- Hardcover: 160 pages
- Publisher: Pen and Sword (April 19, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 178303047X
- ISBN-13: 978-1783030477
- Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.8 x 9.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,171,298 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Sinking of RMS Tayleur: The Lost Story of the Victorian Titanic Hardcover – May 3, 2014
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Hoffs has recounted this awful tragedy with such description and dedicated research that you can almost imagine yourself on the deck of this unfortunate vessel... An excellent read. (Suzie Lennox, author of Bodysnatchers: Digging Up The Untold Stories of Britain’s Resurrection Men)
About the Author
Gill Hoffs grew up on the Scottish coast before gaining a BSc in Psychology from the University of Glasgow. She worked with children with a variety of needs before she had her son in 2007. Gill’s short nonfiction, Black Fish, won the 2011 Spilling Ink Nonfiction Prize, and her work is widely available online and in print, including “Wild: a collection” (Pure Slush, 2012) and “The Sinking of RMS Tayleur: The Lost Story of the ‘Victorian Titanic’” (Pen & Sword, 2014). See her website: gillhoffs.wordpress.com for details or contact her on twitter – @gillhoffs – or at email@example.com.
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This book was written with great care. Part analysis of a tragic shipwreck that maybe shouldn't have happened, and part glimpse into the backgrounds and desires of the people on board, it's a book that manages to echo the struggle of each man, woman, and child on board that vessel. It hits home as the author, Gill Hoffs, scribes the known records and history of as many people listed on that ship as she could find. Combined with newspaper articles, documented accounts from the survivors, and various other records, it's a well-rounded voyage beyond the abyss of what happened that fateful day.
It's not just facts. It's human.
In effect, therefore, from commencing her maiden voyage, the entire life and death of this ship lasted for about 48 hours and, ordinarily, might easily have remained as nothing more than a sentence or two in a work covering several such tragedies. Instead, however, we are treated to a well-researched account of the disaster itself added to which are all the relevant details one might wish to know. The ship, her revolutionary new hull and the problems it caused, her captain, the doctor and the convict - are but a few of the threads which are all skilfully woven together to provide an account which is as complete as one might hope to find. For that reason the book is fully recommended.
That said, I do have two issues which caused great annoyance. The first of these relates to the ‘Contents’ page which contains no detail at all except for the page on which each chapter commences. Literally “Chapter One page 1, Chapter Two page 17” - and nothing more. Whereas, this may appear ‘picky-picky’ I do spend my time immersed in research and when I return to this work to reconsider some item of information it will entail a long, laborious and very unnecessary search. My second complaint is the wholly unnecessary comparison with the Titanic. Yes, genuine comparisons do exist between the two vessels, but these can be found between a rowing boat and an aircraft carrier if you look hard enough! I could even cite an example of a shipwreck which is one of many from around the world to be described as the local area’s ‘Titanic’ even though the wreck itself is a tugboat!
Such a comparison between the great tragedy of the Tayleur and that of the Titanic does nothing for the latter and only devalues the former and must, therefore, be regarded as a great pity.
Through exhaustive research and original sources, Hoffs has managed to dive back into history to Lambay Island, Ireland, and revive this forgotten chapter in history, bringing it vividly to life. And that's the mark of a great writer - to tell such a tale, and make the reader care. I DO care, and this story will stay with me forever. I highly recommend it.