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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: 9.2 x 6.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #350,588 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

15 of 16 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 lizaleegrace 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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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Karla K. Akins on May 7, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The Band that Played On is about the eight brave musicians who played as the Titanic sank. They'd already headed off to bed, but when the ship hit an iceberg, they put on their overcoats and came out to play in the lounge. Even after most of the First Class passengers had left in lifeboats, they moved out onto the deck and continued to play until the ship sank. One of the passengers said, "Many brave things were done that night, but none were more brave than those done by men playing minute after minute as the ship settled quietly lower and lower into the sea."

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.
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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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