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Return to Titanic Hardcover – November 1, 2004

8 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Expeditions to find Titanic began in 1953, but all of them failed until 1985, when Ballard (in collaboration with French explorer Jean-Louis Michel) pinpointed the ship's location and photographed it in detail. Since then, Ballard has retained a deep emotional connection to Titanic. "The ship wouldn't change much in my lifetime," he says, "if left unmolested by treasure hunters." But "salvagers, pirates, filmmakers, [and] thrill-seekers" have, in his view, raped a cherished monument, a view that has faced fierce opposition by many. With co-writer Sweeney, Ballard thoroughly reviews Titanic's history and the catastrophic events that led to her demise. He describes his dream of turning the ship into a museum on the ocean floor, easily explored from above by computer. As he discusses his 2004 return voyage to the wreck, Ballard will hold Titanic-philes riveted by the human and scientific elements of the tragedy. He gives specific detail, writing, "[the] mast from which the lookouts issued warnings had collapsed into the well deck." Although the text recycles much familiar material, it's Ballard's passion and expertise that make this book tick. The book's most unique contributions are the numerous photos of those who have died while analyzing and photographing the wreckage, and the pictures of the intricate equipment used to accomplish the monumental task of undersea exploration. Photos.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

On the night of April 14, 1912, Titanic sank in the icy North Atlantic, and 1,523 people aboard the ship drowned. About 6,000 artifacts have been removed from the vessel and the water around it since Ballard discovered the ship 13,000 feet below the surface in 1985. In May 2003 Ballard returned to document the damage done to the ship since then. "Ensuring Titanic's preservation was at the heart of the expedition," he writes. Ballard wants to give the vessel the same kind of protection "that has shielded other national and international treasures." He tells how his team discovered the ship and how they returned a year later to explore the wreckage in a three-man submersible. He chronicles their return in May, documenting the damage and decay that has occurred. Additionally, Ballard recounts the ship's history, describing in moving detail the night it went down. The book, with 125 photographs, is a remarkable account of this disaster and its aftermath. George Cohen
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: National Geographic (November 1, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0792272889
  • ISBN-13: 978-0792272885
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.9 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #790,933 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Blondie59 on December 27, 2004
Format: Hardcover
A very fast read. Got it on Christmas and was done the next day. Ballard calls it Return to Titanic, but if you are looking for lots of photos and discussion about that topic, you will be very disappointed. It took Ballard over 100 pages to get to finally showing a picture from his 2004 return to the ship. Everything up to that point was historical, other sources, or his 1986 photos. The book was structured in the same way that his other books have been presented. History of the ship in the first part, discussion of methods, equipment, and finding the ship and the dives in the second, then finally a presentation of his findings. In all his other dive books, this has been a GREAT format and I have enjoyed them immensely. However, it just didn't work for me here. The story of Titanic has already been presented ad nauseum in many other books, including Ballard's first Titanic book. The first 50 pages of his 2004 book are just a rehash of the story with very few new facts or tidbits of info.

And the previous reviewer is very on the mark when he mentions Ballard's strong opinions about leaving the ship alone, making it a museum, etc. Ballard is entitled to his opinions, and they may help shape the future of marine archeology, but they are so strongly presented and so often reiterated, that they become somewhat of a turn-off. If Ballard is so interested in keeping the ship intact and turning it into a museum, then he needs to satisfy my desire to see the objects in context in the "museum". I want lots of pictures! He states he did a complete mapping of the objects in the debris field, including areas where no one else has been before. So show me lots of pictures. But he doesn't. There are only 30 2004 ocean floor photos presented in the entire book.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Thomas Duff HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 28, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Since I find the whole Titanic story fascinating, I checked out Return To Titanic - A New Look At The World's Most Famous Lost Ship by Robert D. Ballard with Michael S. Sweeney. It's a beautiful book with a definite agenda.

Ballard was the person who originally discovered the sunken remains of the Titanic in 1985. He returns for another look at the ship in May 2004 and undertakes a project to get as complete of an external photo record of the ship as possible. He has definite opinions about the large number of visitors and scavengers who have, in his view, greatly accelerated the deterioration of the ship over the last few years. By comparing photographs of certain key areas, you can see where damage has occurred. Certain popular spots on the ship have become defacto landing areas for submersibles, and they've broken down decking and walls. Pirate scavengers have literally torn open parts of the ship or cut off sections in order to get prized souvenirs, like the phone system from the crow's nest where the first iceberg sighting occurred. The photography is beautiful, and the story of the return trip is interesting.

The only thing that keeps me from giving this book a full five stars is the fact that the author is *very* opinionated about the damage to the ship being caused entirely by human visitors. He's adamant that things should be a "look but don't touch" situation, and I'm inclined to agree. But writing off all deterioration to people instead of the ravages of being submerged for over 90 years is a bit extreme. Since there's no baseline from 1912 forward, you have to assume that pictures from 1985 chronicle the way the ship was during all that time. I don't know that you can prove that conclusively. Regardless, if the Titanic is of interest to you, you should enjoy this book quite a bit.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By The Camera Guy on April 9, 2005
Format: Hardcover
When Ballard returned to the wreck in 2004, he had before him the opportunity to make his case for encouraging salvage and interactive expeditions to Titanic to come to a halt, in order to preserve the decaying liner. He also had the opportunity to depict the liner in a then-and-now format, from his photographs from 1985 and 1986, compared to the present.

Instead, the book is laden with what could only be described as re-hashed material from his previous book, "The Discovery of the Titanic".

Opportunity was had with this book to offer a more comprehensive look at the forces of nature and man at work to break down the wreck with which many have become fascinated.

The boat was missed, in some sense, almost literally, with this book.

The only saving grace that makes the book somewhat worthy of purchase and not checking out at the local library are the few 'new' photos of debris field items, including the aft grand staircase dome top, lying flattened in the sediment, as well as the 2004 mosaic. Unfortunately, the mosaic itself is cropped poorly, and many of the 2004 pictures are dark or unclear. However, one thing is clear - Titanic isn't as pretty as she was when first re-photographed in 1985. Readers will get a glimpse of the result of what happens when metal and salt water mixes over a period of over nine decades.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Reader B on December 31, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
First off, I am an avid fan of the whole Titanic story, and went to the Titanic Artifacts exhibit to see items brought up from the ship. But this book is very disappointing, especially if you have Ballard's book 'The Discovery of the Titanic' (1987) because this book repeats so much of what was in that book. So for those who do not have that book, this book will make a fine addition. I was hoping for so much more in the way of new pictures but really was not safisfied with what was offered. I feel the book was put together quickly to make the case for preserving the site and the ship and with so much filler from old material was not a good value. A book simply focusing on the threats and the current state would have been better. However, for those new to the whole saga, this book will suffice.
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