After every disaster, someone has something to hide....
A few minutes before midnight on April 14, 1912, the "unsinkable" RMS Titanic, on her maiden voyage to New York, struck an iceberg. Less than three hours later she lay at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. While the world has remained fascinated by the tragedy, the most amazing drama of those fateful hours was not played out aboard the doomed liner. It took place on the decks of two other ships, one 58 miles distant from the sinking Titanic, the other barely 10 miles away. The masters of the steamships Carpathia and Californian, Captain Arthur Rostron and Captain Stanley Lord, were informed within minutes of each other that their vessels had picked up the distress signals of a sinking ship. Their actions in the hours and days that followed would become the stuff of legend, as one would choose to take his ship into dangerous waters to answer the call for help, while the other would decide that the hazard to himself and his command was too great to risk responding.
After years of research, Daniel Allen Butler now tells this incredible story, moving from ship to ship on the icy waters of the North Atlantic - in real time - to recount how hundreds of people could have been rescued, but in the end only a few outside of the meager lifeboats were saved. He then looks alike at the U.S. Senate investigation in Washington, and ultimately the British Board of Trade inquiry in London, where the actions of each captain are probed, questioned, and judged, until the truth of what actually happened aboard the Titanic, the Carpathia and the Californian is revealed.
Daniel Allen Butler, a maritime and military historian, is the best-selling author of "Unsinkable": The Full Story of RMS Titanic, Distant Victory: The Battle of Jutland and the Allied Triumph in the First World War, and The First Jihad: The Battle for Khartoum and the Dawn of Militant Islam. He is an internationally recognized authority on maritime subjects and a popular guest-speaker for several cruise lines. Butler lives and works in Los Angeles, California.
©2009 Daniel Allen Butler (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
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This book was very informative!
I’ve read many books about the Titanic, and I liked this one because of the “fresh” angle it provided: The story of the Carpathia and the California.
If knew about the [miss]adventures of California before, it’s hard to imagine that I forgot all about it – it was quite shocking!
I enjoyed it until about ¾ of the way in, and then the book became too try and textbook for me – it’s as if I got all the info I wanted and then was just dragging it out to the finish; despite that, I still recommend it because I feel like I learned something new.
This read is well worth the price or credit! I enjoy nonfiction which is factual and moving at a pace to keep my interest. This exceeded my expectations. All of the horrific truth about the tragedy of the Titanic was told in a very humane narrative, but also how other factors interceded with the tragic event which left me stunned. There were times when I wanted to weep.
I have edited 38 national best sellers and had a writing fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities.
So how did those 700+ survivors get out of the water and back to land? This is silly, but I never thought about it. I'm guessing you had. This fascinating book details the rescue and the quick thinking of the captain of the Carpathia, the ocean liner that turned around and, full speed ahead, plowed through fifty-plus miles of the icy North Atlantic to save as many wretched souls as he could.
In contrast, however, was the response of the captain of the Californian, a steamer fewer than ten miles from the Titanic. He did nothing. His officers reported seeing distress flares launched one after another from the Titanic into the clear night sky. But Captain Lord stayed in the Californian's chart room and went back to sleep.
The author makes clear that had the Californian gone immediately to the scene of the disaster, not everyone floundering in the 28-degree water would have been saved, but hundreds more would have survived. A Senate investigation followed as soon as the Carpathia and the Californian reached New York. Survivors and crew from the Titanic testified, as did the captain and crew of the Carpathia and the Californian. When those ships returned to England, a formal investigation was conducted there, too. The author describes the dramatic hearings where the awful truth about Captain Lord finally comes out.
This was a wrenching book. It makes the Titanic's catastrophic sinking even more tragic than it already was. Between the covers I found a new hero, the captain of the Carpathia, who gives proof to how magnificent we humans can be. But I also met a monster who evidences a heart as cruel and cold as an iceberg.
I know have a better understanding of the Titanic, her fate, and her relationship with the two ships connected with her. Recommended for any who enjoy Titanic info.
An excellently researched and written book setting the clearest picture of the Titanic sinking. No other book has set out such a clear picture and taken me on board each ship involved!!
Probably like everyone else, Cpt. Rostron. I had no idea what a hero this man was.
When Rostron learns the Titanic is sinking & tries to do the impossible.
It made me gasp - the author obviously has an agenda (I'll try not to spoil it) but the amount of detail, the excitement of the sinking, and the hearings about which I knew nothing, were thrilling.
Other sources tell me that this is a rather one-sided book, so I'll be reading more about the three captains to try to get a more rounded experience. But just for learning about events this was an incredible book.
I love listening to books when cycling, paddleboarding, etc but I press pause when I need to concentrate. Its safer & I don't lose the plot!
This is a good, solid, interesting, popular history book. It isn’t ground-breaking or particularly original, and it didn’t change my life or massively alter my outlook on anything, but I enjoyed it from start to finish and I guess I learnt something.
It’s the story of the captains of the two ships nearest to the Titanic when it struck an iceberg and began to sink. One of these captains, Captain Rostron of the Carpathia, mobilised all possible resources to steam as fast as possible (through an ice field) to the location of the stricken ship. The other captain, the infamous Stanley Lord, Master of the Californian, bizarrely and inexplicably ignored the Titanic’s distress signals and stayed put. He was closer to the Titanic than his counterpart on the Carpathia, and his inaction may have cost hundreds of lives.
The book acknowledges that Titanic’s Captain caused the disaster by failing to slow down and post extra look-outs as the ship headed into the ice-field, but the action focuses mainly on what happened after the Titanic struck the iceberg, when the captain of the Californian did nothing to prevent so many people from drowning in the freezing North Atlantic Ocean.
The narrator has a good voice and style, but I am getting a bit tired of professional narrators who make countless pronunciation errors. You would think that this sort of thing would be routinely checked and corrected. I know it’s pedantic, bit I do find it distracting when the narrative is punctuated by frequent mispronunciations.
I have not read the print version, but my guess would be that the audio version is better. I really enjoyed the narrator. I think his narration helped to draw me into the events and helped the book come alive.
This audio book brought to light several aspects of the Titanic disaster and that time of history that I was not aware of. I found it very interesting and informative. I greatly enjoyed it and would recommend it. The very beginning seemed a bit slow, but it soon gets into the main part of the action.
I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 because sometimes it would take me a minute to figure out when and where we were when the tale switched focus. It was also a lot of people to keep up with so for an audio book it would help if they would make more of an announcement of focus changes or reminders of people when they haven't been mentioned for several chapters. Of course, this could just be me. I listen while cleaning and am often interrupted so I am a distracted listener.
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