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The Watch That Ends the Night: Voices from the Titanic Hardcover – October 11, 2011

4.8 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


A masterpiece. Wolf leaves no emotion unplumbed, no area of research uninvestigated, and his voices are so authentic they hurt. Everyone should read it.
—Booklist (starred review)

Wolf constructs a richly textured novel in verse that recreates the Titanic's ill-fated journey, predominantly through the voices of her passengers... Wolf's carefully crafted characters evolve as the voyage slides to its icy conclusion; readers may be surprised by the potency of the final impact.
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

Twenty-four voices-of passengers, rats and even the iceberg-evoke the human tragedy of the ill-fated voyage. Wolf brings the history and, more importantly, the human scale of the event to life by giving voice to the players themselves . . . A lyrical, monumental work of fact and imagination that reads like an oral history revved up by the drama of the event.
—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Wolf's novel in verse gives voice, through first-person accounts, to a cross section of passengers and crew on the Titanic: how they boarded, why they're there, and how they face the disaster. . . . The themes of natural disaster, technology, social class, survival, and death all play out here.
—The Horn Book (starred review)

About the Author

Allan Wolf, an expert poet and storyteller, is the author of the award-winning novels NEW FOUND LAND:LEWIS AND CLARK'S VOYAGE OF DISCOVERY and ZANE'S TRACE. He lives in Asheville, North Carolina.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; 1 edition (October 11, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763637033
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763637033
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 1.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #518,941 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Valerie A. Baute on November 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover
April marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, and I am fully expecting a wide variety of materials to come out about the subject. This makes me extremely happy because I am obsessed with the Titanic. I also expect a large number of the materials to be below par, people jumping on the bandwagon and doing whatever they can to make a few bucks. With this book, I had very high hopes. Thank goodness I wasn't disappointed.

Told in verse from the perspective of 24 different characters, this book covers all of the bases. There are people who survive because of class, gender or age. There are people that don't survive because of class, gender, or age. There are people that basically save themselves. Then there is the iceberg and even a rat. The idea behind these last two characters was a cute idea at first, but I didn't care for them after the first few sections. Also there are parts where an undertaker tells of collecting the bodies afterward, and that part was probably the most interesting to me. Many characters' stories were entertwined throughout the book, and this was done in a very fluid way. I was impressed with how the author tied so many of them together.

The majority of the book leads up to the crash. I fully enjoyed all of it, but I could see people who aren't die hard Titanic fans thinking it a slow start. The closer it got to time to hit the iceberg, the faster I tore through the book. Since it is in verse, it reads quickly. I am not always a fan of verse. Most of this book read like any other book, but a few parts were written in a rhyming type. For a lot of those sections I was spending more time trying to find the pattern in the rhymes than actually paying attention to what I was reading. The end of the book has a history section which is full of very interesting information. Overall this book is not perfect, but it is very captivating and the most interesting way I have seen the story of the Titanic told.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Simply put, The Watch That Ends the Night by Allan Wolf is one of the best books I've read all year. Written in verse, it is the story of the Titanic from its launch to its sinking, told in twenty four different voices, including those of third class passengers, first class passengers, crew, and even the iceberg. We learn of the hopes of young third class teens, the desperation of a second class father, the con artist in first class, the valiant musicians, and the new Marconi wireman, plus many more; with the exception of only one, all were real passengers aboard the ship, and all were changed forever when destiny met a silent, waiting iceberg in the dark of the ocean.

Creative and captivating, Mr. Wolf keeps the action steady as the stories of the passengers race toward a struggle with life and death. I was equally enthralled with young Frankie Goldsmith's ice dragon adventures as I was with Captain Smith's realization that this final voyage would not be to his anticipated retirement. Wolf's research is detectable in all his details, and this Titanic buff was pleased to read his illuminating author's note in the final pages. I could easily have inhaled this novel in one long breath, but I made myself savor each word, right down to the lines falling off the pages as Thomas Andrews takes his final plunge with the ship. As 2012 is the centenary of the sinking of the great ship, there will doubtless be lots of information and many books available, but this one should definitely be the one literature and history lovers should seek out. Highly, highly recommended.

Thanks to the Historical Novel Society for providing me with a copy of this wonderful novel.
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Format: Hardcover
Told from 24 different perspectives in multiple genres such as verse, letters, undertaker's notes, telegrams, forms and booklets, this harrowing tale takes the reader through the journey that different people took on the Titanic. The points of view range from workers like lookouts and stokers, 3rd class passengers like an immigrant and refugee, 2nd class passengers like a tailor, 1st class passengers like a millionaire and socialite as well as the captain, ship builder, the business man, the ship rat and the iceberg. The story begins on April 1st, 1912 with preparing to sail and ends with the survivors aboard the Carpathia on April 18, 1912.

This novel obviously takes the reader through the complete tragedy of the RMS Titanic and the amount of research that Allan Wolf must of done makes this novel not only a wonderful piece of writing, but an essential part of Titanic-lore from now on. I specifically liked how after the story was completed, an afterword was added with Titanic information and a clarification of the fact vs. fiction within the novel specifically when it came to the characters. This novel will be used in classes learning about the Titanic for years to come because of the historical accuracy and the interesting and in-depth way the story is told. It is also a perfect addition to any English Language Arts classroom because it has perfect examples of different types of poetry (each character has their own style), using dialogue in poetry, historical fiction, figurative language and other literary devices and using multiple-genres. I feel that this book is a great way to teach these elements because the Titanic is such a well known topic which would lend well to students connecting with and understanding the text. This book truly makes history come alive.
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