Customer Reviews


17 Reviews
5 star:
 (11)
4 star:
 (3)
3 star:
 (2)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:
 (1)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favorable review
The most helpful critical review


10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting new look at the Californian affair
There have been many excellent pieces of research pertaining to the Californian that have come out recently. Several of these, such as Sam Halpern's excellent series of articles on the topic that appeared in the Titanic Historical Society's journal The Commutator, are must-reads, not only due to the intricate examination of evidence, but also because it is done in an...
Published on September 21, 2009 by Tad Fitch

versus
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fact filled in Depth Book
I can see the considerable effort the author took in writing this in depth meticulous book, however it was a little too involved for me and is not what I would call an "easy to digest" read. I found it rather heavy going and will need to read it again to hopefully fully comprehend the content. Overall, a quality book suitable for the specialist Titanic Buff interested in...
Published on April 29, 2012 by hazystar


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting new look at the Californian affair, September 21, 2009
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Titanic and the Indifferent Stranger: The Complete Story of the Titanic and the Californian (Paperback)
There have been many excellent pieces of research pertaining to the Californian that have come out recently. Several of these, such as Sam Halpern's excellent series of articles on the topic that appeared in the Titanic Historical Society's journal The Commutator, are must-reads, not only due to the intricate examination of evidence, but also because it is done in an objective fashion, a rare thing when it comes to this topic, where in my opinion, people get far too emotionally tied to look at the case objectively at times. The Californian continues to be a topic of great controversy, but it would be a mistake to think that nothing new can be learned on the topic.

Paul Lee's examination of the evidence is one such example that more can be learned, and a book that should be on every Titanic enthusiast's shelf. His book was originally released as an E-book, but I much prefer a printed book to one on CD.

The author's book is both detailed, and easy to follow, with many illustrations and diagrams. He presents a good deal of documentation and evidence not previously examined, or not examined in full. His look at Walter Lord's correspondence on the subject, as well as other materials previously only privately known or held in archives adds much to the narrative. It also adds much to the understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the cases built and methodology of various authors and researchers such as Leslie Harrison and Leslie Reade, who have written on this topic, albeit from different sides of the aisle. The author makes his opinion of these and other works plain to see, while never villifying Captain Lord or the crew of the Californian, and often presenting a scathing review of the selective use of evidence that researchers on both sides of the issue have used over the years.

One particularly welcome addition is the author touching on the findings of the 1992 MMSA reexamination. Researchers who do not believe the Californian and Titanic were in sight of each other often point to these findings as if they definitively prove the two ships were not in visual range of each other, when in fact, one of the inspectors concluded that they were, and one didn't, although both agreed the rockets seen were from the Titanic, and that further action should have been taken. The author also includes a speculative analysis of what might have happened if Captain Lord had received more information or had taken further action. I won't ruin it for those who haven't read the book yet, but unlike Butler's horrendous treatment of the topic in his recent book, Lee doesn't villify Lord, or paint a totally unrealistic portrait of what the Californian might have been able to do if more action was taken. The fact is, Captain Lord would not have been able to save everyone, and it is not his fault that the Titanic sank. To villify him or blame him for the deaths, regardless of whether the two ships were in sight of each other or not, or whether mistakes were made or not, is wrong, and Lee never goes down that road. This is a book to be read in detail, with much worthwhile about it. It is not one to be scanned or sped through. I highly recommend it.

Update 02/05/12: I recently purchased the updated and revised version of this book, and there are a number of very interesting inclusions that make it well worth purchasing, even if you have the original. The format is now a larger A4 style. Some of the more noteworthy additions include additional information about some Californian-related books that have come out since the original version was published, and best of all, a detailed look at the evidence regarding what ships were on the North Atlantic that night, and could possibly have been near Titanic and/or Californian. The evidence really does help debunk some of the nonsensical claims that have been made about the so-called "Californian Incident" in recent years, including the 3-ship and 4-ship theories.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive book on a deep controversey, September 10, 2009
By 
Bruce Trinque (Amston, CT United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Titanic and the Indifferent Stranger: The Complete Story of the Titanic and the Californian (Paperback)
For persons interested in the sinking of the Titanic, probably no single aspect of that story has generated more controversey and heat than the question of whether the ship Californian (captained by Stanley Lord) observed distress signals from the fatally-damaged liner and then stood by and did nothing while the Titanic sank and over 1500 people died. Official boards of inquiry pointed an accusing finger at Captain Lord, but in later years his defenders loudly proclaimed him an innocent victim of hysteria and a convenient scapegoat. For a long time it seemed to me that the truth would be forever lost in a chaos of charge and counter-charge. But now, Doctor Paul Lee has written a book on the matter that is truly definitive and lives up to its subtitle as "The Complete Story of the Titanic and the Californian". Lee lays out the evidence in exhaustive detail, not brief excerpts carefully pruned to support a predetermined viewpoint, but lengthy testimony and interviews. Moreover, Lee provides detailed geometrical analysis to demonstrate what was possible, what was impossible, and what was necessary to fit the evidence. Not only does Doctor Lee examine the event itself, but he also thoroughly explores decades of literature from both sides of the controversy. Lee finds shortcomings both in books by "Lordite" authors (those who argue for Captain Lord's innocence, such as Leslie Harrison and Senan Molony)and also in "Anti-Lordite" books (such as "The Ship that Stood Still" by Leslie Reade.

In the end, Doctor Lee builds a powerful case against Lord and the Californian, which is sure to displease those who have fervently, if unwisely, believed in the captain's innocence; and Lee shows that books written in support of Lord have been characterized by extraordinary distortions of evidence and gaps of logic (while also demonstrating that detractors of Captain Lord have not been entirely free of error themselves).

"The Titanic and the Indifferent Stranger" is clearly not a book for the casual general reader, but is a "must have" for any knowledgeable Titanic enthusiast who wishes to read a fair-minded, thorough study of a contentious question.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must have for any Titanic enthusiast!, August 15, 2009
By 
This review is from: The Titanic and the Indifferent Stranger: The Complete Story of the Titanic and the Californian (Paperback)
If you are looking for a well researched, unbiased book about the Titanic and the Californian then look no further. This is a wonderful book that every Titanic enthusiast should have in their collections. Praise to Dr. Paul Lee on this magnificent work.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome, December 17, 2010
By 
PJ Marley (York, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I'm not going to be able to go into the same sort of comparisons/detail that others on here have done, because this sort of things isn't normally my bag, but this is really gripping: it has the feel of a well-written documentary (I know it sounds weird to say that about a book, but it's the closest I can come - spot the guy who doesn't read much historical non-fiction). The author does a very good job of keeping it approachable even for those of us whose only contact with Titanic has been through DiCaprio and Winslet. Great one to buy as a gift because it's unusual enough that you can pretty much guarantee they won't have received it from anyone else, but it's a genuinely good read for all audiences. I don't know if this guy is going to write any more books, but if he did something else historical I think I'd pick it up.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fact filled in Depth Book, April 29, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Titanic and the Indifferent Stranger: The Complete Story of the Titanic and the Californian (Paperback)
I can see the considerable effort the author took in writing this in depth meticulous book, however it was a little too involved for me and is not what I would call an "easy to digest" read. I found it rather heavy going and will need to read it again to hopefully fully comprehend the content. Overall, a quality book suitable for the specialist Titanic Buff interested in involved in depth facts & figures relating to the ships in the vicinity of the Titanic the night she sank.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps too detailed, April 23, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Titanic and the Indifferent Stranger: The Complete Story of the Titanic and the Californian (Paperback)
Don't get me wrong, there is no doubt this is the definitive account of the Californian's part in the story of the Titanic. The amount of evidence/detail the author includes are remarkable. Unless you know everything else about the Titanic and have a lot of time to invest in this book, though, I wouldn't recommend it. I consider myself a Titanic buff and just can't make myself read more than the 30% I've already completed. The author includes almost verbatim the dialogue each and every witness interrogation from both the US and UK inquiries immediately after the disaster. He discusses at length discrepancies in latitude/longitude/time of not only the Titanic and Californian but other ships in the areaas well. While initially intrigued I soon found myself exhausted by having to keep track of the many names and figures. I feel like the author should have put more effort into analyzing and summarizing the evidence rather than including most in raw form.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars The last word, December 17, 2010
By 
Jean Pierre Burel "compass rose" (Fécamp , Normandie , France) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Titanic and the Indifferent Stranger: The Complete Story of the Titanic and the Californian (Paperback)
Extensive, if a little too intensive . Yet, this is a very very good book .
That is ... if you do not visit Paul Lee's site ... I wish I had visited the site earlier .

I DO NOT THINK that anything on Titanic is better than Leslie Reade's "The ship that stood still" .
Lee's book , looses interest in treating far too many details and giving too little action !
Sorry Paul , this is a GOOD try , from the very best , yet it is a tedious read !

At least it has the merit of killing Lordites' very last attempt, Senan Molony's "a Titanic Scandal" !

One thing is left: forget everything . What Gibson and Stone have seen from the bridge of the Californian remains, and unfortunately for Capt. Lord , these secret statements amount to a wholesale condemnation of his behaviour.

The right question is not , as the Lordites say, "IF" Lord was guilty ! Rather this question should be rephrased into "Is Stanley Lord's guilt relevant today?"

The Morale of this affair amounts to a gross loss of time !

Do buy Paul Lee's book . It's extensive and very informative as to internet's resources, at least !
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Best Titanic/Californian Resource by Far!, January 6, 2011
This review is from: The Titanic and the Indifferent Stranger: The Complete Story of the Titanic and the Californian (Paperback)
Over the past 35 years I'm pretty sure I've read all the major books regarding the Titanic/Californian controvery and I'm convinced that this is easily the best researched and least biased of the bunch. Dr. Lee's communication style does not seem to be driven by a personal agenda (you don't get his take on what actually transpired the night of April 15, 1912 until your reach the Appendices). He seems to do have done everything in his power to deal with the superflous information, misinformation and innuendo that was generated by previous authors and authorities, and in the process has eliminated enough confusion and dispelled just enough emotional tension to let the reader draw their own conclusions based on their ability to reason through the pertinent issues. The bottom line is there are many authors that tackle this tricky topic and don't quite deliver but this book is the one I recommend to everyone who wants to really understand what the Titanic/Californian controversy is all about (without doing all the painful original research themselves!)
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Definitive but hard work, April 7, 2014
The author analyzes, and reanalyzes, the evidence for and against Captain Lord of the Californian and pronounces him guilty at the end of the day. The book is a fascinating read - if you skip the technical bits on longitude and latitude - especially the amazing tale of Leslie Harrison's 40 years campaign in defence of Lord. Along the way, I'm afraid, Leslie of the Mercantile Marine Service Association did maneuver the evidence to fit his case. Since Lee's book was published there have been further pro-Californian publications but none of them are able to demolish this author's detailed claim that the Lordites have been mischievous in all sorts of ways, sometimes misquoting and fabricating original witness statements. Captain Lord died in 1962 and is buried in a Wallasey cemetery. I have always found it significant that the headstone makes no mention of his maritime career or his status as captain.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1.0 out of 5 stars No discussion of the morse lights!....and horrible writing structure, December 23, 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
I am not a Titanic fanatic. I am not a member of the Titanic Historical Society. I heard about the Californian a few years ago and bought this book because of the great reviews on Amazon, thinking I was getting the best out there on this topic. How wrong I was.

Dr. Lee begins by telling us how much he appreciates his English teacher who taught him how to write. Sorry, but I saw none of that. What I found was a whole bunch of research…GREAT research…thrown up against the wall. But there was only very limited (and that’s being kind) analysis to match. In Writing 101 (in high school), I learned the basic design for any paper is this: Introduction, Body, and Conclusion. The introduction is where the goal of the report is defined. The Body supports that goal. The Conclusion ties it all together in a final analysis. Do PhD’s not know this, Dr. Lee? None of this basic writing structure happened in this book.

What you have instead is only the Body. Dr. Lee should go back to to his high school English teacher and demand his money back. Yes, there is an “Epilogue,” but this is extremely short and limited and doesn’t begin to cover the heart of the Body. Is it too much, Dr. Lee, to take your great and high quality research and tell me what it all means? All I got was a series of one-liners of analysis buried inside hundreds of pages of complex research. These are easily missed after wading through the minutia (again, great minutia) of the research. You’re the one that did the research…how about tying it all together? If you had spent 1/10 of the time on writing a decent Conclusion you spent on zinging Lordites and Harrison, I might have gotten something out of this book besides a spinning head trying to figure out what happened.

Perhaps most notably, Dr. Lee absolutely skewers Lordites and Harrison for engaging in “selective” research and thus reaching flawed conclusions as a result. And yet, this is exactly what Dr. Lee does. Do as I say, not as I do. I am speaking about the morse lights. As I was struggling through the details of the ships’ lights, I kept asking myself, “What about the morse lights?” I never got an answer. All I came across was one single sentence about the Californian’s morse being of unknown power generation capability. But what about Titanic? Both of these ship’s morse lights were on the bridge, thus both were at eye level. So when we find, and I think correctly from Dr.Lee, that Stone and Gibson can see some passenger lights on Titanic at or below bridge level, does it not make sense they would also have seen Titanic’s morse? This is NEVER EVEN BROUGHT UP by Dr. Lee, despite what must have been hundreds of pages of intensive text and graphs on the ships’ lights. Yes, Lord is at fault for not waking up his wireless operator, but to restrict the argument of his behavior to merely conversations about rockets is erroneous. Lord DID act. He DID take action. He asked the morse be engaged, and it was, and no answer was received. So how, Dr. Lee, can you exclude any discussion of these morse exchange attempts by both ships? We get graphs on masthead lights, but nothing on the morse. Oh, and you criticized Harrison’s timeline, yet you provide none of your own. You criticize Lordite authors, but offer no conclusion of your own based on your research. Why not? As a reader, I wanted it and needed it. Not all of your readers are involved in the pro-or-anti Lord feud. I am just a regular guy who wanted a curl up in my chair with good book as the snow rages outside my house in the US Midwest in the lead-up to Christmas. Now after this book it’s Bah-Humbug.

Curiously, you also bury in an appendix the sidelights of Titanic visible from Californian, but only a casual emphasis on Boxhall sighting red and green sidelights on Californian. Again, if Titanic’s Boxhall can see Californian’s sidelights – which are at bridge level - how could he not have seen the Californian’s morse which was on the bridge? Likewise, if Stone and Gibson could see some of Titanic’s passenger deck lights, at or below bridge level, how could they not see the morse of the Titanic which was on the bridge? NO MENTION OF THIS. NO DISCUSSION. It is indeed curious that Dr. Lee ragged on his Lordite opponents for excluding certain things from their analysis that he turns around and does the same with the morse lights of each ship. Dr. Lee got bogged down on the rockets and passenger lights, which is why at the very end almost as an afterthought he talks about Calfornian’s red and green sidelights (thrown in at the end in a very short appendix). The movement of these lights seen by Boxhall is and are important. Yet Dr. Lee only gives them only passing discussion. And the morse lights even less.

Other than the glaring omission of the morse lights (and the shallow coverage of Californian’s sidelights’ movement), Dr. Lee’s research is solid. He convinced me that the ship Titanic’s officers saw that night was the Californian, and vice versa. I believe Stanley Lord became complacent, and thus completely culpable. Hey, Lordites, he should have woken up his wireless operator when he got no answer on the morse. But I consider this book a disappointment for what it could have been.

Dr. Lee, next time hire a publisher with a decent editor to tell you that your writing structure needs work. Whoever that editor was, and others you may have asked to review your manuscript, they did you a disservice. I am a retired editor. I would have told you this immediately had you supplied me with the manuscript. It is tragic you worked so hard on your research only to assemble it into a tedius mess and jumble that leaves the reader to fend for himself, and a mess and jumble that left out completely any meaningful research or analysis on more than just a trival point: the morse lamps. I for one would have valued an actual conclusion summing up all of what your all of research brought out. Instead, I had to go it alone after reeling from your research-induced shell-shock. I wouldn’t recommend this book and am disappointed that I got suckered in to rave five star reviews that turned out to be otherwise and caused me to waste my money.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

Details

The Titanic and the Indifferent Stranger: The Complete Story of the Titanic and the Californian
Used & New from: $139.64
Add to wishlist See buying options
Search these reviews only
Send us feedback How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you? Let us know here.