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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.
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.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful
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.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful
My daughter was recently watching Titanic on HBO, so the topic perked my interest and, as luck would have it, I found this title on Audible. I've always been fascinated with seafaring stories so I gave this book a try. I wasn't dissappointed! From the start, the orator does an excellent job of providing a history of both the primary luxury liner companies of the day, White Star Lines, and Cunard, as well as the professional seamen whom the ship owners employed to sail their ships.
The dialog of the fateful events that took place in April of 1912 is then unfolded which provides the listener a glimpse of what might one have witnessed in the North Atlantic that night. The book takes you step by step through the events leading up to, thru, and immediately following the foundering of Titanic. Many details are provided and many clues as to why so many people perished. Even an amateur historian may not know (because the movie certainly doesn't say) that the HMS California was actually on the horizon, witnessed the entire event...and did nothing! And the post sinking inquisition by both the United States, and Great Britain are included in detail within. You'll be glued!
The reader does an excellent job as well, with perfect inflection, dictation, and pronunciation. I didn't lose interest once.
Do yourself a favor and add this title to your queue. You will not be disappointed!
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
Would you listen to Other Side of the Night again? Why?
I have listened to it more than once already. I wanted to hear about the heroic efforts of the Carpathia, her captain and crew again. It is very moving to hear how this ship alone responded to Titanic's SOS. Her captain and crew were all heroes on that difficult night. The sharp contrast between the Carpathia and the Californian make for a compelling listen.
What did you like best about this story?
The story about the Cartathia's response to the tragedy and their efforts to arrive in time.
What does Paul Heitsch bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
His narration is clear and concise. He doesn't attempt to "add drama" with his voice; the story itself provides enough. I do not mean to say that his voice is flat. Far from it. He just doesn't go overboard (sorry for the pun).
Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?
Yes, but it wasn't possible. I found myself listening at every spare moment.
Any additional comments?
Wonderful book. Well worth the credit. I wish I could find more books like this one.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
The narration was excellent, the facts are presented in a manner which can be understood by listeners with no nautical knowledge, and the story is compelling. I learned a lot about the three ships and the people involved. Highly recommended!
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
The story of the Titanic has been told a number of times, but this is the first time I've seen the story told from the viewpoint of the other ships in the area. The book isn't about what was happening on the Titanic, it is about how the ships in the area reacted - or didn't. The listener gets a full sense of frustration and, for the first time, a grasp that the disaster didn't have to be as terrible as it was. It's a unique approach to the story, and it's a very fresh approach. Not to be missed.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Would you consider the audio edition of Other Side of the Night to be better than the print version?
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.
Any additional comments?
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.<br/><br/>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.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
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.
7 of 9 people found this review helpful
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.
6 of 8 people found this review helpful
Every Titanic enthusiast has heard of the tragic circumstances on the night of April 14th 1912, and what may have been if the SS Californian has reacted sooner to the crisis. But that was not to be and the rest is history. This book digs deeper into the night of horror and the key individual’s minds and actions that either saved or drowned the passengers of the unsinkable mega-liner.
This is an exciting different take on the already detailed foundering of the RMS Titanic. It is a welcome study of the two ships, SS Californian and RMS Carpathia that were in the near vicinity of the sinking ship. From the first signs of distress via the fairly new Marconi radio messages to the sightings of white distress rockets, the historical facts are outlined in clear detail. Also, key Individuals and their heroic or weak responses to the disaster are also explained in a well written manner. The book dwells deep into the psyche of both captains and crew of the responding ships as they react to the situation in two opposing ways.
If there is a negative to the book, I found the strong opinionated conclusions somewhat questionable. Rightly, Captain Jack Lord of the Californian was lampooned during the various inquiries and yet was never charged for dereliction of duty. In this book, he is literally ‘thrown under the bus’. On the other hand, Captain Arthur Rostron of the Carpathia is adored and to an extent ‘worshipped’ in the book’s chapters. The author also opinionate on the high loss of 3rd class/steerage passengers. He states that it may have been due to their socioeconomic class upbringing which drove them in vain to identify a leader for their rescue. I found that very troubling.
Still, this book is recommended.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful