• Other Side of the Night

  • The Carpathia, the Californian and the Night the Titanic Was Lost
  • By: Daniel Allen Butler
  • Narrated by: Paul Heitsch
  • Length: 9 hrs and 29 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (579 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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.
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

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What listeners say about Other Side of the Night

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The Other Side of the Night

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.

20 people found this helpful

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This One Might Surprise You!

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!

17 people found this helpful

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How (not) to save lives

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.

13 people found this helpful

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Wonderful read

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.

10 people found this helpful

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Opinionated, but engrossing …

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.

6 people found this helpful

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Excellent!

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!

6 people found this helpful

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Very Informative

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 people found this helpful

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The Other Side of the Story

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.

5 people found this helpful

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The best and among the worst of humanity

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.

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.

5 people found this helpful

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Such a Tragedy

This is an account of the two ships who were near enough to the Titanic the night it went down to render aid: the Carpathia and the Californian. One of these ships became a rescue ship and a floating hospital. The other chose to ignore the distress signals emanating from the Titanic.

This true story makes for fascinating reading. It would be great to have some answers to the questions the author brings up, but at this late date, that does not seem likely.

3 people found this helpful

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  • GTB
  • 07-30-22

Interesting account of the Titanic disaster

Thorough and interesting account of the Titanic disaster and the two ships/Captain's, one who did everything in his power to come to the Titanic's passengers rescue and the other who did not. The epilogue becomes a little repetitive towards the end but the whole story is well told and we'll researched.