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Starboard at Midnight

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0878502011
ISBN-10: 0878502017
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Editorial Reviews


An intimate literary gem...The shrewd analysis of a love story...With all the drama and intrigue that charges a spy thriller, and punctuated by bursts of eloquent prose, Sanford's well-woven tale fleshes out the grandmother she cherished and reclaims a grandfather she never knew but felt compelled to discover... --Randy Bryan Bigham, Encyclopedia Titanica.org

About the Author

Helen Behr Sanford, a.k.a. Lynn Sanford, grew up at Pretty Brook Farm in Princeton, NJ. She attended Miss Fine's School, and Westover School in Middlebury, CT, and graduated from Wheaton College in Norton, MA. Lynn also attended the New York University Graduate English program, the Bread Loaf writer's school, the Cambridge (England) Summer program, and studied with the late Theodore Weiss at Princeton University. Lynn's love for contemplation inspired her passion for literature and kept her enthralled with the printed word in one form or another. She has traveled widely and has raised two sons with her husband on a small farm outside of Princeton.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 308 pages
  • Publisher: The Darwin Press, Inc. (October 7, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0878502017
  • ISBN-13: 978-0878502011
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,985,800 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 29, 2011
Format: Paperback
Helen Behr Sanford has written a compelling biographical novel in STARBOARD AT MIDNIGHT, a book based on the unpublished personal memoir written by her grandfather Karl H. Behr - and not only is this a true story of survival of one of the most dramatic tragedies in history the sinking of the Titanic on April 14, 1912, but it is a humanistic novel about the man and woman who survived and how that traumatic event altered their lives. Sanford takes her well-studied facts, mixes them with enough variation so that single people named are actually composited of several people for the purpose of making the novel as propulsive as it is.

For the sake of historical data and to refresh our minds, 'in 1912 the sinking of the Titanic began late on the night of April 14th. Information on the sinking Titanic indicates that the ship approached a massive iceberg, and although efforts were made to steer clear of the large frozen mass, all efforts were to no avail. Sadly, further records of the Titanic accident history indicate that the Titanic disaster may very well have been able to have been completely avoided had officers on ship paid heed to reports received earlier regarding the frozen waters they were approaching.' And as the narrator of the book states 'Survivors waited and waited for absolution that would never come. Helen Newsom and Karl H. Behr were amongst them. Karl was hailed as a rising tennis star, but when he survived the infamous sea-time disaster, his affiliation with guilt had little reckoning until he plunged into activism with Theodore Roosevelt. '

The Titanic incident could not have been more poorly timed as ti was in the timeframe of the smoldering and ultimately burning World War I: the tension between Germans of people of German ancestry was fragile at best.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Starboard at Midnight is a welcome addition to a year of invitations to revisit the worlds of our grandparents by the likes of Paula McLain's The Paris Wife and Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris. In this narrative adaptation of the memoirs of her grandfather, Karl Behr, Lynn Sanford paints a unique and evocative picture of the end of the American version of the Belle Epoque as it tailed into World War I, and beyond, recounting the coming of age of her ancestor. And what ancestor he was: youngest of four sons of prosperous German immigrants in New Youk; scrappy gang fighter, Davis Cup tennis champion; mining explorer in Mexico; prominent lawyer; advisor to Teddy Roosevelt and Titanic survivor. You can't get a better story than that.
Using fictional techniques when necessary, Sanford movingly recounts the internal challenges Karl experienced and the resolve with which he fought them throughout his eventful life. The most poignant passages concern the guilt he experienced over being one of the few male survivors of the Titanic. Was it fate that he directed his fiancée's family to the starboard boat deck where boarding lifeboats was less restricted? Was it fate that his fiancée's mother asked the head of the White Star Line if Karl could join her in the lifeboat as Karl was in her party? Should he have declined? Since the lifeboat was not full, would someone else have been saved if he had? He was not a coward: he had faced down marauding Rurales and bandits in Mexico; held his own in adolescent street fights with "the Micks"; and later maintained his composure and patriotism despite the rampant anti-German discrimination of World War I America.
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