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Shadow of the Titanic: The Extraordinary Stories of Those Who Survived [Kindle Edition]

Andrew Wilson
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (122 customer reviews)

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Book Description

IN the early morning hours of April 15, 1912, the icy waters of the North Atlantic reverberated with the desperate screams of more than 1,500 men, women, and children—passengers of the once majestic liner Titanic. Then, as the ship sank to the ocean floor and the passengers slowly died from hypothermia, an even more awful silence settled over the sea. The sights and sounds of that night would haunt each of the vessel’s 705 survivors for the rest of their days.

Although we think we know the story of Titanic—the famously luxurious and supposedly unsinkable ship that struck an iceberg on its maiden voyage from Britain to America—very little has been written about what happened to the survivors after the tragedy. How did they cope in the aftermath of this horrific event? How did they come to remember that night, a disaster that has been likened to the destruction of a small town?

Drawing on a wealth of previously unpublished letters, memoirs, and diaries as well as interviews with survivors’ family members, award-winning journalist and author Andrew Wilson reveals how some used their experience to propel themselves on to fame, while others were so racked with guilt they spent the rest of their lives under the Titanic’s shadow. Some reputations were destroyed, and some survivors were so psychologically damaged that they took their own lives in the years that followed.

Andrew Wilson brings to life the colorful voices of many of those who lived to tell the tale, from famous survivors like Madeleine Astor (who became a bride, a widow, an heiress, and a mother all within a year), Lady Duff Gordon, and White Star Line chairman J. Bruce Ismay, to lesser known second- and third-class passengers such as the Navratil brothers—who were traveling under assumed names because they were being abducted by their father.

Today, one hundred years after that fateful voyage, Shadow of the Titanic adds an important new dimension to our understanding of this enduringly fascinating story.

Editorial Reviews


“Wilson’s fresh angle convincingly explores the strain on survivors.”

-- New York Times Book Review

“This is a captivating read that begins where most other Titanic books end.”

--The Library Journal (Starred Review)

"With this survival tale, Wilson has carved out a fascinating slice of the [Titanic] story."

-- USA Today

“Andrew Wilson’s eloquent chronicle of the dark side of survival offers fresh information, fascinating insights, and masterful storytelling. A spellbinding voyage into the uncharted depths of the Titanic tragedy.” -- Deborah Davis, author of Strapless: John Singer Sargent and the Fall of Madame X

About the Author

Andrew Wilson is an award-winning journalist and author. His work has appeared in a wide variety of publications including the Guardian, the Washington Post, the Daily Telegraph, the Observer, the Sunday Times, the Independent on Sunday, the Daily Mail, the New Statesman, the Evening Standard magazine and the Smithsonian.

Product Details

  • File Size: 3913 KB
  • Print Length: 418 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: B00G7T7KH4
  • Publisher: Atria Books; Reprint edition (March 6, 2012)
  • Sold by: Simon and Schuster Digital Sales Inc
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005GG0M2E
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #114,469 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
84 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Couldn't put it down......... March 8, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition
This is well researched and written study of "survivors" of the Titanic, before there was such a thing as a diagnosis of PTSD. It makes for very interesting reading although tragic in many cases. The book chronicles the lives of many of the survivors of the Titanic long after the ship went down. I had no idea that 10 survivors committed suicide in the years after the ship wreck. This book takes any "romance" out of the Titanic story....this was a tragic event that scarred the survivors for the rest of their lives long before there was counseling and antidepressant drugs. Well worth the time to read.......
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53 of 53 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The legend is unsinkable March 19, 2012
By Hande Z
Is there still interest in the S.S. Titanic (the description used in the book and from Lawrence Beesley's 1912 book "Loss of the S.S.Titanic") now that 100 years have lapsed since the vessel sank? Andrew Wilson's "Shadow of The Titanic" may be proof that there is. This book tells the story of the Titanic from an examination of the lives of some of the people who had survived the vessel. Shadow of the Titanic is more than a collection of biopics of survivors - the reader might be forgiven in thinking he was reading a book of fiction; a catastrophe thriller. There is so much about the vessel and its crew and passengers that another book (or two) may not tire the reader. The name Violet Jessop was mentioned only in passing in Wilson's book although her life could well have added a few pages of interest since she not only survived the Titanic, she went on to serve as a nurse in the Titanic's sister ship, the "Britannic" which had been converted into a hospital ship during World War I. The Britannic was sunk by the Germans - and Jessop survived again (See Tim Maltin's 101 Things You Thought You Knew About The Titanic"). This book is different from the 1960 Dover edition "The Story of the Titanic as Told by Its Survivors" in that the latter was a compilation of the accounts from four persons who survived - Commander, Lighttoller, Archibald Gracie, Harold Bride, and Lawrence Beesley. The writing styles thus varied and the stories in the Dover edition were written within a year or two after the event, but perhaps carried too much detail. Wilson's book thus covers more ground, and is more riveting.

Wilson recounts some famous passengers including John Astor IV who built the Astor Hotel next to the Waldorf Hotel built by his cousin.
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44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shadow of The Titanic March 20, 2012
By Peter
I just finished the book and enjoyed it immensely.

"Shadow of the Titanic" brought a different point of view to the tragedy - how the surivors coped with the fact that they were still alive and how haunted by their experience many of them were.

In fact, the number of suicides was quite suprising...whether or not they were directly related to survivor's guilt or not, it raised interesting questions about the so-called "survivors".

When I was about 12 years old I lucked into Walter Lord's A Night To Remember and it has been all downhill after that.

So fascinated that one day, I looked up Walter Lord on the Internet and gave him telephone call...I do not remember exactly when I did it, but it must have been early in the current century and just before he died. Mr. Lord, who sounded very elderly , and not at all well, was nice enough to take my call and we had a pleasant conversation - all based on his books (most importantly A Night to Remember).

Lord set the standard and Wilson has carried the banner quite well, writing an entertaining book that will enthrall non-Titanic "fans" as well as newcomers to the tragedy.

I recommend it to all people who may or may not have an interest in the Titanic's sinking.
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60 of 65 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable and Informative, but Flawed March 17, 2012
I enjoyed reading this book. It was well-written and I learned quite a bit about the survivors.
The major problem that I had, however, is when the author ascribes thoughts to the survivors who later committed suicide. In the case of the Titanic stewardess who two years later threw herself overboard from another ship, how does the author know what she was thinking? Obviously we would all know that she was depressed, but he tells us her final thoughts in a very specific manner...."she felt she could be in heaven," or "she finally felt free of the Titanic." I found this attempt to speak for her quite jarring.
I also am not a fan of how Ismay's post-Titanic pyschological state was described. I've read several books about Ismay and I think the author is stretching here when he describes Ismay as someone who was a masochist and needed to be humiliated. There is no way of knowing this and it's pure speculation.
Although this kind of speculation was common throughout the book, I did for the most part find the stories of the survivors to be fascinating. Someone else might do them more justice the next time, but this was interesting.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
The newly-built Titanic was a vast and luxurious ship. To have the opportunity to sail on its maiden voyage must have been considered a wonderful adventure. Neither the passengers nor the crew could possibly know that the highly-anticipated initial ocean crossing on the luxury liner was doomed from the start.

1,517 people lost their lives when the great ship hit an iceberg, suffered catastrophic damage, took on water, broke apart, and sank to the ocean floor. Because there were insufficient lifeboats and due to the fact that many that were launched were not filled anywhere near to capacity, countless lives that surely would have been saved were tragically lost. Those 705 suriviors who secured a spot in a lifeboat or who jumped off the ship as it was slipping down into the ocean --- and were later rescued by a lifeboat --- were witnesses to the horror of the screams of the dying and the sight of the great ship disappearing beneath the water. For countless passengers and crew, the sounds and sights of that night haunted them for the rest of their lives.

Eighteen-year-old Madeleine and her much older, wealthy husband, John Jacob Astor, were returning home on the Titanic after an extended honeymoon abroad. Madeleine was pregnant and did not want to be separated from John, but he convinced her to enter the lifeboat by telling her he would be along shortly. Of course, that did not happen, and within one short year Madeleine became a bride, an heiress, a widow, and a mother. She gave up the Astor fortune to marry her childhood sweetheart and bore two more sons. She seemed happy enough, but that did not last long.

Madeleine was restless and ended up divorcing her second husband before embarking upon another ocean voyage supposedly to calm her nerves.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good
Bought this for my mom for Christmas. She is a "fan" of the Titanic story and she absolutely loved this book.
Published 25 days ago by Sarah
5.0 out of 5 stars New history of Titanic passangers
I have countless books about the Titanic, and figured, after 30+ books over the years, that there wasn't anything new I'd be interested in. But I was very wrong. Read more
Published 1 month ago by julans
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Looking forwaRD TO READING!!
Published 1 month ago by Jody Borgers
3.0 out of 5 stars We did a group project on different historic events. ...
We did a group project on different historic events. Very true to form book and it really was fascinating.
Published 1 month ago by sky
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating stories!
I bought this on a whim when thinking about our upcoming trip to Halifax where many of the victims are buried, just wanted some more background beyond the usual movies about the... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Ray Wishart
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A nice documentary
Published 2 months ago by Della Busby
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Nice to know what happened to a few people.
Published 3 months ago by Jan Dieter
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Published 4 months ago by Diana K. Strub
5.0 out of 5 stars Good information!
Very interesting!
Published 4 months ago by Jody S. Mealing
3.0 out of 5 stars History or Historical Fiction?
I must agree with several of the reviewers here that while I found the book a dashing good read, I was very much troubled by the author's ascription of various motivations to the... Read more
Published 4 months ago by A Boston Reviewer
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