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Publisher's Summary

On the terrifying, chaotic night of April 14, 1912, while the Titanic was sinking, Bruce J. Ismay, the ship's owner, made a decision that would save his life - and end it. Ismay boarded a lifeboat meant for women and children, and within days became The Most Talked-of Man in the World. Branded a coward, he became a flesh-and-blood embodiment of Joseph Conrad's legendary eponymous character, Lord Jim.

How to Survive the Titanic interweaves numerous historical accounts and sources with insights drawn from Conrad's novels. Unlike other survivors, this pivotal figure never again spoke about the Titanic. This intriguing history offers a sympathetic yet clear-eyed explanation of why - important lessons all of us need in order to survive the tragedies and choices of our own lives.

©2011 Frances Wilson (P)2011 Dreamscape Media

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Not especially uplifting, but quite good

Any additional comments?

The author did a good job pulling together quite a bit of different sources to describe what happened leading up to and following the sinking of the Titanic. This was a great story and look at J. Bruce Ismay's life. The story was fascination and mostly well told. It was a bit convoluted in parts and delved into aspects that seemed only tangentially related (e.g., there's a long section relating Ismay to a character in Conrad's "Lord Jim"), but overall I would rate it as entertaining and informative. It wasn't entirely satisfying in that one never really knows whether Ismay is a selfish bastard who took a spot in a lifeboat from one of the 1500 casualties OR if he was just an opportunist who jumped in one of the last boats to leave OR if he was the secret cause in his acting as superCaptain. It almost doesn't matter what the answer is since in trying to figure out the answer to this question one may actually have insight into one's own character and thoughts. Ultimately until and unless you're put in that situation I don't think it's possible to know what you would do and that may be one of the points of this book. Recommended.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Ismay's Titanic Story

If you could sum up How to Survive the Titanic in three words, what would they be?

What a story!

What other book might you compare How to Survive the Titanic to and why?

The Exceptional Life of Anne Boleyn- Anne's rise to fame and fortune was so fast and her fall even faster. She was made out to be someone she wasn't, her reputation was then questionable, and she was not solely responsible for the problems in Henry the VIII's court, yet she ended up the scapegoat, paying for it with her life.<br/>How to Survive the Titanic was similar in that J. Bruce Ismay was used as a scapegoat by the public, although he alone was not at fault for the disaster, which this book exposed.

What does Robin Sachs bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

A male British take on things....made it easier to comprehend.

What did you learn from How to Survive the Titanic that you would use in your daily life?

Had Ismay been more forthcoming & honest when describing events & occurrences, the public may have actually believed in him and sympathized/empathized with him. But because of his strict upbringing, he said as little as possible so as not to incriminate himself, or so he thought, and that had the exact opposite effect.<br/>Honesty and truthfulness should be used everyday and I do strive to maintain that quality. That way I can be true to myself.

Any additional comments?

Very, very interesting audiobook!! I think the very long chapter about James Conrad was TOO long....it deviated a bit too far from the Ismay story, although I did understand the connection. I just thought it could've been shorter.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A fascinating literary and historical gem

This is a fascinating book centers on the sad life of Bruce Ismay … The man who should not have survived the Titanic . It also explores Joseph Conrad is the key to the psychology of a hero who failed.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Gudrun
  • Fort Resolution, Northwest Territories, Canada
  • 02-20-17

So interesting

I found this book fascinating. There were so many aspects of the sinking that I had read about and I have seen Titanic, but I had not really considered the aftermath. This book keeps your interest you can follow all the details. It made me think about men and woman first, how that might affect any male survivor.