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Titanic Tragedy: A New Look at the Lost Liner

3.52  ·  Rating Details  ·  92 Ratings  ·  31 Reviews
This is a book unlike any other. Rather than offering simply a detailed retelling of the Titanic sinking on her maiden voyage, John Maxtone-Graham devotes his considerable knowledge and impeccable prose to a discussion of salient, provocative, and rarely investigated components of the story, including dramatic survivors’ accounts of the events of the fateful night, the rol ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published March 19th 2012 by W. W. Norton & Company
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Michael Poirier
Apr 26, 2014 Michael Poirier rated it it was ok
Interest in the Titanic ebbs and flows like the tide. Years ago, a new book on the subject only came out once and awhile. Ship enthusiasts and researchers would run and buy it to devour what new knowledge may be contained within its pages. The past thirty years or so, the amount of books on the subject has greatly multiplied, especially when the general public became interested due to its 1985 discovery, the artifact recovery and exhibits, and then Cameron's blockbuster film. The increase in boo ...more
Rachel Barnes
Considering there must be somewhere in the neighborhood of 10,000 books on the ill-fated Titanic, it definitely gets more and more challenging to find a fresh approach to the disaster. Especially since it is a singular moment in history. But that became the contest when the centennial of the sinking passed a few years back: create a new batch of Titanic books that don’t rehash the same old story: big, beautiful, brand new ship is built, sails on maiden voyage, hits iceberg, sinks, lots of people ...more
Judy Goldich
Dec 21, 2013 Judy Goldich rated it really liked it
Full disclosure: Two years ago I met the author, who is well into his 80's, and who now makes his living by traveling the world in cruises ships and ocean going liners, lecturing. The man loves ships of all descriptions, is fascinated by their history and style, and is a charming story teller. He can tell them because he was there, or talked to people who were.

His "lectures" are really stories, with a beginning, middle, and an end, as are the individual chapters in this book

He was a personal fr
Oct 17, 2014 Stephen rated it really liked it
It's a really fascinating book in that it delves into aspects of the Titanic story that aren't usually covered (the Carpathia's story, how the history of wireless impacted the ship), but there were times that I felt the sentences didn't quite make sense. And the whole thing ends without any sort of wrap-up. This felt more like a volume of appendices than a cohesive book. I would recommend this to Titanic enthusiasts without hesitation, but I would send a neophyte elsewhere to get a proper narrat ...more
Jo Butler
Apr 12, 2012 Jo Butler rated it liked it
April 15, 2012, marks a sad centennial: the sinking of the Titanic. Interest has never waned in this preventable tragedy, and John Maxtone-Graham’s nonfiction Titanic Tragedy will note the event’s 100th anniversary.

Maxtone-Graham has been writing about ships at sea for 40 years. His experience shows in his storytelling, as smooth and clear as the North Atlantic on that dead-calm April night. In this book, he does not retell the entire Titanic saga but concentrates on less-commonly investigated e
With his latest book, John Maxtone-Graham reaches two audiences -- those who want to learn more about Titanic and those who wish to explore further study on their own. Mr. Maxtone-Graham (whom, I must admit, I have met personally) takes the wonderful approach of visiting numerous aspects of Titanic's history that include the important roles of Morse and Marconi, the dock built specifically for Titanic and her sisters, and the small Cunarder Carpathia that came Titanic's rescue. Most poignant was ...more
Diana H.
Feb 12, 2013 Diana H. rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
When I saw this title on my reading list, I was quite disappointed. I’m not big on reading, listening to, or watching anything that has to do with the sinking of the RMS Titanic. It’s one of those subjects that has completely saturated the market in every way possible.

However, I’m trying to be good and actually read every book on my reading list, so…

WOW, what a surprise. This turned out to be an excellent book.

The author, John Maxtone-Graham, is a maritime historian. He knows his subject well an
Nov 20, 2015 Simon rated it it was ok
Another book published for the centennial. I expected more from Maxtone-Graham, as his other books are particular favorites. This one had very little meat to it, including a bizarre series of letters at the end from Walter Lord that served no purpose other than as a reminder that people can get barmy on the topic of Titanic, even if they hate Rose, Jack and everything else James Cameron through at the disaster. Get it only if you have to have everything.
Susan Paxton
Apr 15, 2015 Susan Paxton rated it really liked it
Shelves: titanic
Known as the expert on travel by ocean liner, Maxtone-Graham's contribution to the new releases surrounding the centenary of the tragedy reminds me of Walter Lord's "The Night Lives On" in that M-G doesn't cover the disaster systematically, he covers bits of it that interest him. The result is very much worth reading with some new viewpoints and information. There are no illustrations, but two helpful diagrams. Best of all are several parody letters that Walter Lord wrote to his friend Leslie Re ...more
I was not as impressed with this book as I have been with some others on the topic of Titanic.

As many people know, nonfiction (unlike fiction) is written in individual chapters about specific topics in a book; sometimes the chapters flow together, and sometimes they don't. In this book, they really don't.

To me, this book looked at more of the science behind the Titanic and her sinking -- the communications, the dock, the boat, etc. and while there were stories about the survivors, including the
Scott Fuchs
Jun 11, 2012 Scott Fuchs rated it liked it
Shelves: history
I hate skimming, but skim I did in the first quarter of this book. It deals almost exclusively with Marconi and Morse; their backgrounds and trechnical data of their inventions, which are not of interest to me.
This very slim volume [217 text pages] is more anecdotal than anything else. While most of it is marginali to the tragedy,the tales of individuals, both passengers and crew are quite interesting and well written.
Annoyingly, his great reverence of Walter Lord [important though he is] gets t
Jan 26, 2013 Gene rated it liked it
Not as riveting as most of Maxtone-Graham's books. This seemed like loose ends. However, the account of the rescue by the Carpathia and the voyage back to New York was very readable and interesting. Captain Rostran was an amazing man who knew what his duty was, and did it precisely. The story of how he protected the survivors, and tried to stop the St Louis Post-Dispatch reporter who was on board was what one would expect of Rostran. Walter Lord's Titanic letters pastiches in the final chapter w ...more
Sep 26, 2012 Ashleigh rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
A good Titanic book for the relatively uninitiated (e.g., me). I can't speak to its appeal to true Titanic buffs. One thing I can say is that John Maxtone-Graham is a lovely, engaging person. Please check out my interview with him--his responses were thoughtful and very forthcoming. I bet his cruise ship lectures are a wonderful experience!

Jun 19, 2012 Sarah rated it liked it
at turns terribly upsetting and totally fascinating, I do think some of the figures he talks about are not really properly introduced, so it's not always clear who he is talking about during all his anecdotes about the voyage and events surrounding it. I also found the structure of the book a little haphazard, as certain chapters seemed to have significant overlap with one another. very informative though. seems well researched
Oct 21, 2015 Samantha rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Non-Fiction fans, Titanic buffs, History buffs
Shelves: 2015, non-fiction
I really enjoyed reading this. There were a few chapters I got stuck on and had to skim over (the chapters about the docks), but overall I enjoyed learning even more about the Titanic. My favorite chapters were "Into the Boats" and "Survival Sagas". I also really enjoyed learning about Violet Jessop. The last chapter with Walter Lord's letters was interesting and entertaining. I would recommend this to anyone interested.
Scott Campbell
Aug 01, 2012 Scott Campbell rated it liked it
What a strange little book! At times it's fascinating and compelling, others dull enough to skim or skip. The chapters stand alone as essays on particular aspects of the Titanic gestalt, and they are best read as such. Keep your dictionary handy as the author has a penchant for words as ostentatious as White Star's first-class accoutrement. This is certainly not an introductory book; it's strictly for Titanic enthusiasts.
False Millennium
I read everything that comes out on Titanic. You would think what is left to be said, but the author presents another unique take, including lots of information on telegraphic communicators. All of the survivors are now dead. The last died just in the past five years. They all seemed to live into their 90's, and they all had been babies when removed from Titanic.
Jun 19, 2012 Debbie rated it really liked it
Scott and I listened to several lectures by Maxtone-Graham on our recent transatlantic cruise, and each one was informative and delightfully delivered. Looking forward to this book and wish our library had more of his in stock....The book did not disappoint, and I recommend it for any Titanic fan. M-G's writing style is erudite with dry humor.
Jul 18, 2013 Mandi rated it it was ok
Compared to other books on the subject, this book is dull and wonders frequently. It seems random facts or stories were thrown places which were completely irrelevant. Much of the book is not so much about the Titanic herself but of things relating to the things having to do with Titanic (I.e. morose code and Marconi).
Jul 05, 2012 Linda rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012, history
The book was informative and I learned some new things, including facts about the wireless technology responsible for saving lives that night. Maxtone-Graham also scrutinizes myths and legends of the Titanic, e.g. whether it really was "women and children first", and what song the band was playing as the ship sank.
Mar 25, 2012 Naomi rated it it was amazing
A word of warning...this book is dry. Probably the dryest I have read on the Titanic. On that note, there are some details in this book that I have not seen in other books. I found this book informative, and, although, as I said, it is dry..I found it difficult to pull myself away from it.
Jun 19, 2012 Irene rated it it was amazing
This was by far the best "Titanic" book that I've ever read. ( I have read many!) It does not have photos but the writer is so talented that that does not matter. It was a factually detailed, yet incredibly compassionate and personal account of the tragedy. Very enjoyable and touching!
Kelly Bolin
Apr 06, 2012 Kelly Bolin rated it liked it
Interesting details about some of the players (people, ship construction, etc) that you don't normally read about. But some of the parts are way too technical, which I skimmed. Still worth the read for it's seemingly unique take.
Jan 22, 2013 Catherine rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I surprised myself by liking this book. It was very dry and over detailed in places - definitely aimed at the Titanic enthusiast, which I am not. Two to three of the chapters were riveting making up for some that were less so.
Apr 03, 2012 Joanna rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: history buffs, those interested in the Titanic
I did not read this book in its entirety but flipped through reading portions that caught my attention. I wish I had had time to read the entire book. Perhaps another time. Too many books to read at the same time....
Keith Slade
I couldn't resist reading another one about this tragedy. It was good except some parts were a little too technical for me (the measurements of the drydock in Southampton, for example. I did learn a few more facts.
May 15, 2012 Carole rated it it was ok
He gives background on just about everything but if you watched TV during the 100th anniversary this provides little new info. Read Walter Lord's Book A Night to Remember because he references it often.
May 04, 2012 Sarah rated it it was ok
Review soon @ and have resumed rating books since Good Reads doesn't seem to like it when I don't. XD
Guyon Turner
Jul 09, 2012 Guyon Turner rated it liked it
Titanic lite by a friend and protege of Walter Lord, who wrote the classic "A Night to Remember". A worthwhile read anyhow.
Apr 16, 2013 Shannon rated it it was amazing
Titanic books will always get a good rating from me
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John Maxtone-Graham has written numerous works, including The Only Way to Cross—“the bible of the ship buffs"—Normandie, and France/Norway. He spends six months lecturing aboard ships. Ashore, he lives in New York City.
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