On the 100th anniversary of the Titanic's sinking, a prominent Titanic researcher offers a final chance to see the ship before it disappears forever.
The Titanic was the biggest, most luxurious passenger ship the world had ever seen; the ads proclaimed it to be unsinkable. When it sank in April 1912 after hitting an iceberg, killing more than 1,500 people, the world was forever changed and the public has been spellbound ever since. Now, a century later, the Titanic is about to disappear again: its infrastructure is set to collapse in the next few years. In this book, scientist Charles Pellegrino offers what may be the last opportunity to see the ship before it is lost to the seas for eternity. The last book to be written while survivors were still alive and able to contribute details, Farewell, Titanic includes many untold stories about the sinking and exploration of the unsinkable ship.
©2012 Charles Pellegrino (P)2014 Audible, Inc.
I love Charles Pellegrino's books, and have particularly enjoyed the Titanic books. If you haven't read some of these other books, you'll be surprised when you learn the tie-ins with 9-11 and the collapse of the World Trade towers. The physics of destruction had many common features with the two disasters.
I especially liked that this book reflected some of the latest revelations about Titanic trivia and history. Edith Russell's toy pig was a good luck charm, not just grabbed on a whim when she left her stateroom for the last time. Among her preparations for leaving were multiple slugs of whiskey, and she left the final drink in the glass holder, untouched. The weight of the liquor held the glass in place as the Titanic shook and tilted on her trip to the ocean floor. Generations later, that glass sits in its place in her stateroom, unbroken.
The Titanic crew took a poor approach to managing the disaster, and only Murdock really responded in a positive manner that saved lives. The "women and children only" edict resulted in partly-filled lifeboats that took forever to load, and the officers were also concerned that the boats were not sturdy enough to be lowered when fully loaded.
There are new characters to meet, including a Japanese efficiency expert who was traveling in second class. He was not allowed to buy a first class ticket because he was not white. He survived, though he was later vilified when people thought he'd dressed as a woman to get into a boat. In truth, the officer overseeing the loading had sent him into the boat as a rower. There was also a story that a Chinese individual had gotten in a boat by trickery and acted in an insulting manner to the first class ladies who were already aboard. This resulted in vigilante behavior toward the Japanese man, and the mistaken identity followed him for the rest of his life.
Chief Baker Charles Joughin knew he would die in this wreck. The ship's doctor advised him to drink heavily and be insensible when the cold waters closed over him for the last time. Meanwhile he drank and helped get people into the boats. He helped package food and water for the boats at a time when the story was "we'll all be back on the ship for breakfast, folks, don't bother to take anything." He knew better. When the ship went down, he made it to a piece of floating wreckage, getting only partially wet, and survived. Suffering from hypothermia, he had the kitchen crew on the Carpathia put him into a warm oven. That should have killed him, as rapid rewarming is now considered too hard on the heart. Joughin survived rewarming and became a near-comic character in "A Night to Remember."
Only one first class child died. No third class (immigrant class) children survived.
The actions of second mate Lightoller contributed to the failure of the evacuation and the high death toll. He did redeem himself in later years, particularly at Dunkirk, where he sailed his own yacht back and forth to bring trapped soldiers off the beach in France.
The seas were flat calm that night in April. Had there been a light chop, the bioluminescent creatures of the Atlantic would have helped the lookouts spot the deadly ice ahead. There would have been little glimmers and flashes caused by the animal life being disturbed by the motion of the water. This is why the ship's wakes glow in certain conditions.
Captain Smith and his crew knew there was ice ahead. The decision, none the less, was still "go faster!" A coal bunker fire was barely managed, but the goal of setting a record Atlantic crossing was more important.
She reached the sea floor in record time...
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