Elizabeth B's Reviews > The Band That Played On: The Extraordinary Story of the 8 Musicians Who Went Down with the Titanic

The Band That Played On by Steve Turner
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May 10, 11

Read from May 05 to 10, 2011

Focusing on the band from the Titanic, this book is a fresh look at that ill-fated voyage. Most people will recall the band from the movie playing as the ship went down and this book delves into those men – who they were, where they came from and the characteristics that made them choose to continue to play. The research on the men is impeccable and even for serious Titanic readers (I admit I am not one of these) I believe you will find something new that you didn’t know before. Outside of the Titanic sphere, it is a story of men from different walks of life and how they came together and then were faced with extraordinary circumstances. I think it has something for even the mild Titanic enthusiast as well as those who are just interested in historical personalities and even music aficionados will get a rare glimpse into the lives of one of history’s most famous bands.

The bit of bad: the text needs tightening up. Often, it seemed to be filled with “filler” as it would ramble off giving details of someone’s wife or brother in law (not the band members family, mind you). For example, it details a band member’s working at a particular orchestra and then drops off into two paragraphs about the orchestra manager’s wife who was semi-famous. The band member never knew her, no indication he even knew her husband actually, but we’re given this information for no concrete reason since it has no bearing on, well, anything. The vignettes on each of the men tend to jump time wise quite a bit rather than have a linear flow which made it difficult to follow their individual lives as they moved closer to their performance on the ship. For example, you will read about something one did as a teen and then it will jump back to some childhood event like his first music lesson. Very hard to follow.

With the exception of those two flaws, though, this was a delightful book to read. I learned about the men, more on Titanic and, perhaps most importantly, about how everyday common folks face and deal with such a monumental tragedy. (Galley proof)
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