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Titanic Lives by Richard Davenport-Hines

Titanic Lives (edition 2012)

by Richard Davenport-Hines

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1742968,238 (3.78)33
Title:Titanic Lives
Authors:Richard Davenport-Hines
Info:Harper Press (2012), Paperback, 432 pages
Collections:E Books owned

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Voyagers of the Titanic: Passengers, Sailors, Shipbuilders, Aristocrats, and the Worlds They Came From by Richard Davenport-Hines



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This book brings statistics to life by meticulously recounting the personal histories of hundreds who were aboard the Titanic as well as several who were intimately involved in its construction. This is no mean feat. The thousands of people involved, complicated by murky records of many steerage passengers, make this a task not for the faint of heart. Yet, the author Richard Davenport-Hines proved equal to the task: he was able to draw everything together and make sense of the conditions and mores of a complicated era.

The detail was fascinating: for example, an intriguing description of how the great boilers were stoked, and the accompanying nightmarish working conditions.

One of the greatest strengths of this book is also one of its weaknesses: there are simply so many individuals that it was difficult to keep everyone straight. I don't know how the author could have done any better, however, with the exception of including a list of passengers, their association or ticket class, and ultimate fate. Had there been such a table I would have referred to it often.

This book fills an important gap in the history -- and mythos -- surrounding the Titanic. To my knowledge, this book is unique, and the most detailed account of the lives of so many of the various passengers of different classes, the crew, and shipbuilders. The book's tone is unemotional and factual, yet absolutely fascinating. Documentation and citing of sources was not stinted upon, further adding to the value of this book.

Thanks to Davenport-Hines, the Titanic's thousands of victims -- whether or not they were actually aboard that horrific night -- live on. ~~~(This review was originally done for Early Reviewers, and published as "MtnSk8tr", my original LT account) ( )
  SunandaDevi | Jun 22, 2013 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
The Titanic fascinates me. A ship believed to be unsinkable falters in the North Atlantic resulting in the deaths of over 1000 people.
Voyagers is what the title suggests, a book loaded with information about who was on the ship. There is lots of background material through out. Of course not everyone is listed, I believe that would be impossible. It was amazing to read how some people ended up making the voyage.

I recommend this book to any who are interested in who was on the Titanic and to anyone in school writing a research paper on the subject. ( )
  lostinmyownlibrary | Oct 28, 2012 |
Much has obviously written about the Titanic disaster and over the centuries many more people were killed in such, top of the list being Twin Towers, but few rise to the magnitude of shock and anguish in our collective memories a century later.

Davenport-Hines delivers as an accomplished researcher and for me spell binding accounts of the lives that were lost and saved. The class distinctions and twists and turns of those who luckily survived is told in a tale that rivets and poses much to contemplate.

I am sure the more scholarly types that have read much on this topic could point out what was left out that should have been included or overlooked. In my limited knowledge I was a bit surprised he did not go into a bit more detail on the mishap of the telegraphers in relaying the messages. But on balance it provided many stories about the lives of those lost and difficulties ahead for those who survived.

Much to recommend in this book to those with any level of interest in the topic. ( )
  knightlight777 | Oct 6, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
After having a chance to see a Titanic exhibit several years ago, I have been trying to read more about the sinking. So I was quite happy to receive this book and I was not disappointed. It was a very interesting read.

Author Davenport-Hines looks at the three classes of passengers aboard the Titanic and tells us about them. First class included many rich and famous. The book includes quotes from letters that were sent from some of these passengers at the last stop before setting out across the Atlantic. You can even read about the dogs they had on board.

Second class included many pastors and churchman and mostly what we would consider middle class.

Third class passengers included many, many large families. Some entire families were lost in the sinking. This was sometimes the result of their unwillingness to separate.

There is a chapter describing the officers and crew. Davenport-Hines tells about their homes, their work load and their pay. Some of the crew had been transferred to the Titanic because of a coal strike which kept some ships from sailing.

Davenport-Hines does an excellent job of setting the scene for the collision with the iceberg and the mistakes made before and after the collision. He conveys a sense of the panic and terror felt by the passengers and describes the ship's last hours. The tragedy of the sinking and loss of life was compounded by numerous false reports that circulated and reported that all passengers had been saved.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning more about the Titanic and especially for anyone interested in learning about the passengers. ( )
1 vote EMYeak | Sep 17, 2012 |
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For Patric Dickinson and David Kynaston,
and for the gentle memory of Cosmo Davenport-Hines
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From Greenland's Icy Mountains
There were no witnesses. It didn't look like a moment from history.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0061876844, Hardcover)

Late in the night of April 14, 1912, the mighty Titanic, a passenger liner traveling from Southampton, England, to New York City, struck an iceberg four hundred miles south of Newfoundland. Its sinking over the next two and a half hours brought the ship—mythological in name and size—one hundred years of infamy.

Of the 2,240 people aboard the ship, 1,517 perished either by drowning or by freezing to death in the frigid North Atlantic waters. What followed the disaster was tantamount to a worldwide outpouring of grief: In New York, Paris, London, and other major cities, people lined the streets and crowded around the offices of the White Star Line, the Titanic’s shipping company, to inquire for news of their loved ones and for details about the lives of some of the famous people of their time.

While many accounts of the Titanic’s voyage focus on the technical or mechanical aspects of why the ship sank, Voyagers of the Titanic follows the stories of the men, women, and children whose lives intersected on the vessel’s fateful last day, covering the full range of first, second, and third class­—from plutocrats and captains of industry to cobblers and tailors looking for a better life in America.

Richard Davenport-Hines delves into the fascinating lives of those who ate, drank, reveled, dreamed, and died aboard the mythic ship: from John Jacob Astor IV, the wealthiest person on board, whose comportment that night was subject to speculation and gossip for years after the event, to Archibald Butt, the much-beloved military aide to Theodore Roosevelt and William Taft, who died helping others into the Titanic’s few lifeboats. With magnificent prose, Voyagers of the Titanic also brings to life the untold stories of the ship’s middle and third classes—clergymen, teachers, hoteliers, engineers, shopkeepers, counterjumpers, and clerks—each of whom had a story that not only illuminates the fascinating ship but also the times in which it sailed. In addition, Davenport-Hines explores the fascinating politics behind the Titanic’s creation, which involved larger-than-life figures such as J. P. Morgan, the ship’s owner, and Lord Pirrie, the ship’s builder.

The memory of this tragedy still remains a part of the American psyche and Voyagers of the Titanic brings that clear night back to us with all of its drama and pathos.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:23:10 -0400)

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Published to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, a history accompanied by black-and-white photos focuses on the passengers and illuminates the heroism, sacrifice, hope and love that emerged from the tragedy.

(summary from another edition)

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