Top positive review
17 people found this helpful
A great resource for people of all ages
on September 9, 2012
I was over halfway through this book when I realized it was meant for a younger audience. I saw it on display with other Titanic books at the library, in honor of the 100th anniversary of the sinking, and thought it looked like a good book. But even if it is geared towards a younger crowd, even an adult Titanic buff can appreciate it. So many people were on board, and there are still so many angles to the ship's construction, the early days before it sailed from Queenstown into the Atlantic, the people who were on board, the sinking, the rescue of the survivors, the aftermath, and the ship's discovery decades later. There's always a new way to approach the material and provide new insights and unearthed facts. People who claim that there are "too many" books about the Titanic (or any other popular era or topic in history, like World War II) either aren't reading enough variety on the subject, or don't realize it's not "the same old story told a hundred ways."
I loved all the pictures in this book, particularly from future priest Frank Brown, a shutterbug who got a first-class ticket for the ship's two-day maiden voyage as a present from an uncle. These pictures are such priceless artifacts, documenting the ship in ways we might never have known merely from written descriptions. Also nice were the inclusion of materials like telegrams, tickets, menus, and witness testimonies. They add so much to the historical narrative. I also like how there was some information on the building of the ship, the White Star line, the Harland and Wolff shipbuilding company, and what led up to building such a gigantic luxury ship. It's always good to have some backstory, since events don't happen overnight or in a vacuum. There can't really be a full understanding or appreciation of Titanic history if all one knows about is the sinking. There was so much more to this story than the famous tragedy.
By focusing on a few passengers in particular (such as young Frankie Goldsmith, stewardess Violet Jessop, Norwegian immigrant Ole Abelseth, science teacher Joseph Beesley, and high school boy Jack Thayer, all of whom survived), it helps to personalize the tragedy. It doesn't mean much to quote figures of how many lived and how many died if one doesn't know who some of the survivors and victims were. Each person had a story that was unique, in spite of the common tragedy they experienced.