Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Titanic History

From the Publisher
The never-before told, inspiring stories of the 8 brave musicians who played as the Titanic sank.
When Titanic collided with an iceberg on April 14, the eight members of the band had already retired for the evening. Still, they put on overcoats and came out to play in the lounge.

When most of the First Class passengers had taken to their lifeboats, the musicians moved to the deck and continued to play as the ship sank. One passenger said: “Many brave things were done that night, but none were more brave than those done by men playing minute after minute as the ship settled quietly lower and lower in the sea.

The music they played served alike as their own immortal requiem and their right to be recalled on the scrolls of undying fame.” But who were they? What journeys brought them to this deck on this icy ocean? Who did they leave behind? Historian and biographer Steve Turner delves into the lives of these brave men, revealing eight unique portraits of bravery.


My take

For some reason, I have always been enamored with The Titanic---shows on The History Channel, the movie, and anything else I can find. So when this book became available for review, I thought it would be another bit of information for my fixation. Never has there been a book all about the musicians. This should be interesting!

Starting the book, there was a lot of foundational information interspersed with the last hours of The Titanic's voyage. It was fascinating to learn how the cruise ship industry obtained musicians and crew in the early 1900's. It's quite a bit different that what we know now. Once the foundation was set, there was so much detailed historical information, I kind of thought I was back in school again. I found myself skipping over sentences to get to the "meat" of the chapter.

Each of the musicians' lives are chronicled in their own chapters. From a young age to the time of their deaths, the author detailed their lives. Sometimes a little too much. None of the musicians lead extraordinary lives so the fascinating story I was anticipating didn't pan out.

In my opinion, the best part of the book came at the end during the ship's sinking. Most of the information was speculation from witnesses and because of the traumatic situation, their versions were varied. The only semi-consistent theme was the final song heard while the ship went down. Most of the witnesses heard Nearer My God to Thee but that still wasn't agreed upon. Unfortunately it became somewhat tedious reading the descriptions over and over.

While Steve Turner definitely did his research, I felt the book was dry in places. It was not meant to be sensationalic or romanticized, it was meant to be factual. Regrettably, because of that, I had a hard time reading it. I have to give it a 2 1/2 out of 5---more than a 2 because of the information presented but less than a 3 because of the monotony.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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