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The Night Lives On: The Untold Stories &…

The Night Lives On: The Untold Stories & Secrets Behind the Sinking of the… (1986)

by Walter Lord

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This book is a fascinating look at all of the mysteries and "what if's" of the Titanic tragedy. It was written by the same author as "A Night to Remember," only it was written around 20 years later-- after the discovery of the sunken ship. The author is a true Titanic historian and sifts through the TONS of material available on the topic. However, the organization of the book is a bit jarring. Rather than telling the story in chronological order, he organizes it by topics. For example, there is a chapter dedicated to the band, another to the Captain, another to the gash in the ship made by the iceberg. While this organizations makes sense and groups all of the available data on each of these topics together, it is also a bit redundant since several of the topics overlap. The last few hours that the ship was afloat are relived over and over again while examining all of the different angles of the story. In addition, the book sort-of fizzles out at the end.

Overall, the book was a fascinating and educational look at the Titanic tragedy, and I would recommend it to other readers. ( )
  HSContino | May 20, 2016 |
The Untold Stories & Secrets Behind the Sinking of the Unsinkable Ship-Titanic. The most awesome ocean-going vessel the world had ever seen, the mightly TITANIC struck an iceberg and sank on the night of April 14, 1912, carrying more than 1500 souls--and uncountable secrets--to the icy bottom of the mid-Atlantic. Why did the crew steam full speed ahead into dangerous waters despite six wireless warnings? How able was the doomed behemoth's "superb seaman" Captain Smith? Why did the nearby ship Californian ignore Titanic's distress... ( )
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  Tutter | Feb 21, 2015 |
An excellent book - very different from "A Night To Remember," but as valuable and as well-done. This book focuses more on the mechanics and technology of the disaster. Lord told the human side of the story better than anyone in his first book. Here he is much more clinical - citing chapter and verse from the hearings, the memoirs, the statements, every source he could find.

He corrects some mis-statements and misconceptions he inadvertently passed on in his first book. He devotes an entire chapter to the musicians (always one of my favorite parts of the story), and spends some time on the captain of the Carpathia. He bases one chapter on the world of the steerage patients by focusing on a family named Goodwin, parents and six children, who were all lost. He is quite a bit less in awe of Captain Smith - and seems more willing to believe the man could be guilty of "a certain slackness." And of course, he includes a lot of material about Robert Ballard, and his 1985 discovery of the Titanic wreck. ( )
2 vote MerryMary | Jun 1, 2009 |
This is a fun book to read when you have nothing else. I liked it overall. ( )
  TheTeri | Jan 27, 2008 |
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For J. Frank Supplee IV
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Just 20 minutes short of midnight, April 14, 1912, the great new White Star Liner Titanic, making her maiden voyage from Southampton to New York, had a rendezvous with ice in the calm, dark waters of the North Atlantic.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0380732033, Mass Market Paperback)

You might say that Walter Lord provoked the whole Titanic mania by interviewing dozens of survivors and fashioning their reminiscences into the classic non-fiction novel A Night to Remember, which was made into a 1958 film that heavily influenced James Cameron's 1998 epic. Some of the dialogue is more vivid than the 1998 film--when a kid sees the deadly iceberg, he says excitedly, "Oh, Muddie, look at the beautiful North Pole with no Santa Claus on it."

But much has been discovered since Lord's original book made waves--such as the shipwreck itself, and a wealth of scientific inquiry. So he wrote this semisequel, which tackles each of the remaining mysteries about the unnecessary calamity in a methodical, but quite readable, fashion. How come the wireless operators blew it so fatally? Maybe they would have had better operators if they paid them more than $5 a week--as Lord notes, it would have taken a wireless operator 18 years to earn one transatlantic ticket. How come the Californian just sat there in nearby waters and neglected to save anyone on the frantically signaling and flare-firing Titanic? Lord quotes a man on the nonsinking ship admitting to "a certain amount of slackness," which he uses for a sardonic chapter title.

Some of the characters are more sympathetic, such as Renee Harris, who used the money she won suing the Titanic owners for her husband's death to bankroll neophyte playwright Moss Hart's first show. Lord says that Hart's memoir, Act One, depicts Harris reacting to an opening-night flop with optimism. After you've survived the Titanic, what's to worry?

Walter Lord has gotten better reviews, and he needn't fret about his reputation. The Pulitzer Prize-winning historian Barbara Tuchman, author of A Distant Mirror, had this reaction to Night Lives On: "Stunning ... his detection and discoveries make a first-class historical reconstruction and a model in the research and writing of that difficult art." --Tim Appelo

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:21 -0400)

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Contains new thoughts, theories, and revelations about the Titanic.

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