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First published in 1955, A Night to Remember remains a completely riveting account of the Titanic's fatal collision and the behavior of the passengers and crew, both noble and ignominious. Some sacrificed their lives, while others fought like animals for their own survival. Wives beseeched husbands to join them in lifeboats; gentlemen went taut-lipped to their deaths in fu First published in 1955, A Night to Remember remains a completely riveting account of the Titanic's fatal collision and the behavior of the passengers and crew, both noble and ignominious. Some sacrificed their lives, while others fought like animals for their own survival. Wives beseeched husbands to join them in lifeboats; gentlemen went taut-lipped to their deaths in full evening dress; and hundreds of steerage passengers, trapped below decks, sought help in vain.


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First published in 1955, A Night to Remember remains a completely riveting account of the Titanic's fatal collision and the behavior of the passengers and crew, both noble and ignominious. Some sacrificed their lives, while others fought like animals for their own survival. Wives beseeched husbands to join them in lifeboats; gentlemen went taut-lipped to their deaths in fu First published in 1955, A Night to Remember remains a completely riveting account of the Titanic's fatal collision and the behavior of the passengers and crew, both noble and ignominious. Some sacrificed their lives, while others fought like animals for their own survival. Wives beseeched husbands to join them in lifeboats; gentlemen went taut-lipped to their deaths in full evening dress; and hundreds of steerage passengers, trapped below decks, sought help in vain.

30 review for A Night to Remember

  1. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    “All the [lifeboats] together could carry 1178 people. On this Sunday night there were 2207 on board the Titanic. This mathematical discrepancy was known by none of the passengers and few of the crew, but most of them wouldn’t have cared anyhow. The Titanic was unsinkable. Everybody said so. When Mrs. Albert Caldwell was watching the deck hands carry up luggage at Southampton, she asked one of them, ‘Is this ship really unsinkable?’ ‘Yes, lady,’ he answered. ‘God himself could not sink this ship “All the [lifeboats] together could carry 1178 people. On this Sunday night there were 2207 on board the Titanic. This mathematical discrepancy was known by none of the passengers and few of the crew, but most of them wouldn’t have cared anyhow. The Titanic was unsinkable. Everybody said so. When Mrs. Albert Caldwell was watching the deck hands carry up luggage at Southampton, she asked one of them, ‘Is this ship really unsinkable?’ ‘Yes, lady,’ he answered. ‘God himself could not sink this ship.’” - Walter Lord, A Night to Remember James Cameron ruined the Titanic. Don’t get me wrong. It’s a near-great movie that – leaving aside the tired, mismatched love-story, and the atrocious dialogue – has one of the five-best set-piece action sequences in the long history of Hollywood. Still, the movie ruined Titanic, at least for those who already loved her. Sure, it was nice having the beautiful liner, with her sleek lines and awesome symmetry, once again dominating the world. The downside, though, was steep. Now, anyone who's ever been interested in the subject must contend with sideways glances from people who assume your curiosity was piqued by the teenage-catnip pairing of a young Kate Winslet and a young Leonardo DiCaprio “flying” on Titanic’s prow. Cameron’s Titanic ruled cinemas in 1997-98, breaking records and hoarding awards and filling the airwaves with Celine Dion. This came as a surprise to a lot of folks, but not those who had already been on the bandwagon, who recognized that the sinking of the Titanic is a near-perfect story of an incredibly imperfect voyage. Certainly, Walter Lord would not have been surprised. Back in 1955, when A Night to Remember was first published, Titanic’s fame had ebbed a bit. This tends to happen after a world war, a depression, and a second, bigger world war has killed, wounded, or dislocated tens of millions of people. Indeed, when Lord started corresponding with Titanic survivors, many of them expressed skepticism that anyone still cared. People did. People cared a great deal. Lord described himself in his own words as a writer of “living history.” He was an anecdotal historian who approached great big sweeping events through the perspectives of the individuals who lived them. Lord used the memories, experiences, and words of various eyewitnesses to tell his story. During his career, he effectively utilized this technique across a variety of subjects, including Pearl Harbor, the battle of Midway, and the siege of the Alamo, but never so effectively as in his certifiably-classic telling of the sinking of the R.M.S. Titanic. Lord's style is encompassed in the first two paragraphs: High in the crow's nest of the New White Star Liner Titanic, Lookout Frederick Fleet peered into a dazzling night. It was calm, clear and bitterly cold. There was no moon, but the cloudless sky blazed with stars. The Atlantic was like polished plate glass; people later said they had never seen it so smooth. This was the fifth night of the Titanic's maiden voyage to New York, and it was already clear that she was not only the largest but also the most glamorous ship in the world. Even the passengers' dogs were glamorous. John Jacob Astor had along his Airedale Kitty. Henry Sleeper Harper, of the publishing family, had his prize Pekingese Sun Yat-sen... Right away, you can see the amazing storytelling structure that Lord employs. He starts in the crow's nest, moments before the collision with the iceberg. He identifies one of his main characters, Fred Fleet, and then segues into a short riff on First Class pets. In a subsequent paragraph, Lord circles back to Fleet spotting the iceberg. Fleet warns the bridge and a tense 37 seconds elapse before the ship strikes the berg on its port side. At this point, Lord's tale starts to flower and expand. He leaves Fleet and the crow's nest to tell the stories of other people on different parts of the ship: a quartermaster on the aft docking bridge; a steward in First Class; a night baker baking rolls; passengers from all three classes. Lord doesn't employ a straight, linear narrative. Rather, A Night to Remember resembles a mosaic. An overarching picture of the tragedy is created out of dozens of individual accounts. Lord's genius is in weaving all these strands into a cohesive whole. He has a keen eye for dramatic moments and telling quotes. When he describes the ship's break-up, he does so by listing and contrasting all the different items breaking loose and crashing together, from the 29 boilers to a jeweled copy of the Rubaiyat, from 30,000 eggs to “a little mantel clock in B-38.” Lord is also a strong writer, which allows him to maintain the integrity of the personal observations of the survivors, while still delivering an exciting narrative. (It should be noted that Lord interviewed 63 survivors for A Night to Remember, and his letters with these men and women have become an important source for later Titanic historians). Down, down dipped the Titanic's bow, and her stern swung slowly up. She seemed to be moving forward too. It was this motion which generated the wave that hit Daly, Brown, and dozens of others as it rolled aft...Lightoller watched the wave from the roof of the officer's quarters. He saw the crowds retreating up the deck ahead of it. He saw the nimbler ones keep clear, the slower ones overtaken and engulfed. He knew this kind of retreat just prolonged the agony. He turned and, facing the bow, dived in... A Night to Remember is novelistic in its presentation, eschewing analysis and debate. For instance, rather than engage in a discussion about the band's final song, Lord simply chooses the Episcopal hymn Autumn, instead of Nearer My God To Thee. If you desire to know why Lord made that choice, you can read his follow up The Night Lives On, which is an in-depth treatment of a number of fascinating (if ultimately meaningless) questions (including First Officer William Murdoch's alleged suicide, an event blithely passed off as gospel in Cameron's Titanic, much to the chagrin of Murdoch's surviving relatives). I was five years old when Titanic was discovered, and probably ten when I read this book for the first time. Back then, the story of Titanic had real magic. Yes, it is human tragedy first and foremost; but it is also tragedy in the dramatic sense: the noblesse oblige of “women and children first;” Guggenheim dressing in his best to “die as a gentleman;” Ida Strauss refusing to leave her husband, who was not allowed in a lifeboat; the death of a titan set to music, and rockets, and finally the screams of fifteen-hundred people dropped into a freezing sea. Today, the only time Titanic is mentioned is when some new book or documentary tries to use cutting edge science to highlight some trivial new piece of evidence that is then blown out of all proportion. That is to be expected, I suppose. Even as the Titanic’s hulk rusts away on the Atlantic seabed, there are those looking to squeeze a few more bucks from her memory. Still, the endless slicing and dicing, the extreme forensic examinations, the listing of minutiae, cause me to forget why I gravitated towards the Titanic in the first place. Lord tells the Titanic story the way I hope it happened, and the way that the survivors remembered it. Knowing what we do about witness perception, and the tendency to embellish, Lord might have been a bit more critical of his interviewees. I mean, did Guggenheim really take the time to change into his dinner jacket before drowning? Did Captain Smith really step off the plunging bow and swim off into the night? No one can say for certain, yet some of these stories just sound too good to be true. They sound like bad fiction, rather than good history On the other hand, a lot of the witnesses turned out to be pretty darn perceptive. The great mystery that Ballard solved in 1985 was that Titanic had broken in two. Of course, young Jack Thayer had already said that, seventy-three years earlier, because it had happened fifty-yards from his seventeen year-old eyes. While the story of the Titanic has moved on, it has not entirely left A Night to Remember behind. It is, despite its minor flaws, still the best single book on the Titanic. Based on Lord's closeness to the actual participants – as well as his enormous talent – it will likely always retain that position.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    Wow, I can see why this book is considered a classic in narrative nonfiction. In fact, I picked up this book because Nathaniel Philbrick, himself a master writer, told the New York Times that this was one of his favorite books of the genre. (The other nonfiction book he mentioned was Alfred Lansing's Endurance, which I also agree was excellent.) A Night to Remember gives a gripping, detailed account of what happened the night the Titanic hit an iceberg and sank in the Atlantic Ocean, killing more Wow, I can see why this book is considered a classic in narrative nonfiction. In fact, I picked up this book because Nathaniel Philbrick, himself a master writer, told the New York Times that this was one of his favorite books of the genre. (The other nonfiction book he mentioned was Alfred Lansing's Endurance, which I also agree was excellent.) A Night to Remember gives a gripping, detailed account of what happened the night the Titanic hit an iceberg and sank in the Atlantic Ocean, killing more than 1,500 people. Originally published in 1955, Walter Lord had interviewed survivors and reviewed documents to create this incredible narrative of the events surrounding April 15, 1912. I also liked the context Lord gave to the tragedy: Overriding everything else, the Titanic also marked the end of a general feeling of confidence. Until then men felt they had found the answer to a steady, orderly, civilized life. For 100 years the Western world had been at peace.* For 100 years technology had steadily improved. For 100 years the benefits of peace and industry seemed to be filtering satisfactorily through society. In retrospect, there may seem less grounds for confidence, but at the time most articulate people felt life was all right. The Titanic woke them up. Never again would they be quite so sure of themselves. In technology especially, the disaster was a terrible blow. Here was the "unsinkable ship" — perhaps man's greatest engineering achievement — going down the first time it sailed. But it went beyond that. If this supreme achievement was so terribly fragile, what about everything else? If wealth meant so little on this cold April night, did it mean so much the rest of the year? Scores of ministers preached that the Titanic was a heaven-sent lesson to awaken people from their complacency, to punish them for a top-heavy faith in material progress. If it was a lesson, it worked — people have never been sure of anything since. *I think Mr. Lord has overlooked a few dozen wars in this eloquent-and-yet-untrue sentence, including the American Civil War, the Napoleonic wars, and innumerable conflicts involving the British Empire. Other than that, this passage is great. I listened to this book on audio and was so engrossed I finished it in one session. Highly recommended. Favorite Quote "What troubled people especially was not just the tragedy — or even its needlessness — but the element of fate in it all. If the Titanic had heeded any of the six ice messages on Sunday ... if ice conditions had been normal ... if the night had been rough or moonlit ... if she had seen the berg 15 seconds sooner — or 15 seconds later ... if she had hit the ice any other way ... if her watertight bulkheads had been one deck higher ... if she had carried enough boats ... if the Californian had only come ... Had any one of those 'ifs' turned out right, every life might have been saved. But they all went against her — a classic Greek tragedy."

  3. 4 out of 5

    Fergus

    I think this is the last book I read before the onset of puberty. I was 12. It’s for sure it came from my Mom’s library, too… You see, back in 1962 the Township employed me as a Page there (do I hear muted whispers backstage, of Nepotism?) That was a fact of life in the big fat Police Village of City View, guys - but who loves y’a, baby? Anyway, this book of course is now eclipsed by Céline Dion singing My Heart Will Go On while standing bravely on the Titanic’s prow in our Collective Unconscious. C I think this is the last book I read before the onset of puberty. I was 12. It’s for sure it came from my Mom’s library, too… You see, back in 1962 the Township employed me as a Page there (do I hear muted whispers backstage, of Nepotism?) That was a fact of life in the big fat Police Village of City View, guys - but who loves y’a, baby? Anyway, this book of course is now eclipsed by Céline Dion singing My Heart Will Go On while standing bravely on the Titanic’s prow in our Collective Unconscious. Cause that’s the subject of the book - Titanic. Well, Heaven knows how many bold ‘n brave corrections to Lord’s summary our recent history has now washed up on the Beach of Historicism! For a while there, I thought I would actually OD on them… Or even lose my Lunch over Some of them. Oh, that garish overkill of Hollywood media! Who loves y’a, baby? Not us. Not me, anyway… No, I’ll stick with my books. “Is this the real life - is it just fantasy? Lost in a landslide, no escape from Reality!” Queen was right. Just like nepotism, Hollywood rules.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Matthew

    It is difficult to exist without knowing at least something about the Titanic. From just general fascination about a famous historical tragedy to pop culture interest around the late 90s film, you will be hard pressed to find someone who does not least have enough knowledge about the Titanic disaster to carry on a discussion about the topic. Despite what I know already, I wanted to take the time to go back and read the first (and maybe most famous) non-fiction account of the tragedy. It was 100% It is difficult to exist without knowing at least something about the Titanic. From just general fascination about a famous historical tragedy to pop culture interest around the late 90s film, you will be hard pressed to find someone who does not least have enough knowledge about the Titanic disaster to carry on a discussion about the topic. Despite what I know already, I wanted to take the time to go back and read the first (and maybe most famous) non-fiction account of the tragedy. It was 100% worth my time! I have had this book on my list for a while but was recently inspired to read it after reading The Wreck of the Titan. Titan was a book written several years before the Titanic and has the reputation of being eerily predictive of the real-life event. In my opinion, I found it lacking and wanted to cleanse my palate with an account of the true story. Lord does a great job of concisely describing the events of that fateful night. It was easy to follow and stay interested in. Sometimes non-fiction can get long winded and repetitive, but this account gets to the point with the details and brings the suspense of the real event to the page. Also found here in more detail than I have seen in other accounts (fiction and non-fiction) is the human response of the people; from heroes to cowards, split second decisions that both saved lives and cost lives, all of it extremely fascinating! If you have any interest in the event surrounding the Titanic, I highly recommend this title. I also recommend it to fans of maritime stories and important historical events in general.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lobstergirl

    James Cameron's vision of the Titanic decided that the most compelling and lucrative story would focus on two young lovers who had just met. Looking at the passenger manifest, where survivors are listed in italics and the dead are not, suggests how blandly offensive this vision is. It's hard to argue with the chivalry of "women and children first," but for family after family, particularly among first class passengers, fathers and husbands went down with the ship while mothers, wives, and kiddie James Cameron's vision of the Titanic decided that the most compelling and lucrative story would focus on two young lovers who had just met. Looking at the passenger manifest, where survivors are listed in italics and the dead are not, suggests how blandly offensive this vision is. It's hard to argue with the chivalry of "women and children first," but for family after family, particularly among first class passengers, fathers and husbands went down with the ship while mothers, wives, and kiddies (and often the female servants of the very wealthy) rowed away in lifeboats. Arthur Ryerson, scion of the steel and iron family, took off his lifebelt when he saw that his wife's maid, Victorine, didn't have one. Ryerson, his wife, and three of their children were returning from France to the U.S. for the funeral of his son, who had been thrown from a car the week before. Ryerson Senior perished. John Jacob Astor asked if he could accompany his wife, who was pregnant, into a boat; request denied. She and her maid survived; Astor and his manservant died. A strange calm descended over the doomed elite: Benjamin Guggenheim and his valet changed into their evening clothes so they could "go down like gentlemen." Mrs. Isador Straus refused to leave her husband (the founder of Macy's) and they watched the hubbub, arms entwined, as in another part of the ship steerage passengers, many of whom didn't speak English, clutched rosaries and prayed. But character was not uniformly spread amongst the nobility. As the ship disappeared beneath the waves, Lady Cosmo Duff Gordon in Lifeboat 1 remarked to her secretary: "There is your beautiful nightdress gone." Lord engagingly writes of these swells: There was a wonderful intimacy about this little world of the Edwardian rich. There was no flicker of surprise when they bumped into each other, whether at the Pyramids (a great favorite), the Cowes regatta, or the springs at Baden-Baden. They seemed to get the same ideas at the same time, and one of these ideas was to make the maiden voyage of the largest ship in the world. The sinking of the Titanic marked the end of an era in many ways, Lord argues, fairly convincingly. The American aristocracy ceased being noble and became merely wealthy. The sense of noblesse oblige went. People continued to make fortunes, but the war and the income tax bit into the unrelieved joyousness of being obscenely moneyed. "Men would go on being brave, but never again would they be brave in quite the same way."

  6. 4 out of 5

    Juli

    Today's cruise ships are basically floating cities. Able to carry more than 6000 people, the Oasis of the Seas (Royal Caribbean Line) is 5 times the size of the Titanic. But back in its day, more than 100 years ago, the Titanic was a wonder. It took thousands of men more than 2 years to build her. Titanic was 4 city blocks long and could carry more than 2,400 people. She was new....she was massive....and she was doomed. 2 years to build.....and the largest ship afloat in April 1912 took just und Today's cruise ships are basically floating cities. Able to carry more than 6000 people, the Oasis of the Seas (Royal Caribbean Line) is 5 times the size of the Titanic. But back in its day, more than 100 years ago, the Titanic was a wonder. It took thousands of men more than 2 years to build her. Titanic was 4 city blocks long and could carry more than 2,400 people. She was new....she was massive....and she was doomed. 2 years to build.....and the largest ship afloat in April 1912 took just under 3 hours to sink. Walter Lord tells the story of one of the most famous ocean disasters from before the ship struck an iceberg to the aftermath of the sinking. Walter Lord interviewed more than 60 survivors of the disaster to write the book. A Night to Remember was an instant bestseller in 1955. A film version was released in 1958. Lord even consulted on the filming of the 1997 movie Titanic. I'm not sure why the fate of the Titanic is such a compelling story. It might be the huge loss of lives, the loss of such a grand ship on its first voyage, passengers with such disparate lives all doomed to the same fate....or a combination of all of it. First Class passenger John Jacob Astor, one of the wealthiest men in the world in 1912, drowned in the Atlantic alongside poor immigrants from steerage. It hits home when you compare ticket prices in today's money....those who paid the equivalent of $50,000 for a first class passage died alongside those who struggled to raise the $460 for a steerage ticket. Lord hits home with the difference in treatment of the classes on board when he points out that only one first class child died....but 52 children from steerage perished. Some passengers in steerage never even made it up to the boat deck for a chance of a seat in a lifeboat. I'm sure it's his interviews with so many survivors that makes this book so realistic. His descriptions are vivid and made me feel like I was almost there. I listened to the audio version of this book. A combination of Lord's story-telling and Fred Williams excellent narration kept me engrossed in the story from start to finish. I have read many many books on the Titanic, watched movies, listened to podcasts....for me, it's a story I just seem obsessed with. It's horrific...and mesmerizing at the same time. Lord makes the story about the people....not just the event. He tells the story of an Italian woman crying for her children on board the Carpathia, only to be reunited with them both; the first class passenger who refused to leave her Great Dane on board the ship so perished with her dog; and the stunned silence of the women in the lifeboats as they realized they had just witnessed more than 1000 people drown. It's about more than a luxurious boat that didn't survive its first Atlantic crossing.....it's about the loss of more than 1,500 people and the story of the last 3 hours of their lives. Great book! The audio (Blackstone) is just shy of 5 1/2 hours long. Fred Williams does a great job of narrating. He reads at a steady pace and has a nice voice. Very entertaining listening experience. Walter Lord also wrote books about Dunkirk and the attack on Pearl Harbor. I've got both on my TBR list now!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Bronwyn

    this is a very good book about the sinking of the titanic, probably the best and most accurate of the books written about the titanic disaster, a movie(a night to remember) was made from it, and it tells you what really happened instead of exaggerations, and lies, so it is without a doubt among the best of the books written about the titanic disaster, and I would recommend it to anyone would is interested in the titanic and wants to read a true account

  8. 4 out of 5

    Bill Lynas

    A truely matter of fact account of the sinking of the Titanic, brilliantly told. It's interesting that although first published only about 40 years after the disaster people still had differnt memories of the events that happened. This version is an excellent unabridged audio CD, read by the ever reliable Martin Jarvis. A truely matter of fact account of the sinking of the Titanic, brilliantly told. It's interesting that although first published only about 40 years after the disaster people still had differnt memories of the events that happened. This version is an excellent unabridged audio CD, read by the ever reliable Martin Jarvis.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Evan

    This is sort of the primary, classic book on the Titanic disaster. Published in 1955, it's short and smoothly written -- covering the viewpoints of a large cast and changing centers of perspective with ease. There have been four movies made about the Titanic in the sound era (there were several silent movies about or loosely based on it). I've seen three of the four and have the other one on VHS to watch. The first was a 1943 German, Nazi-produced spectacle that mainly was made, it seemed, as an This is sort of the primary, classic book on the Titanic disaster. Published in 1955, it's short and smoothly written -- covering the viewpoints of a large cast and changing centers of perspective with ease. There have been four movies made about the Titanic in the sound era (there were several silent movies about or loosely based on it). I've seen three of the four and have the other one on VHS to watch. The first was a 1943 German, Nazi-produced spectacle that mainly was made, it seemed, as an anti-British propaganda piece. The special effects were so good that the ship sinking model shots were re-used in the 1958 Brit version, based on this book: "A Night to Remember." In the interim, Hollywood made an attempt in 1953, called simply "Titanic," starring Barbara Stanwyck. For some reason, I've never found the time to watch it, even though I own it (*see 2016 addendum, bottom of review). I find it hard to imagine that it could surpass the 1958 British film: a soberly compelling version that remains my favorite. It seems most in spirit of the book. James Cameron's 1997 version is for little girls. Blah. Reading on...rating soon to come. This is a breeze to read. Very vivid, full of detail. The only thing that causes a slight slowdown is the sheer number of characters. To Lord's credit, he reminds us frequently of the positions and titles of the characters, so we don't have to go back or jog our memories trying to remember who these people are. I love when authors do that. I'm for easy. As I'm reading this I'm realizing how well the 1958 film captured this account and how badly the hokey 1997 film did. FINAL: Enjoyed this greatly. I especially enjoyed Lord's analysis of the class snobbery and attitudes of the time that led to a higher percentage of deaths among the third-class passengers vs. the first and second classes, and the media's disinterest at the time to hearing the stories of the common people in preference to the Astors and the other robber-baron types. On the other hand, he is fair, and gives credit to almost everyone for having class and dignity. I hesitate to call Lord's treatment of the issues "socially conscious," I just think he was trying to be more "fair and balanced" as a historian than other writers had been previously. There are probably other books that go into greater detail on certain aspects of this story, but I can't imagine there being a better entire book on the Titanic than this. -------- * Addendum: 2016: In the intervening years since I wrote this review, I did end up seeing the 1953 Titanic movie, and it is an entertaining potboiler vehicle for Barbara Stanwyck, all gussied up in high-gloss duds and 20th-Century Fox production values and familial bad blood. Kind of Stella Dallas on the high seas. Barbara can suffer in mink just as well on a cruise liner as in a mansion. It's grand entertainment, but not a very good Titanic movie.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Max

    Lord delivers a riveting account of a tragedy that symbolized the end of an age. The Titanic, the grandest of luxury liners, heedlessly speeds forward into the night as the wealthy elite indulge. They meet their destiny in the elemental forces. The Titanic’s demise eerily foreshadows the profound changes coming as the world soon unravels in the Great War. The prevailing confidence that man can control nature and his fate is shattered. A far more uncertain world is revealed. The actions of the cr Lord delivers a riveting account of a tragedy that symbolized the end of an age. The Titanic, the grandest of luxury liners, heedlessly speeds forward into the night as the wealthy elite indulge. They meet their destiny in the elemental forces. The Titanic’s demise eerily foreshadows the profound changes coming as the world soon unravels in the Great War. The prevailing confidence that man can control nature and his fate is shattered. A far more uncertain world is revealed. The actions of the crew and passengers depict the extremes of human behavior. Some were gallant, some were heroes, and others were cowardly and heartless. Most of us know how the band played on, how Captain Smith went down with his ship, and how some men donned their finest to perish in style after helping women and children to the lifeboats. But very disturbing is the behavior of those fortunate enough to be in one of the sixteen lifeboats. Only one lifeboat went back to save survivors after the Titanic sank even though most had plenty of room. Outcries from the boats’ predominantly female passengers demanded that the crews not go back afraid that people struggling in the water might swamp the boats. I understand fear but I still have a difficult time understanding leaving people to die in the frigid ocean especially when they could be friends or even the women’s husbands. This is a short book and reads quickly. Lord does an excellent job of putting you there. You can feel it. He also includes interesting commentary on the contemporary newspaper accounts, many of which were racist attributing cowardly acts to blacks and Italians that were actually committed by Anglo-Saxons. Highly recommended – a big payback for a small investment of time.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Book Concierge

    Book on CD read by Walter Jarvis On April 15, 1912, the greatest ship to ever sail struck an iceberg and sank in the North Atlantic. This is a chronological tale of what the people aboard the Titanic recall of that night’s events. This is a re-read. I first read it before I joined either Shelfari or Goodreads, so I have no record of when I read it. I believe it was in the 1980s; I know it was long before the hugely successful movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. If memory serves, I Book on CD read by Walter Jarvis On April 15, 1912, the greatest ship to ever sail struck an iceberg and sank in the North Atlantic. This is a chronological tale of what the people aboard the Titanic recall of that night’s events. This is a re-read. I first read it before I joined either Shelfari or Goodreads, so I have no record of when I read it. I believe it was in the 1980s; I know it was long before the hugely successful movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. If memory serves, I re-read it at about the time the movie was released. So this is my third reading. It’s a gripping story, and Lord does a great job of bringing all these people to life. I get a real sense of the confusion and disbelief when the ship first strikes the iceberg. And later, of the chaos and panic when it is clear she will go down, and there are not enough lifeboats for everyone aboard to safely get away. Lord used transcripts of testimony given by many people during the inquiry following the disaster, as well as personal interviews with survivors and relatives of those lost at sea, as well as people who were aboard the Carpathia which picked up all the lifeboats and returned with them to New York. The text edition I had included some photographs, as well as a full list of the passengers. Walter Jarvis does an okay job of reading the audio version, but I really disliked his voice. Still, he did convey a sense of urgency as he related the events of that horrible night.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Brooke — brooklynnnnereads

    I'm fascinated with the events of the Titanic so I will essentially read any book involving it. That was the case with this book. This book was interesting because it's a true account from the perspective of the survivors and takes the reader through the different chain of events of that night. It was an okay and worthwhile read but not one that goes fully in-depth regarding the accident. It's very short but at the same time, it took me longer than I expected to read due to the dryness in writin I'm fascinated with the events of the Titanic so I will essentially read any book involving it. That was the case with this book. This book was interesting because it's a true account from the perspective of the survivors and takes the reader through the different chain of events of that night. It was an okay and worthwhile read but not one that goes fully in-depth regarding the accident. It's very short but at the same time, it took me longer than I expected to read due to the dryness in writing style. For others that are also intrigued by the timeline of that night, it's a good read. However, if you are looking for a book that has more of a full history, there are many more enjoyable resources out there for information.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Bill Rogers

    Because I'm cruel and evil, I'm going to ruin this book for you with a spoiler. The ship sinks, folks. What, you already knew that? You've heard the story before, once or twice, maybe? In fact, do you think the Titanic story is overblown in our culture? Are you tired of it? You can blame Walter Lord. But don't blame him too much; he wrote an amazing book. Lord was something of a harmless crank with a bit of a fascination with this big honkin' ship that had run into an iceberg a few decades before. Because I'm cruel and evil, I'm going to ruin this book for you with a spoiler. The ship sinks, folks. What, you already knew that? You've heard the story before, once or twice, maybe? In fact, do you think the Titanic story is overblown in our culture? Are you tired of it? You can blame Walter Lord. But don't blame him too much; he wrote an amazing book. Lord was something of a harmless crank with a bit of a fascination with this big honkin' ship that had run into an iceberg a few decades before. He collected all the information on it he could. This being the 1950s, he then topped that off by interviewing many of the survivors of that disaster. (The fact that this was not that long after the Titanic sank, in terms of history, is pointed out by the fact that one of the Titanic stewards Lord interviewed was still working on trans-Atlantic passenger liners at the time the book came out.) Lord then wrote his book, for the most part, as anecdotes from people who were there, assembled like jigsaw pieces into a coherent picture. It is a brilliant and compelling way of telling the story because it gives you the overall picture, the names and faces of the people who stood on the slanting deck that cold night, some unlikely and near-forgotten heroes and villains, and the sense that you're right there watching it happen. A Night to Remember is a quick and easy read, and very rewarding. I recommend it. In fact, if you want to know about the Titanic disaster, I suggest you read this book, watch the movie of the same name that was made from it, and skip the eternal, tedious, and repetitive rest of the literature on the subject.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Brian Eshleman

    I don't know how the author does it, but he manages a sumptuous notice of detail and a very brisk, but not quite hurried pace – of course perfect for a narrative centering on the Titanic. He also draws some interesting cultural conclusions which point to its place in history and why it still fascinates us. I don't know how the author does it, but he manages a sumptuous notice of detail and a very brisk, but not quite hurried pace – of course perfect for a narrative centering on the Titanic. He also draws some interesting cultural conclusions which point to its place in history and why it still fascinates us.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kat

    When I was about 15, I was completely obsessed with the Titanic (yep, that's the year the movie came out!), and I brought every book I could find about it. And at the time, hyping up the movie, there was a lot of books available. A couple of years later, the obsession had faded and it wasn't until the 100th anniversary of the sinking in mid-April that my interest was piqued again. So I picked up a copy of A Night to Remember. Written in 1955, it reads with a surprisingly modern and appealing voice When I was about 15, I was completely obsessed with the Titanic (yep, that's the year the movie came out!), and I brought every book I could find about it. And at the time, hyping up the movie, there was a lot of books available. A couple of years later, the obsession had faded and it wasn't until the 100th anniversary of the sinking in mid-April that my interest was piqued again. So I picked up a copy of A Night to Remember. Written in 1955, it reads with a surprisingly modern and appealing voice - it's not stuffy or wordy in it's explanations of what happened that fateful night, and although the 'cast of characters' is long, it's an extremely riveting read. Using interviews with passengers from first, second and third class and crew as a basis for the book, Walter Lord's classic has stood the test of time well. Although the cast of characters is large and complicated, the more prominent passengers (Mrs. Brown, John Jacob Astor and Benjamin Guggenheim) stand out, as do the chilling accounts from below-decks crew and steerage passengers. There are stories of miraculous survival and heart-breaking stories of final goodbyes, and coverage of the rescue and the landing of the survivors in New York. As a non-fiction book, this is not a dry read at all. Sure, it's got a whole lot of facts about the ship, the sinking and the rescue efforts, but it's presented in an easy-to-read language, interspersed with amazing true stories. Read more of my reviews at The Aussie Zombie

  16. 4 out of 5

    Shaun

    If... If the Titanic had heeded any of the six ice messages on Sunday....if ice conditions had been normal...if the night had been rough or moonlit...if she had seen the berg 15 seconds sooner--or later...if she had hit the ice any other way...if her watertight bulkheads had been one deck higher...if she had carried enough boats...if the Californian had only come. Had any one of these "ifs" turned out right, every life might have been saved. But they all went against her--a classic Greek tragedy. If... If the Titanic had heeded any of the six ice messages on Sunday....if ice conditions had been normal...if the night had been rough or moonlit...if she had seen the berg 15 seconds sooner--or later...if she had hit the ice any other way...if her watertight bulkheads had been one deck higher...if she had carried enough boats...if the Californian had only come. Had any one of these "ifs" turned out right, every life might have been saved. But they all went against her--a classic Greek tragedy. This was a fairly concise recounting--perhaps the definitive recounting--of the tragedy known as the Titanic. I might have found this more compelling if I hadn't already watched a number of documentaries on the topic. There was really very little new here for me. I did learn that in 1898 a struggling author named Morgan Robertson had written a novel about a fictional luxury liner, which he named the Titan, that was eerily similar to the Titanic (so much so that the description of his imaginary ship perfectly described the Titanic). Most disturbing, however, is that Robertson's ship, which coincidentally was also labeled as "unsinkable," also struck an iceberg and sank on a cold April night.

  17. 5 out of 5

    GoldGato

    I've never trusted the month of April. It should be the month of flowers and bunnies and eggs and bees, which it is. But April is also the month of disasters...the 1906 Earthquake and Fire, Chernobyl, the Oklahoma City Bombing, Columbine and, of course, the Sinking of the Titanic. The 'S' is capitalized. Prior to reading Walter Lord's version of the Sinking, the Titanic was just another shipwreck to me, but forever after, it is THE shipwreck. Under Lord's framing, it's also the end of the Gilded I've never trusted the month of April. It should be the month of flowers and bunnies and eggs and bees, which it is. But April is also the month of disasters...the 1906 Earthquake and Fire, Chernobyl, the Oklahoma City Bombing, Columbine and, of course, the Sinking of the Titanic. The 'S' is capitalized. Prior to reading Walter Lord's version of the Sinking, the Titanic was just another shipwreck to me, but forever after, it is THE shipwreck. Under Lord's framing, it's also the end of the Gilded Age when industrial magnates could wear warm furs while sitting top deck on the greatest ocean liner ever built. The stories of the survivors and the drowned so shook me, I remember having to carry a flashlight to bed so I could read this adventure under covers without anyone else in the house knowing. There are a number of books about the Titanic, but there really is only one. Lord's Titanic. I will show you fear in a handful of dust Yes, April is the cruellest month. Book Season = Spring (still won't travel by boat)

  18. 4 out of 5

    Manybooks

    Walter Lord's A Night to Remember (which I absolutely adored as a teenager) is basically and for all intents and purposes a live action, riveting account of the sinking of the Titanic, from start to finish, from the time the iceberg was hit to when the sadly oh so very few survivors were picked up, had finally reached the Carpathia (and I can well understand how and why this novel was made into a movie, although I have not seen it). Now as a teenager, the massive amounts of emotionally fraught p Walter Lord's A Night to Remember (which I absolutely adored as a teenager) is basically and for all intents and purposes a live action, riveting account of the sinking of the Titanic, from start to finish, from the time the iceberg was hit to when the sadly oh so very few survivors were picked up, had finally reached the Carpathia (and I can well understand how and why this novel was made into a movie, although I have not seen it). Now as a teenager, the massive amounts of emotionally fraught presented textual information and details were very much intriguing and certainly kept me hooked and reading all night (as I started A Night to Remember at around nine in the evening after I had completed my required homework and finished at six in the morning the next day) and I still even now much appreciate how both compassionately and with a sense of fair play, Walter Lord tells his story, recounts the sinking of the Titanic and the tragedy of the so many lives lost. However, during my recent reread, precisely those very aspects of A Night to Remember I so loved as a teenager, namely the informative often in ones' face textual and narrative details, the cinematic, play-by-play action and scope of events, I am finding at times and actually even generally more than a bit overused, overdone, exaggerated and simply too much, with the reader almost overcome by the latter and so much so that the main and necessary areas of criticism, the rather callous and lighthearted ignoring of the received warnings of icebergs because the Titanic was deemed unsinkable and especially that there were not enough lifeboats for the passengers and that steerage, that third class passengers were generally and even quite deliberately ignored, that due to their social standing, their lives were not deemed as valuable as those travelling in first or second class, almost swept away (and no pun intended) with and by the overabundance and meticulous descriptions of even the smallest and most insignificant points of information (in other words that for older adult I, A Night to Remember reads and feels as just too annoyingly cinematic). Still recommended and a historically accurate and often painfully emotional read, but while as a teenager, I would have definitely rated Walter Lord's A Night to Remember with four stars, I now can and will only consider a high two star ranking at best.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sean Chick

    The more I read about the Titanic the more I dislike James Cameron's film, with its reliance on spectacle, mockery/slander of historical figures (Lightoller, Captain Smith, Guggenheim, etc.), and a corny love story, when the real sinking was a horror show. Sadly, Cameron is not alone, as nearly every film (there are over 15 feature length movies) is based on fictional characters although the actual sinking contains a wealth of stories. Many of them are here in this account, done in a documentary The more I read about the Titanic the more I dislike James Cameron's film, with its reliance on spectacle, mockery/slander of historical figures (Lightoller, Captain Smith, Guggenheim, etc.), and a corny love story, when the real sinking was a horror show. Sadly, Cameron is not alone, as nearly every film (there are over 15 feature length movies) is based on fictional characters although the actual sinking contains a wealth of stories. Many of them are here in this account, done in a documentary style, blow by blow, as Titanic hits an Iceberg, sinks, and the survivors are brought to New York City. While the names can sometimes start to mesh together, the tight and sparse style has the effect of making the book seem utterly reliable and unsensational, so that the moments of horror, heroism, cowardice, and humor seem more real than other books that lapse into purple prose. The book is very much a window into the social concerns and blind spots of its day. While the book remains focused on individuals, class is important. Lord supposed that the world of 1912, when 3rd class was kept at bay from 1st and 2nd class was at an end. The arch of history though does not "bend towards justice" but instead toward decline, death, and change. The working class, at the height of its powers in 1955 (when this was published), is now thoroughly abused by the right, left, and center. Furthermore, the racism Lord comments on is one we have partially forgotten in the obsession with "whiteness." On Titanic it was the Anglo-Saxon and Nordic feeling of superiority to the Irish, French, Spanish, Polish, Italian, Greek, Chinese, and Japanese. We can argue that that world ended post World War II, but I doubt we are far enough removed from history or human nature as shown by the interplay in world politics not to mention personal experiences. Lastly, Lord does not despise the upper class of the day. He notes their shortcomings but cannot help but admire how the three richest men onboard (Astor, Strauss, Guggenheim) faced and accepted death. Could you see any of our corporate overlords, replete with rainbow flags and assurances of their morale superiority, doing the same? I am convinced most would either force their way onto to a boat, or fall crying to their knees. Guggenheim, by contrast, was last seen declaring "We are dressed in our best and are prepared to go down as gentlemen."

  20. 4 out of 5

    Geevee

    Walter Lord's book is itself over half a century old (published 1956) and yet it remains highly readable justifying its "classic" tag. Where Lord excels is that he interviewed 63 survivors and weaved their recollections with many other written sources and testimonies to tell a story. And a fine story it is. He hooks the reader on the first page by placing you firmly in 1912 and on board the second of White Star Line's Olympic class ships, and at the time of her voyage the largest ship afloat, and Walter Lord's book is itself over half a century old (published 1956) and yet it remains highly readable justifying its "classic" tag. Where Lord excels is that he interviewed 63 survivors and weaved their recollections with many other written sources and testimonies to tell a story. And a fine story it is. He hooks the reader on the first page by placing you firmly in 1912 and on board the second of White Star Line's Olympic class ships, and at the time of her voyage the largest ship afloat, and although one knows the ending, you are immediately thrust into the night's events and begin to meet some of the people wrapped up in a world changing night that will as the reader knows end in tragedy. Not only does Lord use the interviews with the survivors to create atmoshpere and context but, as importantly for the story and the reader's information, he also includes people who were onboard the Carpathia. So we read of events before the iceberg strikes the Titanic and the aftermath in the cold calm waters of the ice ridden sea through to the passengers on the Carpathia thinking their own ship is in trouble because blankets are being collected and lifeboats readied. The disaster of the Titanic changed the way ships and their passengers, communications and safety equipment were treated and arranged thereafter. A Night to Remember changed the way historic events were written about by using first person accounts and testimony. 100 years on from the sinking of this most famous ship the people's story continues to be told by a classic genre changing piece of storytelling.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Medhat The Book Fanatic

    I have tried many times to read A Night To Remember, and I always ended-up putting it aside. This time, however, the reading experience was quite different. Six days earlier, I started 'Shadow of the Titanic: The Extraordinary Stories Of Those Who Survived', and as I learned a lot about survivors' post-Titanic life, I formed some kind of an attachment and an understanding to them; thus, I guess, I was meant to read A Night To Remember, the story of the sinking right after reading about the event I have tried many times to read A Night To Remember, and I always ended-up putting it aside. This time, however, the reading experience was quite different. Six days earlier, I started 'Shadow of the Titanic: The Extraordinary Stories Of Those Who Survived', and as I learned a lot about survivors' post-Titanic life, I formed some kind of an attachment and an understanding to them; thus, I guess, I was meant to read A Night To Remember, the story of the sinking right after reading about the events that took place after it. A Night To Remember was an immersive experience that I won't be able to forget. As I continued with each page, I kept picturing what was happening in my mind and was able to place myself behind these people's shoulders who witnessed the unimaginable. The book was concise, easy to read at times (but sometimes not), and it provided everything that I needed to know about the Titanic's definitive last hours.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Bob Mayer

    The great story of a great tragedy. What's interesting is that when we went to see Titanic, the girls sitting behind us didn't know the ship was going to sink. They were quite surprised at that plot twist. Reading-- it's important. As is history. I cover the 7 Cascade Events leading to the Titanic sinking in Stuff Doesn't Just Happen: The Gift of Failure. There are some little details that aren't widely know, such as the officer having the key to the locker where the binoculars were held didn't boa The great story of a great tragedy. What's interesting is that when we went to see Titanic, the girls sitting behind us didn't know the ship was going to sink. They were quite surprised at that plot twist. Reading-- it's important. As is history. I cover the 7 Cascade Events leading to the Titanic sinking in Stuff Doesn't Just Happen: The Gift of Failure. There are some little details that aren't widely know, such as the officer having the key to the locker where the binoculars were held didn't board the ship and they didn't have the key, thus the lookouts lacked the thing they used to look out. Details.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kimberley doruyter

    one thing becomes clear reading this book. titanic was a major cock-up. could more have gone wrong on one sea journey.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Yousra

    I watched this video showing the sinking of the Titanic in real time while reading this book to try and get the most authentic experience of this tragedy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rs9w5... And.. wow. Absolutely amazing. A must read for anyone who was as obsessed with the Titanic as I was when I was a kid. A great, genuine, detailed, touching and true account of this horrible tragedy. "As the sea closed over the Titanic, Lady Cosmo Duff Gordon in boat 1 remarked to her secretary Miss Francate I watched this video showing the sinking of the Titanic in real time while reading this book to try and get the most authentic experience of this tragedy. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rs9w5... And.. wow. Absolutely amazing. A must read for anyone who was as obsessed with the Titanic as I was when I was a kid. A great, genuine, detailed, touching and true account of this horrible tragedy. "As the sea closed over the Titanic, Lady Cosmo Duff Gordon in boat 1 remarked to her secretary Miss Francatelli, ‘There is your beautiful nightdress gone.’ A lot more than Miss Francatelli’s nightgown vanished that April night. Even more than the largest liner in the world, her cargo and the lives of 1,502 people. Never again would men fling a ship into an ice field, heedless of warnings, putting their whole trust in a few thousand tons of steel and rivets. From now on Atlantic liners took ice messages seriously, steered clear, or slowed down. Nobody believed in the ‘unsinkable ship’ ...... "But along with the prejudices, some nobler instincts also were lost. Men would go on being brave, but never again would they be brave in quite the same way. These men on the Titanic had a touch – there was something about Ben Guggenheim changing to evening dress … about Howard Case flicking his cigarette as he waved to Mrs Graham … or even about Colonel Gracie panting along the decks, gallantly if ineffectually searching for Mrs Candee. Today nobody could carry off these little gestures of chivalry, but they did that night."

  25. 4 out of 5

    Debra

    4.5 stars Such a riveting book about the sinking of the titanic. This book is full of tragedy : third class passengers being locked below, life boats not full, not enough life boats, ignored warnings about ice, massive loss of life, etc. But it was also about heroism. The band playing until the very end, the men who stayed behind to keep sending out SOS messages knowing that by doing so they would surely not survive. Walter Lord did an amazing amount of research in writing this book. He interview 4.5 stars Such a riveting book about the sinking of the titanic. This book is full of tragedy : third class passengers being locked below, life boats not full, not enough life boats, ignored warnings about ice, massive loss of life, etc. But it was also about heroism. The band playing until the very end, the men who stayed behind to keep sending out SOS messages knowing that by doing so they would surely not survive. Walter Lord did an amazing amount of research in writing this book. He interviewed survivors and went over documentation in order to write this captivating book which was very hard to put down.

  26. 5 out of 5

    ATheReader

    I read this for school. I didn't like it or dislike it. I think the thing about this book is how much of a journalistic masterpiece it is. Obviously, there is no possible way that everything in this book is true, but the level of research and detail in this book is pretty great. It WAS pretty hard to remember all of the names but that can be related to how long we read this in class. I also think it was pretty great that this book focused on a large selection of passengers rather than just the r I read this for school. I didn't like it or dislike it. I think the thing about this book is how much of a journalistic masterpiece it is. Obviously, there is no possible way that everything in this book is true, but the level of research and detail in this book is pretty great. It WAS pretty hard to remember all of the names but that can be related to how long we read this in class. I also think it was pretty great that this book focused on a large selection of passengers rather than just the rich first-class passengers. Overall I think that this will be the beginning and end of education I have on the Titanic. (Because I definitely won't seek it out.)

  27. 5 out of 5

    Michael Britt

    I really can't decide what the best rating for this book would be. It's an amazing recollection of first-hand experiences from the night the Titanic went down. The Titanic is one of my favorite stories from history. Might have come from seeing it in theaters as a kid, but I'm not 100% certain. But this book is far more interesting than the movie, only because it's true. It's interesting to hear just how calm everyone was up until people started physically seeing the water inside the ship. Even t I really can't decide what the best rating for this book would be. It's an amazing recollection of first-hand experiences from the night the Titanic went down. The Titanic is one of my favorite stories from history. Might have come from seeing it in theaters as a kid, but I'm not 100% certain. But this book is far more interesting than the movie, only because it's true. It's interesting to hear just how calm everyone was up until people started physically seeing the water inside the ship. Even then, many women chose to at least try and stay back with their husbands when they found out they couldn't get on a lifeboat with them. Everything about this tragedy just fascinates me. Definitely worth the read!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Kathryn

    This has been on my TBR list for a while, but I felt an urge to get it read earlier this year, given that I was going on a cruise myself. I decided it would be best left until after I returned, just in case it made me a little edgy!! It was an interesting read, although there wasn’t anything of major importance that I wasn’t already aware of - but still amazing to think that people were firmly convinced that the Titanic was unsinkable. Although, having cruised on a large ocean liner now myself, I This has been on my TBR list for a while, but I felt an urge to get it read earlier this year, given that I was going on a cruise myself. I decided it would be best left until after I returned, just in case it made me a little edgy!! It was an interesting read, although there wasn’t anything of major importance that I wasn’t already aware of - but still amazing to think that people were firmly convinced that the Titanic was unsinkable. Although, having cruised on a large ocean liner now myself, I feel like its sinking would also be very unlikely - it just feels so solid, however I guess that was how people felt about the Titanic as well!! Of course, there would be much more rigorous safety standards now than there were then, not to mention adequate lifeboats. If the sinking of the Titanic taught us nothing else, it is that there simply must be an adequate number of lifeboats for all passengers and crew aboard. I’m sure the procedures for mustering and filling the lifeboats would also be much more rigorous now than occurred on that evening. I liked this quote toward the end of the book, which seemed to underline the misfortune of the Titanic - “What troubled people especially was not just the tragedy - or even its needlessness - but the element of fate in it all. If the Titanic had heeded any of the six ice messages on Sunday…if ice conditions had been normal…if the night had been rough or moonlit…if she had seen the berg 15 seconds sooner - or 15 seconds later…if she had hit the ice any other way…if her watertight bulkheads had been one deck higher…if she had carried enough boats…if the Californian had only come. Had any one of these “ifs” turned out right, every life might have been saved. But they all went against her - a classic Greek tragedy."

  29. 5 out of 5

    K.D. Absolutely

    They say that this book is the definitive source when it comes to the story of Titanic and I agree. I learned so much details from this book that I did not see in the James Cameron 1997 hit. Even if I watched that movie 20+ times (and still occasionally have that urge), I still had that insatiable need to know more about what happened. But when I finally closed this book? Enough, I said. I'm truly satiated. A Night to Remember is 1955 Walter Lord's (1917-2002) non-fiction work detailing what happ They say that this book is the definitive source when it comes to the story of Titanic and I agree. I learned so much details from this book that I did not see in the James Cameron 1997 hit. Even if I watched that movie 20+ times (and still occasionally have that urge), I still had that insatiable need to know more about what happened. But when I finally closed this book? Enough, I said. I'm truly satiated. A Night to Remember is 1955 Walter Lord's (1917-2002) non-fiction work detailing what happened in the RMS Titanic on April 12, 1912. During his writing he tracked down and interviewed 63 of the surviving passengers of the ship and he also became a consultant to James Cameron during the filming of the blockbuster disaster movie of all times. Due to these first-hand accounts of the 63 survivors, the book seems like you see the disaster by yourself through their vivid accounts. One thing that struck me (that I saw in the movie but did not make a mark in my mind) was how social class was accepted by the passengers even during the time of loading to the getaway boats. For example, when the last boat was brought down, the crew did not know that there were still women and children from the third level that are still waiting for the gates to open so they can get the priority. And those women and children accepted their fate because they are not the priorities compared to the 40+ men from the upper decks (levels) who got into the earlier boats. Some of these men disguised as women so they could aboard those boats. I really liked this book. It was worth every minute I spent pouring each page. I just can't stop my fascination about this ship that was declared to be unsinkable even by God! And yet it sank.

  30. 4 out of 5

    David

    Having done some reading and watched a number of documentaries as well as the 1997 movie Titanic directed by James Cameron and a more recent documentary by Mr. Cameron focused on correcting some of the errors of understanding about how the Titanic sank and broke apart, I wondered if reading A Night to Remember which was originally published in 1955 would be a waste of my time. I am sooooo glad I went ahead and read it anyway! This was one of the first detailed books written about the tragedy and Having done some reading and watched a number of documentaries as well as the 1997 movie Titanic directed by James Cameron and a more recent documentary by Mr. Cameron focused on correcting some of the errors of understanding about how the Titanic sank and broke apart, I wondered if reading A Night to Remember which was originally published in 1955 would be a waste of my time. I am sooooo glad I went ahead and read it anyway! This was one of the first detailed books written about the tragedy and it was very descriptive about the impact with and damage caused by the iceberg, which compartments flooded chronologically, how the ship filled with water and began to list, etc. But while all of the technical analysis about how the ship broke apart was dealt with quite well in later media, this book focused much more on the individuals from all levels and classes of American and European societies, their personal stories and experiences, heart wrenching decisions that had to be made about who would be put in the life boats (there were only enough for roughly one third of everyone on board), and all of the minute by minute activity leading up to the final moments. Most of those who did not get into a boat were third class or steerage, men, and crew members. All of the anxious moments trying to signal nearby ships (Carpathia was closest at over 50 miles away) by wireless or by flares, trying to maintain order in a situation that was totally unexpected for the "unsinkable" Titanic, are covered. Also the early mistakes made that allowed them to hit the large iceberg in the first place. If you are a Titanic history buff and haven't read this book yet because of all the newer material available, read this book.

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