Bites

Published November 29, 2011.

Ever since that night, fact has merged with fiction about what really happened. Now, for the first time, Titanic expert and author Tim Maltin gathers together all the key elements surrounding the disaster and presents a fascinating, compulsive and accurate account of what really happened. Taking as his lead one hundred and one oft-quoted theories about the fateful night, Maltin uses eyewitness testimony to rigorously examine each one in chronological order, and in so doing tells the true story of the Titanic and the night she sank with the loss of 1,500 lives. (netgalley.com)

The sinking of the Titanic was one of the worst tragedies in modern history, evidenced by the fact that, as a whole, we’re still salivating over it 100 years later. We’re still eager for information about it, we want to know the people, we still want to learn things we didn’t know, and for some god awful reason, we want 1996’s Titanic starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet released in 3D. Apparently there isn’t a god.
But that’s besides the point. As a crazy Titanic enthusiast myself, having been reading about the ship since I was roughly eight, thus coming across new information is a pretty big rarity, it was refreshing reading 101 THINGS because it did shake some rumors and clear up some cloudy moments about the Titanic for me. Of course, and I say this not patting myself on the back but just as someone that’s done a shit-ton of Titanic reading, I already knew a lot of the stuff presented in this book. But that’s okay because I still got a kick out of it.
Really it’s all in the presentation. Maltin pulled right from the source, relying heavily on the transcripts from the hearings after the Carpathia docked in New York, and also from the hearings in London. It’s astounding to read words spoken by Lightoller about how sure he was that the Titanic didn’t break in half before sinking. I mean, he was SO sure. Of course, we now know that to not be the truth. And one of the pieces of information I didn’t know was that the Brits tried to whitewash the whole thing. Bad, Brits. Bad. Another piece of information I didn’t know: even if there were enough lifeboats to fit everyone on board, there weren’t enough able seamen to man them, thus rendering the boats useless. How’s that for a paradox. Really, those people were screwed anyway.
So there’s really something for all levels of Titanic interest in 101 THINGS. If I can find new information within these pages, then anyone can. And it’s told in a manner like you’d hear a good teacher talking about it. It’s not just information regurgitated back at you simply to get it out. It’s evident in the tone of the information that Maltin has a great interest in the Titanic and he’s enthusiastic about it. You can’t fake that so when you’re reading you, in turn, get enthusiastic about the information you’re given. You won’t be able to help it. It’s infectious.
101 THINGS would be especially wonderful for those just coming across the Titanic and wanting to know more about it. It’s the Cliff Notes version of what you can find scattered throughout the referential material floating out there. Definitely a good place to start. And it’s a good book to have to round out your Titanic knowledge. I can almost guarantee that there’ll be something in there that even the most interested Titanic aficionado might not know. So give it a whirl. You’ll be able to envision it all as you read. In this case, I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing, but it’s vivid. That’s for sure.


Ban Factor: Low – It’s a book of Titanic facts. What’s there to ban? Knowledge?

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