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If you’ve read as many books and seen as many documentaries about Titanic as I have, you’ll willingly add this book to your list.
It’s like a little collection of biographies of people whom you already know a little about. Having seen movies and TV series and documentaries, you’ll recognize most names and already have an understanding of how the main characters relate to one another. This book fleshes that out in more detail by providing additional background information and interesting facts about the key players’ lives.
Survivor’s recollections of the sinking itself were compelling, as well as the long cold wait for rescue. (Wouldn’t that make an interesting movie? A couple whose vacation plans are interrupted when their boat (The Carpathia) alters course to rescue Titanic survivors…).
I was not expecting to learn anything new, but I did! Not just trivia like how many napkins and nutcrackers and wine bottles were on board the Titanic (LOTS) but about how so many passengers were bound for Canada for example, and what their plans would have been had they survived the sinking.
The book also includes a lot of details of the days in New York just after the sinking; I found this the most interesting of all because this part of history is often overlooked. Attention is usually always focused on the boat, very little to the people left behind. I had no idea there were so many imposter-grievers! People pretending they lost loved ones in the sinking!!
The “what ever happened to” section at the end where we learn the long term fate of survivors is poignant (although a little ghoulish) because it exposes how an experience like this can impact a person deeply for life.
It was a great read – I highly recommend it.
I read this right after reading “The Berlin Wall: A World Divided, 1961-1989” by Frederick Taylor in the hopes that it would give me more of a people’s view rather then a politician’s view of life - and it did. I could have done without author’s story of how she went about writing the book itself, but still – I got what I wanted out of it and enjoyed it very much.
When WW2 ended, it wasn’t as if a switch was flipped and everyone in Europe went back to their old lives; the place was decimated!! We’ve all seen images of bombed-out cities; the hollow, barely recognizable shells of buildings stretching for miles and miles… multiply that by tens or hundreds of cities all across Europe – where are all the people! What did all the displaced peoples do? Where did they go? How did they rebuild?
This concept always intrigued me and I was happy to come across a book that explored it all in detail.
The first part of the book grabbed me right away, but by the time I was roughly half way through it was getting difficult to keep going. All the death and slaughter and annihilation and destruction, the worst of human nature in the need to seek revenge and retribution… it’s such a downer!!
I was not expecting rainbows and cheerful stories of communities who lived happily ever after, but after a while it was like my brain did not want to take in any more negativity or brutality and I started tuning out. I also found that the intricacies of all the sub-wars going on in Europe until well into the late 40s hard to follow – after a while I got confused and lost track of the details.
What I should have done is put the book aside at the mid-point, go read something else (something “fluffy”) and then come back to it.
I recommend this book if you are interested in the subject matter, but perhaps it’s better to read it in instalments!
Audible has changed my life! Dry , itchy eyes were destroying one of my greatest pleasures - reading. Now I am experiencing books again!
If you have ever been to or wanted to visit any of the great museums of the world, then you should read this and marvel!
It's a great book, but the real marvel is that we have never heard of this endeavor before. There are many stories of inspiration from WWII, and I think this ranks with the very best of them! It's the story of how we nearly lost most of the great and irreplaceable treasures of Western culture - and why that would have been a tragedy of unthinkable magnitude.
Of course, so many people died too. And, understandably perhaps, that story has been the focus of most books and movies about WWII. This book acknowledges that, but it also asks an important question about the role of art in the identity of nations.
Is any work of art worth a human life? Should military decisions include an attempt to preserve important cultural sites and works of art? These are questions well worth our consideration and "The Monuments Men" offers a terrific argument about why the answer should be "yes"! It was important in the past and should be in the future.
This book is fascinating! These people and their mission make for a "you couldn't make these things up", true and suspenseful story. The narrator does a great job.
I'll never again visit a museum without thinking about this book and the movie made from it. I know the movie didn't get great reviews, but it did bring to light a fantastic and hopeful story. Those who like books about history and/or art will enjoy both the filmed and audio versions.
This is important stuff!