "Unsinkable" ship and the modern bio-archaeologists (like himself) bringing dimension and clarity to a story that continues to resonate through the ages a century later.

This is, beyond a shadow of a doubt my favorite book on the subject, Pellegrino weaves in all his experience as an archaeologist, collaborating historian with the master of Titanic history, the late Walter Lord, and as a 9/11 family member who surfaced from the ruins of the Titanic into the post-9/11 world (in "Ghosts of the Abyss"), to deliver a compelling account that races forward and back in time, from the rarely discussed events and passengers of Titanic's voyage to the features of her wreck that continue to stand as a testimony to their memory on the ocean floor. The forensics, active retelling of history and the sheer emotion conveyed in exploring the grand scale human drama that Titanic ultimately represents proved to make this an unprecedented account that dives deep to consider who we are as people. What I appreciated most about the book were the glimpses of experiencing an oceanographic expedition to the wreck, and information about it in general, coupling science with history and drawing conclusions from the Titanic's skeleton - with Pellegrino reminding us that those clues resolve an image of a tragedy that we should never forget.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Carole A. Freeman on April 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Thank you Mr. Pellegrino for the most beautifully written, emotional and factual book ever written on the Titanic. Charles Pellegrino is an archaeologist, historian and explorer who has the ability to write a very moving account past and present on the Titanic which is a pleasure to read. Not only are there chilling first hand accounts told by survivors that I have never heard about before, but also this book covers Charles Pellegrino's personal account, of his involvement with James Cameron and other members of the last expedition down to the Titanic wreck and the most surprising and wonderous finds. There is even an account of a connection with 911, which is very informative and moving. As Charles Pellegrino states in the book: "Sooner or later it was bound to happen: the convergence of improbable events compounded by a series of improbable errors. Without exception, no single improbable error or event causes complex systems to fail, and that is the frightening part". How very true this statement is!
I felt very connected with all the events in this book, thanks to the brilliantly moving writing skills of Charles Pellegrino.
I will treasure this book always!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Charles Pellegrino has written prolifically on a variety of subjects, and this is his third major outing on the "Titanic." While I have been captivated by the subject since I read "A Night to Remember" as a young boy, I have to go against the grain a bit and say that this is my least favorite of the three Pellegrino books on the subject. The author has unquestioned mastery of the subject and can write beautifully, but my issue with the book is something that many others evidently liked, namely the incorporation of tales of hubris and heroism from analogue events encompassing a very large portion of the book. When he stays on subject Pellegrino is spellbinding, but his tendency to get far afield from the subject matter I bought the book to learn about becomes tedious after a while: I did not buy this book to learn about the tragedies of 9/11 or his personal connections to that horror, I bought the book to learn more about the "Titanic."

I found the human drama about the "Titanic" fascinating, and am particularly indebted to him for recounting in detail the travails of Violet Jessop and the sad recollections about Jim and his cat Jenny and her kittens on pp.29-30. By the same token, I was put off by the flashback-flashforward organization of the book, and was surprised to see a reference to "Lord Mercey" [sic] from such a studied historian on p.22. (Obviously Lord Mersey was intended.) While a mere typo is easily forgiven, there is a level of hyperbole in "Farewell, 'Titanic'" that is both presumptive and unverifiable, e.g. "When Captain Smith transferred his command from the 'Olympic' to the 'Titanic,' a deadly complacency must already have slithered into him" (p.28.) Really? How does he presume to understand Smith's mental state? (And it "slithered"?
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