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Colonel Archibald Gracie is one of the few people who actually went down with the Titanic and lived to tell about it. First published in 1913, "Titanic" is his detailed account of the last day he spent aboard ship, the evacuation of passengers on the port side of the ship, and of his incredible survival on an overturned lifeboat after being plunged into the frigid ocean when the Titanic finally completely submerged. The first 113 pages of the book are dedicated to Colonel Gracie's firsthand account. In the remaining approximately 200 pages, Col. Gracie has compiled testimony from as many other eyewitnesses as he could find. These firsthand accounts of passengers and crew are taken from the official inquiries in the United States and Great Britain, personal correspondence and interviews with Col. Gracie, and occasionally from firsthand accounts that were published in books and magazines of the day. Taken together, they render a very detailed picture of what went on that fateful night and why more people were not saved. Colonel Gracie died 8 months after the Titanic sank, of illness possibly related to the prolonged exposure to cold that he endured the night the Titanic went down.
This is one of the most comprehensive and precise accounts of the Titanic disaster that you will find. Colonel Gracie is an engaging storyteller. I like his decision to organize the eyewitness accounts by lifeboat. The book also provides some interesting insights into the manners and social attitudes of the time.
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on August 24, 1998
I read this book at first to establish some truths about this great story. I feel that it had become a far fetched story of modern times , with all the romantic films and books available today. I came away from reading this book with a sense of great loss. Gracie, has spent a short time explaining the everyday bustle of those on board and at least 300 pages about how the ship sank and who was involved it what.
A truly fantastic read ,and one that has inspired me to read more on the subject. Thanks Archibald !!!!
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on November 26, 1998
Two of the most poignant survivor accounts of the Titanic sinking. Mr. Gracie, an elderly man with many social ties to others on the ship and Mr. Thayer, the 17 year old son of a prominent businessman were both first class passengers. Both nearly drowned as the Titanic plunged to the bottom of the Atlantic; but found refuge on the upside down collapsible lifeboat B. Mr. Gracie lost his best friend and Mr. Thayer lost his father. The grief each feels still calls out to us.
The style of each narrative is interesting to compare. Gracie, when describing his own experience or his impressions of the significance of the sinking, uses the flowing purple prose of the late 19th century (his style is more straightforward in his compilations of accounts of other passengers and he has even used their actual statements). Thayer, writing in 1940 about his own experience, is terser; but his reflection that the world seemed calm and his place in it assured before that night is poetic. Archibald Gracie died soon after he wrote his narrative. I'm unsure; but I believe Jack Thayer did not live long after he wrote his story. Since Mr. Thayer's account is not generally available in other sources, and Mr. Gracie was so thorough about who was in (or, in his case, on) each lifeboat, this book will be appreciated by any Titanic buff.
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on April 24, 1998
If you have a need to know exactly what happened the night the Titantic suck, this is one of the best places to look. Since Gracie was on the ship as it sunk, he has given the world an incredible, life-like view of the unsinkable. Gracie can tell you exactly who he interacted with the night of the disaster. He also brings it to you with great detail. For example, he was responsible for a few ladies on the ship and he writes about how they kept appearing and disappearing throughout the evening. In the long run, he shows exactly how this disaster affected him and his acquaintances. I would highly recommend it for anyone who would like to know more about that night and what it was like going through it.
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on January 7, 2008
I have read Archibald Gracie's account of the sinking and while the tales of his survival and the aftermath are at times very interesting and useful, I feel that they pale in comparison to that of fellow Titanic passenger, Lawrence Beesley, a teacher by profession and a fine writer. Beesely's accounts are so well written and vividly drawn that you feel as if you are on the ship with him before and during the sinking, as well as in the lifeboats and later upon the Carpathia, heading for New York. His account of the entire Titanic tragedy is so complete that nearly 100 years later much of what he has written remains one of the most fact filled testimonies ever recorded. He writes with sensitivity and genteelness, and is masterful at describing visually what he and others saw and felt during that fateful night in April, 1912.

But whether you prefer Gracie or Beesely, you can get both in the book "The Story of the Titanic As Told by Its Survivors". A great read which offers the writings of other Titanic survivors as well, all in one volume.
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on June 1, 2000
Originally published in 1913 as The Truth About the Titanic, Titanic: A Survivor's Story was the first book by an actual Titanic survivor to appear in print. Colonel Archibald Gracie, a military historian who is treated really brutally by James Cameron in his film, was not only a brave man but an indefatigable historian of the disaster. In the months remaining to him after the sinking (Colonel Gracie died in December 1912, possibly of aftereffects from his harrowing escape), Gracie tracked down other survivors and was the first to make an attempt at putting each survivor into the boat he or she escaped from. Written with period charm, this is an important book about the disaster and will dispell any remaining images of Cameron's doofy "Archie."
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on April 22, 1998
Of all of the first-hand accounts of the "Titanic" that I have read, Archibald Gracie's is my favorite. Not only is it very well-written, but he had the opportunity to comment on the last minutes of all the people we've heard about; he was a first-class passenger, himself. In his account, he also mentions what particular things he did the he believes saved his life, and the things others might have been able to do.
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on April 22, 1998
This is truly a must read book for anyone interested in what happened the night that Titanic sank. Archibald Gracie gives a detailed eye witness account of what took place as crew members worked frantically to get passengers into life boats. Through his words you can see every thing that he describes along with the sense of survival that many passengers and crew members had. Gracie took the time to find out all that he could about those that he helped off the ship and those that did not make it. Then when he describes his experiecne with life and death as he struggles to get off the ship and onto a life boat is amazing. You feel his saddnes when he loses his best friend, and when he describes the horrors of being on a boat and listening to the cries of those who are left struggling in the water. His emotions pour out onto the page as he talks about the inquiries and the thoughts of those that could have been saved if things were done differently. This is one of the best eye witness accounts that I have read so far.
John Thayer's story is one of great saddness during a time of great struggle. He was on board the Titanic with his family when the ship began her desent to the ocean floor. He tried to keep up with his family only to be seperated from them as they moved towards the life boats. John tried desperatly to find his father but was unable to as he struggled to get off the ship. You can hear the saddness in his words as he talks about the experience and having to see his mother on board Carpathia and learning that his father did not make it. Sometimes it makes you wonder if maybe he too should have perished with his father. He survived by getting up with Archibald Gracie and climbing onto the same upside down life boat that Gracie himself was on trying to survive.
Both sections of the book gives remarkable eye witness accounts to one of history's tragic events. Neither seciton is filled with happiness, but with the saddness that something like this could tear families apart and test one's desire for survival. You feel the cold that each one felt as they stood on top of an over turned life boat in wet clothes, and then the warmth that is felt when they are cared for by complete strangers on Carpathia. Archibald Gracie did not live long after the sinking of the Titanic while John Thayer lived on to witness another disasterious sinking of another cruise ship. Both men put all of their emotions onto paper in hopes of helping them cope with the disaster. John Thayer's account was written strictly for his family and contains very little details of events that did not involve his family. Archibald Gracie went out to seek the truth and to tell his side of story with the help of other survivors. Both men should be remembered for their heroic deeds that they performed that night, for each one put their life on the line to save others. This is truly an eye opening account of a tragic event in history.
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on November 25, 2012
Written by a survivor of the Titanic and done so in 1912 language. It is not an easy read and is slow going. It does, however, offer an insight into the Titanic disaster that only a survivor can give.
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on April 17, 2014
This makes no sense. According to the author's page on the review, the author was born in the 1700's and died in the 1800's. How could he have survived the Titanic if he died long before it sailed?
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