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Every Man for Himself
 
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Beryl Bainbridge
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Every Man for Himself

3.46 of 5 stars 3.46  ·  rating details  ·  733 ratings  ·  85 reviews
If ever a subject and a writer were perfectly matched it is here. The fated voyage of the "Titanic," with its heroics and horror, has been dramatized many times before, but never by an artist with the skills and sensibility of Beryl Bainbridge. Bainbridge vividly recreates each scene of the voyage, from the suspicious fire in the Number 10 coal bunker, to the champange and ...more
ebook, 208 pages
Published March 1st 2012 by Europa Yearbook (first published 1996)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,457)
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GoldGato
This book puzzled me. How can you screw up the Titanic story? But it just did nothing for me, which seems to put my review in the minority. Lots of bland talk, blah blah blah blah. Yup, way to make the greatest maritime incident in history bee-oar-ing...with three syllables. I had to smack myself awake.

Book Season = Winter (maybe the cold will lead you to a gentle sleep)
Susan
This short, almost restrained, novel was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and won the Whitbread Prize when published in 1996. It tells the story of Morgan, a relative of J.P. Morgan, who feels, "destined to be a participant rather than a spectator of singular events". When a man dies in his arms shortly before he is to return to the States, he leaves his uncle's house almost secretly (a stolen picture of his mother tucked away) and gets the milk train to Southampton. For the young man is surely ...more
Courtney Johnston

I wonder if reading this book before Cameron's calculated tear-jerker came out was even more affecting than it was reading it afterwards. Like re-reading Pride & Prejudice this days and trying to keep the text separate from the filmic palimpsest that's layered over top of it, reading 'Every Man for Himself' without seeing Kate and Leonardo running about the place is almost impossible.


The protagonist - an un-named young man closely but mysteriously attached to J Pierpont Morgan - also reminde

...more
Bruce MacBain
This is a fictionalized account of the sinking of the Titanic, originally published in 1996 and now reissued, as have been so many other books on the subject, to coincide with the centenary of the disaster. Beryl Bainbridge was a distinguished writer and this book either won, or was a finalist for, a number of prestigious awards. It is with some diffidence, then, that I confess that I didn’t like it. The book is nine-tenths over before the ship hits the iceberg and I found myself increasingly im ...more
Hollie
Not the best book I've ever read, really hard going, I found that I didn't really care about the characters. I wanted to read about the Titanic, not a side story and then the last 80 pages or so of when it sank. I love reading about the Titanic but there wasn't enough about it in the book, to be honest it could have been set anywhere. The last few pages where it got to the part about the ship sinking was really good, just a shame about the rest of the book.
Mark
A disclaimer! I don’t claim to have brilliant taste in movies and so Titanic by James Cameron is one of my favourites. When I was 17 and in the first throes of love, the film gave me an insight in to another world both opulent and past and this book by Beryl Bainbridge has just done the same thing once again. The power of the word as well as the image to conjure up something magical should never be underestimated but the setting is where the similarity ends between book and film.

Every Man For H
...more
NancyHelen
Yet another book about the sinking of the Titanic, although this was told in the first person view of J. Pierpont Morgan who is 22 at the time and wrestling with his own status and future. The majority of the book is set in the four days of sailing leading up to the sinking. It tells about the intrigues, dramas and romances within the first class passengers and reads a bit like a novel of upper class lifestyle. But it is carefully and cleverly contrasted to the final section where the ship goes ...more
Fred
Just like the other Bainbridge books I've read, this is a short tale dense with sharp observations and moments of odd, often dark humor. In this case, the narrator is a disaffected member of the upper class, and his viewpoint allows us to observe the behavior of the wealthy passengers of the Titanic as the inevitable tragedy looms.

More than for plot, I enjoy Bainbridge's books for their regular servings of commentary on the human condition. I often find myself stopping to ponder some assertion o
...more
Sarah
Narrated by a young man called Morgan who is related to J P Morgan who owned the shipping line. Morgan is rich, aimless and seems to attract tragedy. Mysteries about the Titanic and also the passengers surround the few days of the voyage. The sinking of the Titanic was brilliantly written. The calmness of the water, the slow unfolding of events. Written mostly from the first class point of view and captures their tight-knit, elitist world. The novel concentrates on their lives and the disaster i ...more
Philip
The multiple Oscar-winning film, Titanic, appeared in 1997. Whether Beryl Bainbridge’s novel, Every Man For Himself, was already in the planning before that movie was cenceived is a matter open to conjecture or the biographer. Even if the novelist chose the subject deliberately to coincide with the launch of a blockbuster, the novel has to be read on its own considerable merits, which did indeed include a Whitbread Prize, a nomination for a Booker and a Commonwealth Writer’s Prize. The book’s su ...more
Terri
This book was only OK. Perhaps it simply didn't meet my expectations. I read many comments about the author's skill as a writer prior to reading the book and really did expect something ... different. The book is primarily character driven, but I had a hard time caring about any of the characters. It is a shallow look at the shallow lives of very wealthy first-class passengers. Steerage class passengers hardly note a mention as though not worth the paper and ink. I guess this could be a clever d ...more
Josephine
This was a well written book but I have only given a two star rating because I found all the characters to be very shallow and there was no one that you could actually like or empathise with. Morgan tells his story in the first person and he comes across as a rather spoilt and selfish person, since his rescue by his aunt and uncle from a very bad early childhood he has been indulged. He and his friends who all seem to be on board the Titanic are dreadful snobs and bores, they refer to each other ...more
Lisa Matheny
This stunk. I just didn't care for or about the characters. I tried to read it or over 70 pages and realized life is short and I shouldn't waste another minute trying to gather interest for her characters. Don't waste your time reading this drivel. I didn't finish the book. I have more important things to do like visit the lavatory.
Priya
This is one of the most tightly written books I've ever read. With not one superfluous word, Bainbridge advances the story at an impressive pace and creates tension in a situation where we know the inevitable outcome.
Nancy
This book sadly bored me, though it did leave me curious about some of the details of the Titanic. The characters were not compelling.
Anna
I have loved all the books I have read by BB, and this is one of the best...
such an interesting idea, so well developed. I read an interview with her once in which she said she always wrote her books and then did the research AFTERWARDS just to make sure she didn't have any glaring errors. This is a brilliant idea, such a relief from all those novelists (McEwan, Faulks etc etc) who do tons of research and then, sadly, put too much of it into the book, creating lengthy dreary passages about recip
...more
John
A beautifully written book in which nothing happens for a long time, then a ship sinks. It's set on the Titanic, so the ship sinking is not a total surprise; I had, before this, heard of the Titanic and knew it had sunk. By the time it does finally go under, it's a welcome relief from the humdrum routine of posh people talking about stuff.

I cannot understand why this was nominated for the Booker Prize. Stories of the upper classes getting tied in knots over etiquette and gossip have been done to
...more
Sarah
The sinking of the Titanic. It has been done and re-done several times over the years, in books and on film, and some may say that we've had just enough of it - after all, we all know exactly what happened.

This book itself came out the year before the famous James Cameron film Titanic, so cannot be accused of copying the film despite both having similar themes. The difference in this book, however, is that the view of the social classes (as seen through the main character, Morgan, himself an up
...more
Perry Whitford
An adoptee of the banker JP Morgan, with an orphaned, uncertain past, takes first-class passage on the maiden, and of course only, voyage of the RMS Titanic. Spent largely in the company of bankers, magnates, and his flighty friends -a vacuous bunch of young socialites, gauche sons and daughters of the great and good- he also encounters members of the working-class from amongst the crew.
As the ship sails inevitably towards disaster, the callow narrator becomes increasingly in thrall to an enigm
...more
Jacquelynn Luben
I finished this, my third historical novel in quite a short period, and one which received much praise from the critics.

This is a story of mainly upper crust young people - passengers on the ill-fated Titanic, and the atmosphere on board put me in mind of the bright young things at a party thrown by the Great Gatsby, or possibly even some pals of Bertie Wooster. It took me a while to get to know some of these people, and some of them were still only shadowy characters by the end of the story.

Th
...more
Robyn
If you thought Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet portrayed the romance of the century in James Cameron's Titanic, then this book is NOT for you. However, if you crave thoughtful, intricate historical novels about how industrial barons literally went overboard at the turn of the century, then read this book.

No sap, low drama. Beryl Bainbridge does the Titanic story just right. Mr. Morgan, the protagonist and narrator, echoes in your head just as Nick does in the Great Gatsby. You see the superfi
...more
Karo
There was a film on the BBC a few years ago that nearly broke my heart. Beryl Bainbridge, then 70, was convinced she was going to die within the year, given that both her parents had died at 71. Her nephew made a film of those "last" months, following her around London and her hometown, Liverpool. It was beautiful and incredibly sad to see the old lady, wheezing yet still chain-smoking, revisit her past. It turned out she had the dates wrong, and she did not die that year, but that was hardly th ...more
Val
Beryl Bainbridge was very good at writing fictional accounts of historic events. This one is about the maiden voyage and sinking of the Titanic. The characters, conversations and situations she creates blend smoothly into the true story.
The Booker shortlist for 1996 had some very good books on it, this was one of them.
Last Orders (which won),
A Fine Balance (my favourite),
Alias Grace (one of Atwood's best),
Every Man for Himself
and two I have not read, but have been told are also good,
Reading in t
...more
Em
My first experience of reading Beryl Bainbridge was An Awfully Big Adventure and I admit it left me underwhelmed and disinclined to read further but since several people recommended Every Man for Himself, I decided to give her another try and I'm pleased to find I enjoyed this book considerably more.

Set on the Titanic, the book begins with a strong and captivating opening chapter, the pace then slows as we spend much of the novel dwelling on the first class decks. We observe the oppulance of the
...more
Sophia
Every Man for Himself is narrated by Morgan, the nephew of the millionaire financier, J.P. Morgan, whose house he has been staying at in London. Morgan is an orphan who knows little about his parents, other than a very fuzzy memory of his mother who died when he was three. He was brought up with his aunt and cousin in America, and when he tires of life in England he looks forward to returning there to see them.

After an upsetting incident in London, when a stranger dies of a heart attack in his a
...more
Linda K
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andrew
Bainbridge's protagonist is an upper class nephew of J. Pierpont Morgan, about 23 years old and wandering his way into society. The book examines closely the class structure of the time and uses Scurra, the only character with a single name, as his foil. Slowly Morgan Svenson realizes that his acquaintances are all adrift and that their lifestyle is menaced by modernism. Then, Morgan is truly adrift following the sinking of the Titanic.
Jane Curtis
I haven't read a Beryl Bainbridge novel for a while and I'd forgotten just what a good writer she is. The sinking of the ship is described almost calmly- there is no real sense of panic or fear. This is in stark contrast to other fictionalised accounts of this tragic disaster. For me, the fact that the steerage passengers were hardly mentioned merely echoes the way the situation probably unfolded- there weren't enough life rafts for everyone and inevitably the more privileged passengers would ha ...more
Greer
The first two-thirds of this fictional account of the Titantic disaster through the eyes of J.P. Morgan's adopted nephew were rather frustrating to read. At first I found the mysterious glimpses of the narrator's early childhood and the knack he has for attracting strange characters and events intriguing. However, the story quickly became overburdened with too many mysteries, while character development was neglected. The portrayal of Scurra, an enigmatic passenger whom Morgan fixates on as a fa ...more
Phil
A novel which seems to promise more than it delivers, really. The first-person narrative fairly convincingly gives voice to a wealthy, inexperienced, well-meaning young Edwardian, but it isn't a particularly interesting voice, and his backstory feels more bolt-on than intrinsic. The whole story trades on the fact that it's a chronicle of a death foretold, that of the RMS Titanic, and to some extent everything must necessarily pale beside that notorious calamity about which, besides, so many stor ...more
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Dame Beryl Margaret Bainbridge DBE was an English writer from Liverpool. She was primarily known for her works of psychological fiction, often set among the English working classes. Bainbridge won the Whitbread Award twice and was nominated for the Booker Prize five times. In 2008, The Times newspaper named Bainbridge among their list of "The 50 greatest British writers since 1945".
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“A man bears the weight of his own body without knowing it, but he soon feels the weight of any other object. There is nothing, absolutely nothing, that a man cannot forget- but not himself.” 2 likes
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