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Shadow of the Titanic: The Extraordinary…

Shadow of the Titanic: The Extraordinary Stories of Those Who Survived

by Andrew Wilson

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Book Description
Release date: March 26, 2013
We think we know the story of the Titanic—the once majestic and supposedly unsinkable ship that struck an iceberg on its maiden voyage from Britain to America—but very little has been written about the vessel’s 705 survivors. How did the events of that horrific night in the icy waters of the North Atlantic affect the lives of those who lived to tell the tale?

Drawing on a wealth of previously unpublished letters, memoirs, diaries, and interviews with their family members, award-winning journalist Andrew

Wilson brings to life the survivors’ colorful voices, from the famous, like heiress Madeleine Astor, to the lesser known second-and third-class passengers, such as the Navratil brothers, who were traveling under assumed names because they were being abducted by their father.

More than one hundred years after that fateful voyage, Shadow of the Titanic adds an important new dimension to this enduringly captivating story.
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  Suzanne_Mitchell | Dec 28, 2013 |
An incredible collection of survivor stories that have been blended with biographical research into an addictive and highly readable tale of what happened to those who survived the sinking of the Titanic. Andrew Wilson has taken the stories of the survivors that we know and thoroughly details inconsistencies, realities, and the motivations/reasons of the survivors. Some of these stories are beyond tragic while others provide hope in the determination to survive and live life for those who had perished so tragically that April night in 1912. This is a book that will fill in the blank left in Titanic history of what happened to the survivors after they stepped off the Carpathia and onto the pier in New York City. It will captivate all readers with its interwoven stories. ( )
  JEB5 | Oct 30, 2013 |
Thoroughly enjoyable and fascinating, but I did get the impression that a couple of chapters were padded out. Nevertheless it's a great book. ( )
  planetmut | Oct 14, 2012 |
Reason for Reading: I belong the Titanic Reading Challenge and have had a life long interest in the Titanic.

An exciting non-fiction read that concentrates on the people aboard the Titanic who survived and what became of them. Starting with a chapter on the sinking itself and then devoting another chapter to the rescue aboard the Carpathia the book then devotes a chapter each to either one lone survivor or those related by a certain theme such as a later chapter in the book called "The Dark Side of Survival" which recounts the lives of several survivors who ended up committing suicide. All the famous survivors are given their spot in this book such as the Duff Gordons, concentrating on Lady, Madeliene Astor, Bruce Ismay, Jack Thayer, Dorothy Gibson, Edith Rosenbaum, etc. Also some more obscure stories of people who weren't famous to begin with or didn't become so until afterwards are told and these little tidbits are the most interesting to me. The author has had access to a plethora of documents and includes many quotes from unpublished memoirs of survivors, which really bring the history of these people alive. Wilson also keeps heavily in mind the Edwardian society and ideology of the time and how the Titanic was a symbol of this, and its sinking was the beginning of the end of these idealized "happy" days and strict class systems. A riveting read that keeps one glued to the pages even when one knows the Titanic story quite well to begin with. ( )
1 vote ElizaJane | Jul 28, 2012 |
I saw this book listed in Entertainment Weekly. It is one of a slew of books put out to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. I have read many books on the subject, the most recent being the fictional book The Dressmaker. The thing that I really liked about this book was how it covered the lives of people after they were rescued. I knew quite a bit about who was on Titanic but not too much much about how the sinking affected their lives after. As it turns out people's bodies may have been rescued but a lot of them had their souls go down in the north Atlantic.

Eighteen year old Madeleine was on her honeymoon with the richest man on ship, John Jacob Astor. She made into the lifeboat without her husband and although she survived the sinking she seemed doomed to live in the shadow of the disaster. Her story proves the old saying that money cannot buy happiness although she certainly tried with the purchase of a boy toy husband. Her marriages read like a Dominick Dunne novel. It all ended very sadly for her at the young age of 47.

Survivors Lady Duff Gordon and her husband Cosmo are also profiled. Cosmo was reviled for having made it into a lifeboat when so many women and children perished. It was even rumored that the couple paid the crew in their lifeboat to not go back for the dying people in the water. I wanted to read a more factual account of them because I had read Kate Alcott's new book The Dressmaker where they feature prominently. I can't say that either book painted a particularly flattering portrait of them although this book provided a more complete picture. What was really strange was the story of Lady Duff's kimono that she wore on the night of the sinking. Fascinating stuff.

Speaking of reviled, Bruce Ismay embarked from the Carpathia as arguably the most hated man in the world and strangely he seemed to like it that way. People rested the blame of the sinking of the Titanic squarely on his soldiers and were quite upset that he did not go down with the ship as so many husbands and fathers did. He continued a regiment of self punishment that would last the rest of his life.

One thing I found very surprising from this book was that ten survivors committed suicide. You would think that having cheated death they would embrace living but some of them chose to end their lives. People didn't understand post traumatic stress or counseling and therapy as is the norm today. Some survivors chose to never speak of the disaster and instead locked it inside of them where it ate at them like a cancer. Other survivors like Eva hart and Millvina Dean, young children when the Titanic sunk, chose to embrace the notoriety that came with the title of survivor. When the wreck of the Titanic was located by Robert Ballard in 1985 it renewed interest in the story again and the last two survivors were called upon to relate their stories countless times. A rivalry sprung up between Eva and Millvina as to who was the ultimate authority. Ultimately Millivina outlasted Eva and when she passed in 2009 the last living link to the direct survivors Titanic was severed.

I recommend this book to anyone who wants to learn more about the people on the Titanic and what life was like for the survivors. If you were a man who survived it seemed to be much better for you if you tried to go down with the ship and somehow found your way to a boat once you were in the water like seventeen year old Jack Thayer as opposed to actually seating yourself in a lifeboat like Cosmo Duff and Bruce Ismay. Either way the survivors were haunted by what they saw and heard the night the Titanic sunk and they carried the memories like a weight for the rest of their lives. This is a fascinating book perfect for the hundred year anniversary of the disaster. ( )
  arielfl | Apr 17, 2012 |
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(Introduction) The sound of the screaming was the worst thing, they said.
Sunday, April 14, 1912, dawned bright and clear.
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Offers insight into how the tragedy affected its survivors, drawing on archival research and interviews with family members to explore how some propelled themselves to fame while others were devastated by survivor guilt.

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