- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (March 1, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0470873876
- ISBN-13: 978-0470873878
- Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.4 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #951,697 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Farewell, Titanic: Her Final Legacy 1st Edition
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From the Inside Flap
The Titanic was the biggest, most luxurious passenger ship the world had ever seen. The ads proclaimed it to be unsinkable. When it sank in April 1912 after hitting an iceberg, killing more than 1,500 people, the world was forever changed, and we have been spellbound ever since. Now, a century later, the Titanic is about to disappear forever: its infrastructure will finally collapse in the next few years. In this book, scientist and New York Times Bestselling writer Charles Pellegrino offers what may be our last opportunity to see the ship before it is lost to the sea for eternity.
In Farewell, Titanic, world-renowned Titanic expert Pellegrino re-creates the great ship’s final hours in stunning detail, clears up several key mysteries about what actually happened, and reveals new information about how and why the ship went under so quickly. This is probably the last book that could have been written while Titanic survivors were still alive, and in Farewell, Titanic, Pellegrino draws on survivors’ firsthand stories of the tragedy as well as evidence he and others have collected during their deep-sea explorations of the ship’s remains in the last twenty-five years. Together, these sources create a riveting account of the intensely dramatic moments before and after the collision and of the aftermath.Farewell, Titanic also goes far beyond the nightmarish catastrophe to draw connections between the loss of more than 1,500 souls and some of the tragedies of our won era. Drawing on the author’s personal story, the book examines with rare sensitivity and immediacy the cautionary scientific and poignant spiritual lessons of disaster. Filled with dozens of extraordinary original color photos of the great ship, Farewell, Titanic offers compelling reading for anyone who is fascinated by forensic maritime science or who is simply moved by the timeless drama of history’s most legendary shipwreck.
From the Back Cover
Praise for Charles Pellegrino
"Pellegrino has completed his twenty-five-year journey of Titanic exploration with this deeply detailed book that looks the horror and chaos of that disaster square in the eye, with human insights not previously brought to light. Pellegrino really is the king of connect-the-dots."
—James Cameron, Academy Award-winning director of Titanic
"Charles Pellegrino's aptly named book is packed with untold stories. There is much to admire here, and Pellegrino is just the man to document what may indeed be the Titanic's final chapter."
—Bill Schutt, American Museum of Natural History, author of Dark Banquet
Ghosts of the Titanic
"Charles Pellegrino has raised the Titanic—at least in my imagination."
"Very moving. Like Her Name, Titanic, Ghosts of the Titanic often brought tears to my eyes."
—Sir Arthur C. Clarke, author of 2001: A Space Odyssey
Her Name, Titanic
"Like walking through a Stanley Kubrick film . . . it is impossible to pull off this sort of thing without knowing the facts, and Charlie Pellegrino knows his Titanic inside and out."
—Walter Lord, author of A Night to Remember
Top Customer Reviews
Perhaps the most immediate question for the potential reader is: "Does it tell the story of the sinking?" The easy answer is "It does indeed." But so do countless other books on the subject, not the least of which is Walter Lord's A Night To Remember, which the author used as source material--including personal correspondence with Lord. Lord's fascination with the Titanic began at a very early age which gave him the time to accrue a depth of knowledge regarding the event (her sinking) which few others could come close to except her survivors; Pellegrino does both Walter Lord and Titanic's human descendants a deft, factually thorough, and humanistic service in Farewell, Titanic.
Pellegrino's approach is perhaps the most gripping in its narrative style. Outside of global war the Titanic story is one of history's greatest cautionary tales of man's arrogance and tragic greed. Having the chutzpah to sail not just into but through an ice field is (cetainly, in hindsight) hair-raisingly stupid--but to do so, on a moonless night in calm waters and run the engines "full ahead" based on human claims of "unsinkable" construction is barely a stones throw from qualifying as murderous. Farewell, Titanic is not a story told from the periphery, from solely a journalistic perspective or a 'top down' view, rather it is told from the 'bottom up', that is, from individual accounts and outwards. The accounts make for fascinating consumption but the sense of tragedy is crystalline--there is no distinct sense of removal from the unfolding horrors, from the first call from the crows nest to the life-long burden bore by some of her survivors.
This is not a book of generalities or reconstructions based on nebulous recollections or skewed newspaper reports. The author has been down to Titanic and experienced her firsthand. Pellegrino's observations and analysis as part of James Cameron's crew resulted in the director using some of his source material for the Oscar-winning film Titanic. Not only is the historic event recounted from people who were there but it is also a captivating record of what happened to the ship itself, as it broke up, sank, hit bottom, and rested 2.5 miles below the surface of the North Atlantic ocean.
Again, that would be the expected birds-eye-view of the event. Herein, however, one gets a wonderfully accessible scientific account of the forces at play in this drama. One of Pellegrino's gifts is in his ability to convert such empirical properties into passages of uncomfortable understanding--"uncomfortable" only in the sense that one can truly grasp the chilling fear of a given moment as if you were present and watching it happen, such as in this passage:
"By the time Hendrickson reached the spiral stairs the sea appeard to be erupting through a geyser somewhere on the starboard side. Overhead, Hendrickson saw the tarpaulin beneath the number 1 cargo hatch ballooning upward like a huge dome. The surge of air pressure--which measured the pulse of water rushing in from below--whistled through the firemen's quarters with ear popping force."
Imagine what it must have been like to be close to the area where her hull struck the iceberg. Several accounts of this very instance are described by the folks who experienced it, and not just near the bow--you get a feel for how the collision was experienced from bow to stern, from first class to third class, from crew cabins down to boiler rooms, and certainly the terror experienced from the bridge down as more and more of the crew began to understand the truth of the situation as it unfolded.
Compartamentalization, the builder's claim of man's victory over nature, likely would have prevented the ship's loss if not for metal weakened by excessive heat during an earlier boiler room fire; portholes left open to provide cabin cooling in the aftermath of the fire contributed to the speed of Titanic's sinking; the number of lifeboats available were not a direct result of designer intent, rather the number were reduced by money men trying to maximize deck space, again, based on the hubristic assumption that the ship could withstand anything.
Long held untruths are clarified, as in the case of the common belief that every lifeboat was launched only half full. Initially this was the case, as Pellegrino explains, but only because the officer loading the crafts had prior experience with boats of inferior quality and was highly concerned that loading Titanic's boats to capacity may cause them to literally disintegrate upon hitting water; her lifeboats had not been tested prior to her launch.
Titanic's legacy isn't solely vested in the ghoulish allure of Victorian technology gone awry. Formerly undiscovered sea life has been found seeking refuge in her remains, not the least of which is the now familiar image of what the casual viewer would say looks like an underwater, rust-colored icicle--appropriately enough they are called "rusticles." This life form is slowly dissolving away the available iron at the site. Other life in the depths have actually protected letters and photographs. The ship has, like Vesuvius, Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and the World Trade Center collapses brought new insights to our understanding of "down blast" effects and shock cocoons. In some places contents of the great ocean liner are fully intact while the stern section has been flattened like a pancake, her hull rippled outward like taffy. Pellegrino explores these forces, too, with parallels drawn between each one, often interconnnected by the fragile thread of human life.
Therein lies a key facet of what he has set out to accomplish with Farewell, Titanic. Without properly seeing the larger picture one could attempt to cast aspersions upon the writers' odd sense of structure and adherence to the subject matter. Truth is, the subject matter, all along, is us--certainly us from a historical perspective, or us from the posture of failing to fully attend to our own better angels. Either way, this is not simply a story about iron against ice, nor one of science versus nature. Farewell, Titanic rides a timeline of human frailty from 1912 to present day. To argue that the subject or context does not stay lashed to the narrative only serves to boldly emphasize the entire point--that life isn't neat and tidy. Beyond our best intentions lie considerations we perhaps are neither capable nor ready to see. Life can be harsh and cruel . . . man can be utterly idiotic even while striving to beat nature at is own game--or man can be barbaric in nature's name. Man, science, and the panoply of physics are all put under the proverbial microscope here; the connections between man's nature and any event, large or small, are not always immediate to one another, but as Pellegrino makes clear Time always gets the final word, and eventually Time connects the dots.
Sixteen pages of photos provide a visual glimpse of what the author describes thoughout the book. And visuals, or the lack of them, are the book's sole Achilles heel. I had very much hoped (frankly even expected) a diagram of Titanic to aid in my understanding of the various events as they are so vividly described--as a land lubber I have precious little sea-going experience, much less any functional knowledge or experience on a cruise ship, One can easily find such diagrams online, but that presumes that one has quick access to the internet when reading. It would seem logical to have such an illustration near the beginning of the book. Alas, the only illustrations, while compelling indeed, are of the ship's resting place on the sea floor. It should be understood that considerations of such things are often well outside the authors control. Given the strict attention to detail throughout I can hardly conceive that Pellegrino didn't include more illustrations for print. In his two prior books on this same subject, Her Name, Titanic and Ghosts of the Titanic there are multiple such images, although each book is from a different publisher, so some form of economizing should not be ruled out in the case of Farewell, Titanic.
Titanic presents a wealth of relevance to us today. Her shell slowly decays in the "ever-black" yet her very presence, after 100 years, still reveals secrets of time and lives lost, still illuminates stories of the human condition, both worthy and shameful. Farewell, Titanic indeed preserves her legacy and brings to light startling new details and tells a century-old story with the fierce vigor and endless curiosity only mankind could display. Pellegrino has allowed us not just a glimpse but a full-fledged tour of his fascination with the ship; at once haunting and enthralling, yet remarkably poignant in its undercurrent of humanity.
This is, beyond a shadow of a doubt my favorite book on the subject, Pellegrino weaves in all his experience as an archaeologist, collaborating historian with the master of Titanic history, the late Walter Lord, and as a 9/11 family member who surfaced from the ruins of the Titanic into the post-9/11 world (in "Ghosts of the Abyss"), to deliver a compelling account that races forward and back in time, from the rarely discussed events and passengers of Titanic's voyage to the features of her wreck that continue to stand as a testimony to their memory on the ocean floor. The forensics, active retelling of history and the sheer emotion conveyed in exploring the grand scale human drama that Titanic ultimately represents proved to make this an unprecedented account that dives deep to consider who we are as people. What I appreciated most about the book were the glimpses of experiencing an oceanographic expedition to the wreck, and information about it in general, coupling science with history and drawing conclusions from the Titanic's skeleton - with Pellegrino reminding us that those clues resolve an image of a tragedy that we should never forget.
I felt very connected with all the events in this book, thanks to the brilliantly moving writing skills of Charles Pellegrino.
I will treasure this book always!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The only complaint is a lack of illustrations.Read more