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Unsinkable: The Full Story of the RMS Titanic

4.08  ·  Rating Details ·  638 Ratings  ·  70 Reviews
Just before midnight on April 14, 1912, the ocean liner Titanic struck an iceberg. Less than three hours later, she lay at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean, having taken with her more than 1,500 of the roughly 2,200 people on board. Even now, a century later, no other ship in history has attracted so much attention, stirred up such powerful emotion, or accumulated as many ...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published March 6th 2012 by Da Capo Press (first published March 31st 1998)
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Nov 08, 2011 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A lot of words have been expended on the sinking of the RMS Titanic in 1912. So it takes a certain amount of brashness to subtitle your book, “the Full Story,” implying as it does the notion that all the facts have been hidden till now.

After finishing Daniel Allen Butler’s Unsinkable, though, I realized that his book serves an important function. Yes, there are hundreds of Titanic books. Many of the most recent publications (within the past decade) seem to come in two types: either slapped toge
Sep 30, 2014 Madeline rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was eight years old when Titanic barreled its way into theaters, so I wasn't at the epicenter of the hysteria over the movie (my best friend in elementary school saw the movie in theaters and immediately became obsessed with Leonardo DiCaprio - meanwhile, I was still spending recess pretending to be a horse, because I was super cool). I don't think I actually saw the movie in its entirety until I was a teenager, so I was never as fascinated by the story as everyone else was, but I still unders ...more
Apr 11, 2009 Eric_W rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“It has been said that Titanic is the third most recognized word in the world, following ‘God’ and ‘Coca-cola’ “. The story of the sinking has been told over and over from several different perspectives, but usually by those who have an axe to grind or who wish to cast aspersions on one ethnic group of the passengers or crew or another. Revisionists have tried to blame different sets of people, or absolve others, for example, holding the builders to a set of standards that were not in place unti ...more
Jill Hutchinson
May 08, 2011 Jill Hutchinson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: world-history
In my humble opinion, this book has to stand among the best ever written about the tragedy of the Titanic. I have read The Other Side of the Night: The Carpathia, the Californian and the Night the Titanic Was Lost by this author and knew that this book would be equally as well done. And indeed it is. Mr. Butler does an admirable job of presenting the facts without the prejudice that is often present in other histories of that fateful night. He follows the activities of the passengers and crew as ...more
Jul 20, 2007 Erin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Titanic buffs and those intrigued
Shelves: historical
Saw this at the library in a display of Titanic books (because of the current exhibit at the Denver Museum of Science and Nature). Once you get past the first boring chapter (I honestly don't care how and why it was built), it gets into fascinating personal accounts, and the author tries not to put the blame on any one person. It was a culmination of all the "standards" of the day. Saw the exhibit, too, and while interesting to see some things "in person", this book gave much more detail. Especi ...more
Dec 13, 2015 Dara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After reading A Night to Remember I was left with a longing to know more about the Titanic. Walter Lord's book is focused more on the human element the night she went down. I wanted to know more about the events that lead to the ship striking the iceberg and the aftermath.

Daniel Allen Butler delivered. Unsinkable: The Full Story of the RMS Titanic starts with the inception of the idea for Titanic and covers everything until the 100th anniversary of the sinking. I really like how Butler sheds lig
Nov 22, 2009 Steve rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
a really good book on the complete Titanic saga. a literal minute-by-minute account of the sinking of this amazing ship, after a detailed background on the people associated with her. the one thing that i took away from this book is a rather haunting question asked by the author: what motivated the crew of this ship to help save the passengers when they must have known that there was little hope for their own survival? a dedication to duty and honor? i guess we'll never know. it makes one wonder ...more
Natalie L
Dec 09, 2012 Natalie L rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book when it was called A Night to Remember. If you're going to nearly copy a book word for word at least have the decency to correct the original Author's (Walter Lord's) proven mistakes. This book may seem useful if you've never studied Titanic's demise but if you're a titanic enthusiast, the book is useful for keeping a patio table from wobbling.
Ashley Bartel
This book was very resourceful but of you have read A Night To Remember by Walter Lord, I would not recommend it because he mentions a lot of the same information.
Mar 27, 2011 Roxanne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: titanic
Out of the all the books in my growing "Titanic Library", this has been one of the most interesting and thorough reads yet. As someone who isn't terribly familiar with early 20th century culture and such, the details the author puts forth in this book are intriguing. It's commonplace to snap judge anything, anyone and the story of the Titanic is no different. People(even today) ridiculed Ismay, praised Smith unquestionably and condemned the lack of aid to help the Third Class. (This isn't to sum ...more
Jan 03, 2016 Ken rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book. Well-researched and factual, and contained a lot of information that I had previously gleaned from other sources (movies, books, etc.) - but also added a lot of new information and personal perspectives that were previously missing.

Mr. Butler does a good job of tying all of this information together in a logical, chronological clear and concise manner, while at the same time making this a very good read. Initially, I felt that, at the end of the actual book, it ended a
Lyndsey Bromley
Dec 29, 2011 Lyndsey Bromley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wish I had the time to thoroughly review this in the capacity it deserves, but there's only so many minutes in an, before I go to bed. So, this is a chopped down version, but here goes despite the constraint.
Without a doubt, this novel is my number-one Titanic comprehensive history resource. It took a while to sift through, not because of terrible narrative or any of those horrors, but because it's a lot of information to retain. This might be a challenging for some (specifically tho
Jun 24, 2012 Gerilyn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As a lifelong Titanic buff (the wreck was discovered the year I turned 10, a very impressionable age), I was thrilled to pick this up at a library book sale in San Diego. I've read many a Titanic history, but this one tops them all. I loved the comprehensive scope, from the design and building details to the full appendix with facts and figures. The larger-than-life cast of characters is boldly and sympathetically described as well. A fascinating and well-done book. And no, I do NOT like the mov ...more
Feb 18, 2008 Evan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been thrilled by the story of the Titanic since I was a kid and my mom bought the video of Robery Ballard's search and discovery of the wreck of the Titanic. Such an intreguing story and this book tells it so well in every detail from so many different vantage points getting down to the real facts. It's great right up until the descriptions of the post-accident trials which, unfortunately, could have used some translating of the flowery English vocabulary used by the judges in the trials. ...more
Aug 31, 2009 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, seafaring
Butler deals with the character of the times and explains how societal hubris and a belief in the infallibility of modern invention led to the tragic death of 1,500 people. He does not attempt to exonerate or blame anyone individual, so the myths are dispelled and the facts laid bare. God will not be mocked.

The tragedy was self inflicted. Self deception is so powerful that only after events play out, hindsight shows that the end of the story was, all along, inevitable.

Apr 15, 2012 Shirley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Well researched book (written in 1998) using all primary sources and little editorial comment. Great insight into Edwardian society and the mindset behind the myriad of decisions that ultimately led to the disastrous sinking of the Titanic. So many stories of (mainly) courage and cowardice and absolutely fascinating reading!
Jessica Haynes
Jan 30, 2011 Jessica Haynes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This has by far been my favorite account of the Titanic disaster yet. It is almost overly detailed, yet the author writes about the matter with just the right blend of emotion to keep you drawn in. I also like how he goes back and explains his reasoning behind some of the theories he had, which all make perfect sense to me.
Taylor Osborne
Apr 21, 2012 Taylor Osborne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book chronicles from the inception of the idea of Titanic to remembrance of those lost. It was an EXTREMELY interesting book about every leg of the Titanic's voyage. Take the time to read about the tragedy that you think you know all about- it'll make you anaylze yourself and YOUR character. It'll make you put yourself in the shoes of those there that night. Read it, let's talk about it.
Jan 13, 2009 Dori rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really learned alot about the thinking of the day and age of this accident. It will always be a great loss and tragic but this book helps understand how some of the things were done that turned the shipinto a deathtrap.

I recommend it for any one who is interested in the Titanic or nature of doing business in; the first decade of 1900's: the shipping industry, society, or social classes.
Apr 10, 2009 Tamra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read quite a few books documenting the sinking of the Titanic but I really liked the style with which this one was written. Although there wasn't much in the way of startling new revelations or facts, it was still captivating and well-written. It brought many of the players in the Titanic story more to life.
Apr 21, 2012 Ilex rated it really liked it
Shelves: history
A great blend of technical detail and personal accounts. This book made the individual stories of the Titanic shine, while setting it properly in the framework of the technology of the time, the society of the Edwardian era, and the traditions of the great ocean liners. It was quite enjoyable to read.
Jan 26, 2011 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I saw the dense print, appendices and index, I was concerned this book might be too dull, too scholarly or too technical for my tastes, but it was actually quite readable and interesting. Still a heart-breaking story nearly a century after the event.
Aug 28, 2012 Ayelet rated it really liked it
Good summary of all the Titanic research to date. I never tire of reading about it. This summary makes you particularly annoyed with the ship that was nearby and didn't come to their aid. They came up with many excuses but none that would soothe my conscious if I were them.
Jul 31, 2011 Claudia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I read this book, I had an elderly room mate whose mother was immigrating from Romania. She had booked passage on the Titanic and was going to catch the ship in Ireland. When she tried to board the ship, she was turned away because there was no room, even though she had bought a ticket.
Really poignant that I was reading this on the 100th anniversary of her sinking.
Jun 16, 2012 Megan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was very informative as well as an easy read. It was a joy to read and makes you want to find more books on the Titanic to get more knowledge and view points on the sinking.
Mar 02, 2017 John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
More than I ever knew. There was rescue from ten plus miles away but...
Justin Sangster
Apr 15, 2017 Justin Sangster rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was very informative. Not too dry, but not riveting either. It was a good introduction to the topic, and I'm glad I read it.
Aug 18, 2013 Sean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good book. If I could I'd give it 4.5 stars.

I guess my only significant criticism is Appendix 3 where the author discusses Captain Smith of the Titanic. Mr. Butler cites a psychologist who hypothesizes that Captain Smith was overwhelmed by the circumstances and wasn't able to think clearly. My problem is with the author who says that this behavior is understandable and that "it is highly doubtful that any of us could have done any better."

True, I couldn't have done any better. Nor could you
Tom Schulte
May 12, 2016 Tom Schulte rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this history that arced from the planning for the building of Titanic and her sister vessels Olympic and Gigantic (later Britannic) on to Titanic: The Exhibition which I travelled to Boston to see in the summer of 1998. This tragedy has taken on a mythic locus, in the tidal zone between the sunsetting of class privilege and the dawning of the now ubiquitous wireless technology. The frantic use (and abuse of wireless) adds tempo and pulse to this work, making it a nice double fea ...more
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Daniel Allen Butler is a maritime and military historian, the author (through September 2011) of nine books. Some of his previous works include Unsinkable: the Full Story of RMS Titanic (1998); Distant Victory: The Battle of Jutland and the Allied Triumph in the First World War (2006); The Age of Cunard (2003); The Other Side of the Night: The Carpathia, theCalifornian, and the Night the Titanic w ...more
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“There is something horribly hypocritical about passing judgement on another human beings actions from the comfort and safety of an armchair” 1 likes
“In many ways, the steamships of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries had become the secular equivalent of medieval cathedrals. They were the source of endless pride to the communities and nations that built them, and were just as much an expression of men's hopes and dreams of technical perfection as the great churches had once been of hopes for spiritual purity.” 1 likes
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