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The Night Lives On: The Untold Stories and Secrets Behind the Sinking of the "Unsinkable" Ship-Titanic [Kindle Edition]

Walter Lord
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Three decades after his landmark work A Night to Remember, Walter Lord revisits the Titanic
Years after A Night to Remember stoked the fires of public interest in the doomed RMS Titanic, the clamor for details about April 14, 1912, has not abated. As die-hard professional and amateur historians—“rivet counters,” they are called—puzzle over minute details of the ship’s last hours, a wealth of facts and myth have emerged. Revisiting the subject more than thirty years after his first study, Lord dives into this harrowing story, whose power to intrigue has only grown a century after the Titanic’s sinking.
Was the ship really christened before setting sail on its maiden voyage? What song did the band play as water spilled over the ship’s bow? How did the ship’s wireless operators fail so badly, and why did the nearby Californian, just ten miles away when the Titanic struck the iceberg, not come to the rescue? Lord answers these questions and more, in a gripping investigation of the night when 1,500 victims were lost to the sea.

Editorial Reviews Review

You might say that Walter Lord provoked the whole Titanic mania by interviewing dozens of survivors and fashioning their reminiscences into the classic non-fiction novel A Night to Remember, which was made into a 1958 film that heavily influenced James Cameron's 1998 epic. Some of the dialogue is more vivid than the 1998 film--when a kid sees the deadly iceberg, he says excitedly, "Oh, Muddie, look at the beautiful North Pole with no Santa Claus on it."

But much has been discovered since Lord's original book made waves--such as the shipwreck itself, and a wealth of scientific inquiry. So he wrote this semisequel, which tackles each of the remaining mysteries about the unnecessary calamity in a methodical, but quite readable, fashion. How come the wireless operators blew it so fatally? Maybe they would have had better operators if they paid them more than $5 a week--as Lord notes, it would have taken a wireless operator 18 years to earn one transatlantic ticket. How come the Californian just sat there in nearby waters and neglected to save anyone on the frantically signaling and flare-firing Titanic? Lord quotes a man on the nonsinking ship admitting to "a certain amount of slackness," which he uses for a sardonic chapter title.

Some of the characters are more sympathetic, such as Renee Harris, who used the money she won suing the Titanic owners for her husband's death to bankroll neophyte playwright Moss Hart's first show. Lord says that Hart's memoir, Act One, depicts Harris reacting to an opening-night flop with optimism. After you've survived the Titanic, what's to worry?

Walter Lord has gotten better reviews, and he needn't fret about his reputation. The Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Barbara Tuchman, author of A Distant Mirror, had this reaction to Night Lives On: "Stunning ... his detection and discoveries make a first-class historical reconstruction and a model in the research and writing of that difficult art." --Tim Appelo

From School Library Journal

YA The Titanic , tragically, was not unsinkable, but her legend has shown much greater seaworthiness. Walter Lord has written a companion volume to his A Night to Remember (Holt, 1976). Subtitled ``New Thoughts, Theories and Revelations about the Titanic,'' the book is just that. It sheds light on the answers to questions both great (Who was most responsible for the tragedy?) and small (Just what tune was the final one played?) stemming from the events of April 14, 1912. The Night Lives On is an excellent source for students seeking information on the tragedy. Lord's sense of detail, anecdote, and human interest is as sharp as ever, making this book both informative and entertaining. Karl Penny, Houston Public Library
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 540 KB
  • Print Length: 243 pages
  • Publisher: Open Road Media (March 6, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0078X73NY
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #160,484 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
50 of 52 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Calling this 'the sequel to _A Night to Remember_' is slightly misleading. Rather than the storytelling style employed to relate the story of the sinking of the Titanic, this is almost a collection of 17 1-chapter essays about various points of the disaster. Excellent stuff, but if you were expecting, say, the story of the Congressional and Parliamentary investigations of the disaster, you need to look elsewhere, e.g. Wyn Craig Wade's _The Titanic: End of a Dream_.
"Unsinkable Subject" - Overview of the popular fascination with Titanic.
"What's in a Name?" - The actual launching of Titanic from Harland & Wolff's shipyards.
"Legendary from the Start" - Titanic was indeed popularly supposed to be unsinkable, but the trend of sacrificing safety features for competitiveness had actually taken hold during her design.
"Had Ships Gotten Too Big for Captain Smith?" - Explores Smith's record, including a near-collision in harbor with Titanic's sister ship, the Olympic.
"Our Coterie" - The group of first class passengers, including Col. Gracie, mentioned in _A Night to Remember_.
"Everything Was Against Us" - Contrasts the ice warnings, lack of coordination between radio room & bridge, and lookouts, with the notion that the accident was a one-in-a-million chance.
"The Gash" - The collision itself.
"I Was Very Soft the Day I Signed That" - How and why ships the size of Titanic could legally sail while carrying so few lifeboats.
"What Happened to the Goodwins?" - Facts and figures about 1st class vs.
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25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mysteries explained about the Titanic. April 13, 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Walter Lord follows up his best seller of the fifties-A Night to Remember--with this eighties version on some mysteries about the sunken liner. One learns about the musicians (two groups actually) and what they played that night while the life boats were being loaded. Another story details the negligence of the freighter Californian for not answering the eight rockets of distress from the Titanic. Another story details the shootings and suicide near the end of the launch of the last life boats. Still another story details why there were not enough life boats on the Titanic and most other ocean liners of the day. Walter Lord clears the air about these mysteries with his well informed writing.
If you want to know more about the Titanic, read both Lord's books on the subject (A Night to Remember, The Night Lives On). They will help the reader understand this tragedy. I have seen the movie and I know the producers consulted these books when they made the movie.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book that compares facts to myths! December 6, 1998
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a perfect book for anyone looking to learn more about the official determinations about the Titanic and the events of that fateful night. Walter Lord once again outdoes himself in details, going step by step over the controversial issues of the night, and giving the reader the official version, as well as the most widely believed version, and includes many of his own ideas of what may have occured where there is still mystery. A must read for all serious Titanic fans!
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond A Night To Remember February 24, 2011
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In 1955, Walter Lord's A Night To Remember was published and instantly became the definitive book on the sinking of the ocean liner Titanic in April 1912. Just over thirty years later and following the discovery of the Titanic two and a half miles below the surface of the North Atlantic, Lord's follow-up to it was published. The Night Lives On goes beyond that "night to remember" to look at the events that came before, during and after it.

To do this Lord brings a lot of focus to the book. While A Night To Remember focused very much on the sinking itself by wandering from person to person and place to place, The Night Lives On uses each of its seventeen chapters to focus on any single particular aspect of the Titanic story. The opening chapters of the book look at what led up to the sinking ranging from the ship's legacy, its launching in 1911, a look at Captain Smith's record prior to taking command of the Titanic and the actions of the crew leading up to the collision with the iceberg. This is of course prelude to the main event: the sinking.

Chapters seven through twelve focus on the sinking itself. Topics range from the collision with the iceberg, the reasons for the lack of lifeboats and the question of why so many third class passengers died in relation to others on the Titanic (including the entire Goodwin family for whom the chapter is named for) and why some passengers saw the ship sink intact while others saw it break in two (a long held belief shattered when the wreck was found in 1985).
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intriguing Logistics! May 10, 1998
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This book earns a '10' on all aspects. Walter Lord is an excellent writer whose style surpasses all others. He has packed more research from ballistics experts to research how far the sound of the distress rockets could be heard to hymnologists to dispell some popular myths about what the band really played. This book will hold you captive until the very last page (wishing there was more) even if you are not a Titanic historian.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I enjoyed this book.
Published 18 days ago by Deena
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
This was a good book
Published 28 days ago by Carol A. Marks
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Love anything about Titanic. This goes great in my collection!
Published 1 month ago by Adorkable
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
The text itself was in good conition, but I did not know there was no book jacket..
Published 1 month ago by Cap
5.0 out of 5 stars If you are a Titanic fan, you must add ...
If you are a Titanic fan, you must add this book to your collection. It is not a rewrite of Walter Lord's original book "A Night To Remember" but a follow up with new... Read more
Published 2 months ago by D. J. Sharp
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A great companion piece to "A Night to Remember" with even more technical expertise and survivor recollections.
Published 3 months ago by empressT
5.0 out of 5 stars The Night Lives On
I have read some of the other books by Walter Lord and find this one to be quite interesting so far. Should have it read in no time.
Published 3 months ago by Charmiann
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
A super sequel to the original which captivated me in grammar school. Well done.
Published 5 months ago by Glenn A. Legge
5.0 out of 5 stars WONDERFUL BOOK
WONDERFUL book. I have always been drawn to Titanic history and this was a great read.
Published 5 months ago by DJS
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Love this book. I have been a fan of Walter Lord and his first book A Night to Remember. Great continuation of the history/ story of the Titanic.
Published 6 months ago by kayedell
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More About the Author

Walter Lord's A Night to Remember is a minute-by-minute account of the Titanic's final hours. Lord wrote 12 books, honing an eye-witness approach to history whether it was Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor (Day of Infamy) or the defense of the Alamo (A Time to Stand) or the Battle of Midway (Incredible Victory). In The Way It Was, he tells his own story, about his life and books.

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