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The Band that Played On: The Extraordinary Story of the 8 Musicians Who Went Down with the Titanic Hardcover – March 22, 2011


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The Band that Played On: The Extraordinary Story of the 8 Musicians Who Went Down with the Titanic + And the Band Played On . . .: The Enthralling Account of What Happened After the Titanic Sank
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas Nelson; First Edition edition (March 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1595552197
  • ISBN-13: 978-1595552198
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 6.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #827,003 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Steve Turner began his journalistic career as Features Editor of the British rock monthly Beat Instrumental. He has written many music biographies, including Conversations with Eric Clapton, Rattle and Hum (U2), and A Hard Day's Write (the Beatles).


More About the Author

Steve Turner is the author of Trouble Man: The Life and Death of Marvin Gaye, A Hard Day's, Write: The Stories Behind Every Beatles Song, Hungry for Heaven: Rock and Roll and the Search for Redemption, Jack Kerouac. Angelbeaded Hipster, and Van Morrison: Too Late to Stop Now. His articles have appeared in Rolling Stone, Mojo, Q, and the London Times. He lives in London with his wife and two children.

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Customer Reviews

The Band That Played On is a very inspirational story.
Thebenz
It was a great book to read and would recommend into any history lover or anyone interested in learning more about the titanic and the people on board.
Amazon Customer
So when this book became available for review, I thought it would be another bit of information for my fixation.
Lisa J Visel

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Going Deeper on March 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I requested to review this book because it looked interesting when I first saw it. The Titanic story is an object of fascination for me and this book revealed to me a totally new aspect of it. Most people have heard of the band that sunk with the Titanic (probably through the 1997 movie). This work goes in-depth with the story of the band. Turner begins his book with a background on the Titanic disaster. From there, he provides short biographies (about a chapter long each) on the band members and their employers. The climax of the book is the musicians honorable, icy death amidst the iceberg-strewn waters of the Atlantic. One chapter speculates on the reasons for the sinking of the Titanic. Was it for moral reasons or simply human mistakes? The book begins to close with details about what happened after their deaths. The Band That Played On becomes a little dry here with lots of information about deaths and estates. It begins to sound like a research project, which is why I will only give this book 4.5 stars. Other than that, it was an enjoyable read. It showed me a new aspect of history and I learned lots of new things from it (such as Wallace Hartley's violin that is supposed to go up for auction next year for the 100th anniversary). Anyways, if you're interested in Titanic history, read this book!

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.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By onestitchrachel on April 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover
A lot is known about the Titanic and it's fateful voyage. Part of the story of that evening is how the ship's band brought out their instruments and started playing, even after they knew all hope was lost. But who were these men? How did they end up on the Titanic? What was it about them that led them to pull out their instruments instead of fighting for a lifeboat? From the back cover: "Steve Turner's extensive research reveals a fascinating story including dishonest agents, a clairvoyant, social climbers, and a fraudulent violin maker." A fascinating story, indeed!

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.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Lisa J Visel on March 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover
For some reason, I have always been enamored with The Titanic---shows on The History Channel, the movie, and anything else I can find. So when this book became available for review, I thought it would be another bit of information for my fixation. Never has there been a book all about the musicians. This should be interesting!

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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Just Me on September 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I have read a lot about the Titanic but this is the first book that I've read devoted to the musicians. W. Hartley, C. Krins, R. Bricoux, W.T. Brailey, J. Woodward, J.F. Clarke, J.L. Hume, P.C. Taylor

I learned some things that shocked me. Families actually had to pay to get their family member back. If they were lucky enough to be found and identified! Families had to pay for embalming and transportation of the body home. Since the Titanic did not finish it's voyage, full pay was not sent, deductions were made for the remaining days. This is sickening.

We learn about each member if the band, their background, the way they wound up onboard and where their families are today.

Did they play voluntarily or was it under the order of their band leader or the captain? That is a question that will never be answered. Did they really play Nearer My God to thee as so many reported? My question.....does it really matter?

Tor me, regardless of the what's and whys, these men gave their lives while trying to help others. Their playing of music no matter what kind or what songs, helped people to feel calmer in the midst of chaos. They, like the captain,went down with the ship. Only three of their bodies were recovered. They are heros.

I especially liked the photos. They tell their own story about the people and places in them. The book was well researched and includes lots of interesting trivia.

Recommended for any one who has an interest in the Titanic.
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