In the early hours of 15 April 1912, after the majestic liner Titanic had split apart and the 1,500 men, women and children struggled to stay alive in the freezing Atlantic, the sea was alive with the sound of screaming. Then, as the ship sank to the ocean floor and the passengers slowly died from hypothermia, a deathly silence settled over the sea. Yet the echoes of that night reverberated through the lives of each of the 705 survivors. SURVIVING THE TITANIC tells the extraordinary stories of some of those who survived. Although we think we know the story of the Titanic - the famously unsinkable ship that hit an iceberg on its maiden voyage from Britain to America in April 1912 - little has been written about what happened to the survivors after the tragedy. How did the loss of the ship shape the lives of the people who survived? How did those who were saved feel about those who perished? And how did they remember that terrible night, in effect a disaster that has been likened to the destruction of a small town? Timed to coincide with the 100thanniversary of the sinking, SURVIVING THE TITANIC will shed new light on this enduringly fascinating story by showing how the disaster continued to shape the lives of a cross-section of passengers who escaped the sinking ship.
A brilliantly original and gripping new look at the sinking of the Titanic through the prism of the life and lost honor of J. Bruce Ismay, the ship’s owner Books have been written and films have been made, we have raised the Titanic and watched her go down again on numerous occasions, but out of the wreckage Frances Wilson spins a new epic: when the ship hit the iceberg on April 14, 1912, and one thousand men, lighting their last cigarettes, prepared to die, J. Bruce Ismay, the ship’s owner and inheritor of the White Star fortune, jumped into a lifeboat filled with women and children and rowed away to safety. Accused of cowardice and of dictating the Titanic’s excessive speed, Ismay became, according to one headline, “The Most Talked-of Man in the World.” The first victim of a press hate campaign, he never recovered from the damage to his reputation, and while the other survivors pieced together their accounts of the night, Ismay never spoke of his beloved ship again. In the Titanic’s mail room was a manuscript by that great narrator of the sea, Joseph Conrad, the story of a man who impulsively betrays a code of honor and lives on under the strain of intolerable guilt. But it was Conrad’s great novel Lord Jim, in which a sailor abandons a sinking ship, leaving behind hundreds of passengers in his charge, that uncannily predicted Ismay’s fate. Conrad, the only major novelist to write about the Titanic, knew more than anyone what ships do to men, and it is with the help of his wisdom that Wilson unravels the reasons behind Ismay’s jump and the afterlives of his actions. Using never-before-seen letters written by Ismay to the beautiful Marion Thayer, a first-class passenger with whom he had fallen in love during the voyage, Frances Wilson explores Ismay’s desperate need to tell his story, to make sense of the horror of it all, and to find a way of living with the consciousness of lost honor. For those who survived the Titanic, the world was never the same. But as Wilson superbly demonstrates, we all have our own Titanics, and we all need to find ways of surviving them.
If you had been behind the Titanic on that fateful night in 1912, the last word that flashed before your eyes as the great ship was lost to the sea would have been ‘Liverpool’. The ship’s loss, a national and international tragedy, was also a tragedy for its home port and this fascinating book explores the history and myths surrounding the sinking, highlighting for the first time new and extraordinary stories that link Europe’s pre-eminent port and its most famous maritime loss. Using material from the White Star line archives, the extensive holdings of the Merseyside Maritime Museum, new illustrations and a variety of historical sources, Scarth unearths the full back story of key characters and companies: many of her key officers and crew were either from Liverpool or had strong links with the port, the ship’s owners were based in the City, many of the most colourful tales emerging from the disaster relate to Liverpool people and here, where appropriate, we find out what happened to them after the sinking. Titanic and Liverpool will be compulsory reading for anyone interested in the Titanic and also for anyone hoping to understand Liverpool’s role as the great processing port of Europe and gateway to the US and Canada.