|CLASSIC DIVE BOOKS
The loss and discovery of the "Titanic".
|Please note: The books are listed for collectors interest only, and not offered for sale.|
|This is not by any means
meant to be a definite list of books on the Titanic.
The amount of information available on the internet referencing the Titanic is enormous, so somewhere lies a complete bibliography. May as well add a few more bytes to the mass. The books added here are of particular interest to me, and tend to offer something unique.
I have a very tenuous link to the Titanic. My grandfather was appointed head chef at the Parisien Cafe on the Titanic. He was a top Swiss chef in London and Dublin, and had worked the liners as well with the NDL and White Star Line. However, the Titanic's initial departure was delayed by some days, during which time the White Star Line transfered Pop to the Baltic. The rest is history. But I am sure he would have survived. After all, he was Swiss! See below.
The Titanic was wrecked in the northern Atlantic on 14 April 1912 when it struck an iceberg. Surely you know this - haven't you seen the film?
Titles listed in chronological order of date of publication. See also author Robert Ballard.
Note: The most recent book published on the Titanic (as of September 2010), is called Good as Gold, a novel by the grand-daughter of Second Officer Charles Lightoller, Lady Louise Patten. Lady Patten has 'revealed' the real reason why the Titanic sank; it appears that the Titanic had plenty of time to avoid the iceberg but the helmsman simply turned the wheel the wrong way. Can you believe that ???? Why Lady Patten should be so priviledged to have such astounding information I have no idea, but she states that her grandfather did not want to tell the world why the Titanic really sank because it would bankrupt the shipping company. Now, the confusion arose, apparently, because of the order given by First Office William Murdoch to the helmsman was misunderstood by the man at the wheel. You see, in those days, an order of hard-to-starboard actually mean that you wanted the ship to turn to port, and thus in order for the ship to turn to port (left), the helmsman would turn the wheel to port. But the helmsman, according to Lady Patten, turned the wheel, literally, "hard to starboard" thus swinging the ship to starboard (right), and into the iceberg. To understand why there is confusion about this today, we have to go back to the early days of sailing, where a boat/ship was steered by a tiller. By turning a tiller 'hard to starboard', the boat would swing to port. This "hard-to" call was still in effect even after ship's (steering) wheels were introduced, and was in effect when the Titanic sailed on her fateful journey. Thus First Office Murdoch gave the right command but, according to Lady Patten, the helmsman made an error and turned to wheel to starboard. There is no doubt that this could possibly have happened, but I cannot accept that a helmsman on the Titanic, on her important maiden voyage, would be so inexperienced to make that error. And indeed, if this interpretation of the command was not the rule of the day, why would even an inexperienced helsman make the error? Interestingly, and for obvious reasons, the command rule was changed soon after the loss of the Titanic (because of her loss I am not too sure), and now a command of hard-to-starboard means to turn the ship to starboard.
|THE WRECK OF THE TITAN
- A Nineteenth Century ProphesyPJS
First published as FUTILITY in the United States, 1898.
This edition published Great Britain by Pocket Books, 1998. (An imprint of Simon and Shuster Ltd, London, Sydney. CIP British Library 0-617-01819-1
From the introduction to the book:
The Wreck of the Titan was published under the title Futility in 1898. It eerily prefigures the Titanic disaster and reflects many of the themes that make so many people today hungry for details. The author anticipated so many specifics - the watertight compartments, the length of the vessel, the iceberg and even the name of the ship - that some commentators have found it hard to dismiss as weird coincidence. But he also wrote a story of strange intensity that stands up well in its own right. For him, writing at the end of the Victorian era, the unsinkable Titan is a symbol of hubris. It represents the triumph of the mechanical. In one extraordinary episode the protagonist, feverish with despair and alcohol and unknowingly poisoned with hashish (hemp at that time not being illegal) rails against God and the universe. Where, he wonders, in a world controlled by the laws of motion and inhabited by creatures resulting from the blind workings of evolution, is there room for altruism, goodness and God? The author expressed his own preoccupations and those of his time with almost hallucinatory power. However, there is another unappealing way in which he unquestioningly accepted the attitudes that prevailed in many circles at the end of the nineteenth century. His portrait of Meyer is a grotesque anti-Semitic caricature which grates offensively upon the modern sensibility. But an historical document is a product of man, moment and milieu and to edit it for today's values is to tell lies about its nature. It is a blemish on a story that otherwise remains compelling. Morgan Robertson grew up at a time when Britain controlled a quarter of the world. He had a robust Yankee disdain for the imperial British, who are notably shifty. The decision of the British captain not to stop when his huge ship destroys a small sailing vessel - an accident that is emblematic of the tension between mechanical and natural forces - precipitates the whole ghastly tragedy. For late Victorian readers the image of a wind-powered ship being mown down in the fog by the indifferent colossus of the steam age would have been a frightening reminder of how quickly their world was changing. Morgan Robertson was unembarrassed about writing a novel (or, more precisely, a novella) of ideas. Surprisingly, those ideas which underpin the narrative are still just as potent today. The Wreck of the Titan is more than a curiosity; it is a compelling story. As for its uncanny prescience about the Titanic, nobody can say for sure whether that is a bizarre series of coincidences or whether something altogether more mysterious was at work.
The story itself was written
by Morgan Robertson and published by M.F. Mansfield in 1898 as Futility.
It was republished in 1912 by McClure' s Magazine and Metropolitan Magazine
of New York and, with obvious reference to the Titanic disaster the same
year, renamed The Wreck of the Titan. As for the author, he was the son
of a Great Lakes captain. Born on 30 September, 1861 in Oswega, New York,
who ran away to serve in the merchant marine at the age of sixteen. He
was soon travelling the world, and by the time he left the sea in 1886,
he had obtained the papers of First Mate. Although Robertson only completed
a high school education, it is clear from this literary work that he was
a man . of intellect. His consideration of nineteenth-century ethics and
inadequate maritime regulations and shipping policies shows foresight in
what was to come. It is strange to consider why a fictional piece of work
such as this fascinates enthusiasts more than any other written on the
Titanic disaster itself. Only the reader can decide whether the story was
a psychic premonition ,or merely Robertson's theory of what could happen
if changes were not made to the antiquated shipping laws and regulations.
Morgan Robertson died on 14 March, 1915 in Atlantic City. It is fitting
to note that he was found in front of an open window, gazing out to sea.
AND SINKING OF THE TITANIC
The Oceans's Greatest Diasaster.
A Graphic and Threilling Account of the Sinking of the greatest Floating Palace ever built, carrying down to watery graves more than 1,500 souls. Giving Exciting Escapes from death and acts of heroism not equalled in ancient or modern times, told by THE SURVIVORS Including History of Icebergs, the Terror of the Seas; Wireless Telegraphy and Modern Shipbuilding.
Edited by Marshall Everett, The Great Descriptive Writer. Special Introudcution, "Women and Children First", by Rev. Henry Van Dyke, D.D.,LL.D.
Title on cover: STORY OF THE WRECK OF THE TITANIC The Oceans Greatest Disaster.
Hardcover, illustrated boards (mono photo-like image of lifeboards with ship going down in background), 320 pages, photographs, comprehensive list of the dead as appendix, interesting graphs of rescued/died, by passenger class. The illustraation is pasted on the board cover which is of green cloth and 'gold' (actually bronze I believe) lettering.
There have been many books written on this most famous shipwreck, this being one of the first - probably the first. There is no specific date of publication, but there is the indication, 'Copywright 1912, by L.H.Walter'. There is no publisher indicated, but the book was published by L.H.Walter of (probably) New York. The cover also includes, "NEARER MY GOD TO THEE" at the top, and "MEMORIAL EDITION", " at the bottom.
The book is well illustrated, with rather good photographs of several important people on board, the ship, rescued passengers; and drawing. [ps]
STORY OF THE WRECK OF
|THE LOSS OF
THE SS. TITANIC
Published by Houghten-Mifflin Co., Boston and New York
Riverside Press Cambridge published June 1912
OF THE TITANIC
Hardcover, 350 pages, 32 pages of illustrations.Size 6.5 x 9 inches.
|A NIGHT TO REMEMBER
First published in USA by Manor Books, Inc, 1974.
Nell paperback edition (as shown), 1976.
Paperback, 287 pages, mono prints, index.
Very well written; reads better than Walter Lord. Of its historic accuracy I cannot judge, but appears on the surface to be factual, and no doubt more up-to-date than Lord.
STORY OF THE TITANIC AS TOLD BY ITS SURVIVORS
Edited by Jack Winocour.
Dover Publications Inc. New York, 1960
Softcover, 320 pages plus 20 pages of Dover books catalog. A few mono photographs not well printed on the porous paper. Was there a hardcover edition?
This is in fact a reprint of four significant ‘Titanic books', in the one volume; a great idea.
The books are: The Loss of the S.S.Titanic - The Story and Its Lesson, by Lawrence Beesley; The Truth About the Titanic by Colonel Archibald Graciel; Titanic by Commander Lightoller; and The Thrilling Tale by Titanic's Surviving Wireless Man from the New York Times, April 28, 1912, by Harold Bride.
From the book: Why does the sinking of the Titanic hold such fascination for us? There have been worse disasters at sea, but none has ever approached the interest aroused by the death of this ship. Even today, nearly 65 years afterward, the Titanic is an exceedingly popular subject for conversation, films, and books. Many reasons have been advanced for the continuing fascination of this epic tragedy, but none, we think, can contribute as much to an understanding of it as the four accounts collected in this volume. All four authors were survivors, and their stories contain the subjective truth that only men actually involved in such an event can convey. Each presents the catastrophe from his own viewpoint, and the icy waters, the cries of the drowning, the confusion and the heroism, are given an intensely personal immediacy. These are the stories, not simply of what happened, but how it looked and felt and sounded to those whose lives were at stake. This volume contains, complete and unabridged, "The Loss of the S.S. Titanic," by Lawrence Beesley, and "The Truth about the Titanic," by Col. Archibald Gracie. Both are full-length books published soon after the disaster. Each has become extremely rare today. The third story in this volume, "Titanic," was written by the only officer to survive the catastrophe, Commander Lightoller. It consists of a long excerpt from his autobiography, and includes the story of the "whitewashing" inquiries into the Titanic's safety measures. This is the first publication in America of these excerpts. The last section is a dramatic tale by the Titanic's surviving wireless operator, Harold Bride. His story first appeared as a newspaper article, and is receiving its first publication in book form. [ps]
|VOYAGE OF THE ICEBERG
The Story of the Iceberg That Sank the Titanic.
James lomier & Co.,Toronto. 1983. ISBN 0-88862-656-8.
Hardcover, dustjacket, 152 pages, mono photographs, drawings.
Well, this is a novel approach to the story of the Titanic. It reads as one would of a collision between two ships, the history of each given in detail before that dreadful moment of impact. But in this case, the other 'ship' is of course a block of ice. The author combines a mercifully brief background on the Titanic - after all, it has been done to death - with the 'life' of the iceberg as it break away from the grip of the land and floats into history. Quite a fascinating book.
From the fly:
There is only one Iceberg that has gripped the imagination of the world, one Iceberg that has humbled the arrogance of men who believe in technology; one Iceberg that tells us of the wonders and dangers of the North Atlantic Ocean. That Iceberg sank the Titanic. This remarkable book tells the story of that Iceberg's journey from the day it was "calved" into Baffin Bay until it crippled the Titanic eighteen months later. Richard Brown's quiet, compelling prose describes the rich natural and human world through which the Iceberg travelled. It is the story of the Sierapaluk, the one surviving band of Inuit in the far northwest corner of Greenland, facing a life so harsh that the elderly simply wander off to die when food runs short; of the last surviving bowhead whale, a sixty-foot giant whose massive tail every whaler in the North Water fears; of men like Osbert Clare Forsyth-Grant, a buccaneering Scot who takes enormous risks with his ship and crew on the arctic ice - and pays for it with his life; and of the outport men who stream to St. John's each winter, pleading for a berth on the sealing ships and a chance to strike it rich on ‘The Main Patch.' Through these lives, and many more, the Iceberg passes on its way to the Grand Banks and its fateful meeting with the Titanic. The two brush past each other on the night of April 14, 1912. The Iceberg drifts on, drawn towards the warm waters of the Gulf Stream where its journey will finally end. The Titanic ends its maiden voyage that night- as it sinks into the icy waters of the North Atlantic, taking fifteen hundred men, women and children to their deaths. As a stunned world struggles to recover from the shock of this unprecedented disaster, another berg breaks off in . Jacobshavn Ice Fiord and drifts out towards Baffin Bay. And so, the voyage of the Iceberg begins again. . .
THE OLD CANOE - A CULTURAL HISTORY OF THE TITANIC DISASTER
|FATHER BROWNE'S TITANIC
A Passenger's Photographic and Personal Memoir.
Wolfhound Press, Dublin, 1997. ISBN 0 86327 598 2.
Hardcover, dustjacket, 120 pages, large mono prints, index.
This is an extremely valuable and wonderful collection as it documents the last photphrpahs of the Titanic before her fateful voyage. The fly tells it all:
A unique and major book about the Titanic's tragic inaugural voyage, by one of this century's great photographers. For many historians of the Titanic, Father Browne's importance is due to the fact that he disembarked from the liner in Cork Harbour with the largest extant collection of pictures taken on board. Some of these photographs of the liner and her passengers appeared on the front pages of the world's newspapers reporting the sinking of the ship in 1912, with the loss of over 1,500 lives. However, in the past two decades with the rediscovery of his 42,000 negatives and the publication of ten volumes of his photographs, Father Browne's reputation as a photographer has received a major boost. One commentator states that he is 'one of the greatest photographers of the first half of this century'; another describes him as 'the Irish Cartier-Bresson'. This new book relates the story of his Titanic voyage. It uses the photographs, most of them pre- viously unpublished, from his personal album. Put together by Father Browne himself, the album is an invaluable archival treasure. This book includes facsimile reproductions from that album, enlarge- ments of the photographs of the Titanic and her passengers, and additional photographs relating to the liner and to her departure from Southampton, her voyage to Cherbourg and her arrival at Queenstown (now Cobh) in county Cork, Ireland. Together, these photographs tell the full story of the great ship's voyage up to her departure from her final port of call before disaster struck. In addition, Father Browne's own account of his journey, previously only privately published, is included along with some intriguing memorabilia, including correspondence from the White Star Line and from fellow passengers, plus his fifteen - verse poem, 'In Memoriam', never previously published. Father Browne's menu card, telegrams, and press cuttings add further interest.
[ps] Highly recommended. It was still in print in 2003. Wolfhound Press are at 68 Mountjoy Square, Dublin 1, Ireland.
The Untold Story of the Sinking and Finding of the Unsinkable Ship.
First published in Great Britain by Robert Hale Ltd, 1990.
Original hardcover, dustjacket. This softcover edition in 1998; 268 pages, mono plates, index, selected bibliography.
The blurb tells us that the book was used by James Cameron for the film 'Titanic'. Walter Lord suggests that the book is 'Impressionistic. Surrealistic ... like walking through a Stanley Kubrick film'. That I can relate to as it is as difficult to read as it is in understanding '2001:A Space Odessey', and 'A Clockwork Orange'. I find Pellegrino's style to be somewhat pretentious, with an attempt at being sensationalist - yes, impressionistic and surrealistic. He seems to write for himself, not for the reader. What he describes in the book is interesting, but, I found nothing new with respect to the sinking of the vessel (so I wonder what James Cameron found so important); the finding of the wreck and the subsequent dives are interesting. He gives great credit to Robert Ballard, justifyably so no doubt, but does so in a somewhat condescending and over-flattering way that makes you wonder what these two got up to in the cabin. The chapters alternate from the sinking, to the finding, to the diving, and back again, which I found quite annoying, but maybe thats the modern style. Arthur C. Clarke remarks (on the cover blurb) that it "... often moved me to tears". Me too, but for other reasons. And Stephen King says that it is 'hypnotic'. Well, it certainly put me to sleep many nights. The blurb further suggests that this is a 'spellbinding work of oceanography'. The oceanography was indeed spellbinding, but not the book. [ps]
The Memoirs of Violet Jessop - Stewaerdess.
Intorudced, edited and annotated by John Maxtone-Graham.
First published by Sheridan House Inc., New York, 1997.
Published in Australia 1998 by Boronia Press, Campbell, ACT. ISBN 0 646-35277-6.
Softcovr, 239 pages, mono prints, index.
(Probably initially published in hardcover).
The author is one of the few people in the world to survive two major shipwrecks - the Titanic, and later, the Britannic. This is truly valuable book in th huge bibliography on th Titanic, offering a first hand account of events, and the life of a truly remarkable woman.
DINNER ON THE TITANIC.
Menus and Recipes from the Great Liner
Rick Archbold, Dana McCauley
Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson. United Kingdom, 1997. ISBN: 0297818406
Hardback, softcover I believe, 144 pages; 100 illustrations. Dimensions: 21.0 x 24.0 centimeters.
This is a collection of over 60 recipes which featured on the "Titanic"'s menus.
|GHOSTS OF THE ABYSS
A Journey into the Heart of the Titanic
By Don Lynch, Ken Marschall, James Cameron, James Cameron. [Wot! No Ballard??]
Hardcover, 144 pages, Expanded Edition; 300 colour illustrations. Dimensions: 26.42 x 26.77 x 2.13 cm.
Da Capo Press, USA, 2003.
From a promotional review: A breathtakingly illustrated true tale of adventure and discovery to tie in with a groundbreaking new 3-D large-screen movie from the director-producer of Titanic. . In the late summer of 2001, James Cameron, the director-producer of the highest-grossing picture in Hollywood history, led a new deep-diving expedition to the wreck of the lost liner Titanic. With him was a team of underwater explorers that included the artist Ken Marschall, the historian Don Lynch, and two actors from the movie, Bill Paxton and Lewis Abernathy (who played Brock Lovett and Lewis Bodine). Their equipment included state-of-the-art digital 3D cameras, a pair of Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs), and a specially built deep-water lighting platform that illuminated the fabled ship as never before. In a series of historic dives they filmed deep inside the ghostly liner, obtaining haunting, never-before-seen images. In spring 2003, this remarkable journey into the heart of the Titanic will be presented coast-to-coast in a digital 3D giant screen film, Ghosts of the Abyss. For those who will be drawn anew to the story of the Titanic, as well as for those who have never stopped being fascinated by the ship's tragic fate, James Cameron's "Ghosts of the Abyss" will be a revelation in pictures and words. Cameron compellingly describes just what keeps him returning to the Titanic, and the meticulous journals kept during the dives form a dramatic adventure narrative. But what will truly astonish are new, incredibly vivid images from within the ship's staterooms and public rooms, matched with archival images from 1912 and new paintings and diagrams-a "then-and-now gallery" that captures as never before the history, the drama, and the legend of the Titanic.
|TITANIC'S LAST SECRETS
The Further Adventures of Shadow Divers John Chatterton and Richie Kohler.
Published by Hachette Book Group, New York, 2008.
Softcover, 324 pages, index, bibliography, notes, a few mono photographs.
The author is well know and appreciated for his many previous publications and television productions related to the sea. At first glance at the title and sub-title you would be forgiven for thinking that this is a novel in the vein of Clive Cussler' adventurous Dirk Pitt, but I think the author is taking it seriously. The back cover blurb states that ôAfter their celebrated exploration of a sunken Nazi U-boat off the coast of New Jersey, Shadow Divers John Chatterton and Richie Kohler now take on the investigation of 'the world's most notorious shipwreck'. That interesting episode in the lives of the two divers was not without controversy but we wont go into that now as I no little about it. But - the blurb continues - "or almost a century one vital question about the disaster has remained unanswered: Why did Titanic sink as quickly as it did? If the ship had remained afloat for just two hours longer, more than two thousand people would have survived on that infamous night in 1912". If I remember rightly, the Titanic hit an iceberg!. It grazed the iceberg to the extend that several compartments were breached, more than what could have kept her afloat, with the incoming volume of water sending her to the bottom within hours. If that is what Robert Ballard thinks, its good enough for me. Please don't tell me that the authors have discovered a pre-Nazi conspiracy! "In this riveting and controversial book (here we go again) "New evidence (is) found by Chatterton and Kohler in their own dives to the wreck of Titanic. Weaving his way through a labyrinth of clues and theories, the author reveals answers that are more shocking than anyone ever imagined." Yep, I think this must be a Dirk Pitt novel. [ps]
This travelling exhibition finally came to Melbourne in June 2010 and was still running as I write this, in August. Having a very loose family connection with the vessel, thru my grandaftrher, I had to see the exhibition of course. Whereas I was just that slightly disappointed at the paucity of the actual items on display. I must say it was wonderfully staged. The personal audio commentary was excellent - just enough on each exhibit to entertain and educate. The displays were very well done, especially that of the grand staircase (reproduction of course), and part of the actual hull of the ship.
|Because of the great interest in the exhibition, the Melbourne Museum quite sensibly restricted numbers at any one time, and it was necessary to book in to a program time. Once inside you could stay as long as you liked. Each entrant was given a 'boarding pass' with the name of a passenger. At the exit of the display you could consult a board and find out of you survived or not. Young Sam was disappointed that he did not. Of course we had to have our photo taken as a souvenir of the visit: merchandising seems to be an important part of such exhibitions but I must say that most of the items were rather ordinary kitch - just like our photo. All in all, it was very much a worthwhile exhibition.|
THE ARTIFACT EXHIBITION
Judith B. Geller.
The souvenier book, larger than A4, soft board covers, perfect bound, 50 pages, full colour, was produced for the Melbourne, Australia exhibition in 2010. It includes an introduction from three 'prominent' Victorian men involved in the exhibition which only serves to give the impression that the booklet is exclusive to the Melbourne exhibition, and a bit of kudos for them of course! But the copyright is RMS Titanic Inc, 2001, and the book has been reprinted six times since 2003 so you can draw your own conclusions. It is very well presented showing some of the artifacts raised, with photographs of where the item was on the ship. There is an excellent, brief, coverage of the design and building of the ship, with photographs. The book is very much 'people oriented' in that passengers and their luggage and personal effects are prominent. Not all the artifacts shown in the book were on display at Melbourne. I presume other exhibition would have found the same ommisions. Quite understandable of course as many thousands of items have now been raised.
|Just a bit of family interest. 'Pop' went on to become quite a famous chef, at the Savoy in London and Metropole in Dublin, and worked on several Atlantic and Australasian ships. It was no doubt on a visit to Sydney in the second decade of the 20th century that he decided that Australia would be a good place to live. He migrated with his wife Katrina and daughter Mina, in 1926.|
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