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The Band that Played On: The Extraordinary Story of the 8 Musicians Who Went Down with the Titanic Hardcover – March 21, 2011
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Top Customer Reviews
I received a free copy of this book from BookSneeze in exchange for a review. I was in no way obligated to write a positive review.
Written to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, Turner spent considerable time researching the members of the ship's band and uncovering their history. Turner did an amazing job of telling their tales. One by one, he tells of their families, their faiths, their quirks, their paths that crossed over the years and converged on the Titanic. It is a gripping narrative of these eight men. Then he tells the tale of the sinking of the ship, and how they picked up their instruments to play. How they probably did it out of duty (it was their job to play when called upon, no matter what time of day), but how they could have very easily abandoned their duty. He tells of the last melody they played (Nearer, My God to Thee) and how the song choice impacted so many who survived. He concluded the book with what happened to the families of these men in the direct aftermath, and onward - which was a nice ending tribute to these men.
I loved this book! It was well written and obviously well researched. Turner included as many details as he could, which added to the richness of the stories.Read more ›
Starting the book, there was a lot of foundational information interspersed with the last hours of The Titanic's voyage. It was fascinating to learn how the cruise ship industry obtained musicians and crew in the early 1900's. It's quite a bit different that what we know now. Once the foundation was set, there was so much detailed historical information, I kind of thought I was back in school again. I found myself skipping over sentences to get to the "meat" of the chapter.
Each of the musicians' lives are chronicled in their own chapters. From a young age to the time of their deaths, the author detailed their lives. Sometimes a little too much. None of the musicians lead extraordinary lives so the fascinating story I was anticipating didn't pan out.
In my opinion, the best part of the book came at the end during the ship's sinking. Most of the information was speculation from witnesses and because of the traumatic situation, their versions were varied. The only semi-consistent theme was the final song heard while the ship went down. Most of the witnesses heard Nearer My God to Thee but that still wasn't agreed upon. Unfortunately it became somewhat tedious reading the descriptions over and over.
While Steve Turner definitely did his research, I felt the book was dry in places. It was not meant to be sensationalic or romanticized, it was meant to be factual. Regrettably, because of that, I had a hard time reading it.Read more ›
There's nothing I didn't like about this book. Thoroughly researched, and beautifully written, I couldn't put it down. As a violinist and pianist myself, I have, for years, admired the band that played as the Titanic sank. I often wondered who they were. What was it about them that gave them such fearless determination? Was it the music or was it the man? Why did they decide to do this? Who chose the songs? Why did they choose them? What makes a person so incredibly brave? How did it feel to die doing what they loved?
This book didn't answer all of my questions but it did satisfy a lot of my curiosity. If you love history, and you love all things Titanic, you'll want this book in your collection. If you're writer of history, you'll want this book for the resources listed in the back and the photographs of the period. If you want to teach your children about gravery and courage, this is a great resource. I give this book five glowing stars.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
You want to buy this book because you believe a band played as Titanic sank. OK just think about that for a minute. Just imagine yourself on the ship as it is sinking. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Jeremy Archer
Interesting collection of stories well told. A well researched biography of one of the saddest stories in history. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Kate Ashworth
There is no doubt that author Steve Turner did an incredible amount of meticulous research for this project. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Zachary Koenig
If you love biographies of musicians then this one is right up your alley. When the Titanic sank, the seven musicians on the Titanic went down with it, playing music as the ship... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Scott Rand
There were parts of this historic event that dragged but in the long run I found it quite interesting. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Judy Ludwig
Love it or hate it, who can forget the scenes from the movie Titanic of the valiant musicians playing on deck as the liner sank? Read morePublished 23 months ago by Tamela Mccann