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The Other Side of the Night: The Carpathia, the Californian and the Night the Titanic Was Lost
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Joy D | 3449 comments The Other Side of the Night: The Carpathia, the Californian and the Night the Titanic Was Lost by Daniel Allen Butler 4 stars

I have always been interested in the Titanic disaster and have read extensively about it. This book is another in my quest to puzzle out what happened, how, and why. It is non-fiction about the rescue effort and aftermath of the night the Titanic hit an iceberg and sank. It focuses on the ships that responded (or did not), the rescue of the passengers, and both the American and British inquiries in the aftermath. Butler does not recount the timeline of events on the Titanic itself. There are many other books that cover this information in detail. My favorite is A Night to Remember by Walter Lord, which I highly recommend. Butler instead tackles the calls for assistance, the actions of the responding ships, and the rescue efforts. I was interested to read it as I have always wondered why the Californian, the closest, did not come to the aid of the Titanic. How can a ship’s officers see a distress signal and ignore it?

This book is well-structured. It starts with a short history of maritime travel between Europe and America, the development of wireless communications, and the background of the Carpathia and Californian. It then moves into the experience and temperament of the primary players. The author pays specific attention to the captains of the Carpathia and Californian, Arthur Rostron and Stanley Lord, and their contrasting styles of leadership. Butler’s analysis is clear and logical. He expresses strong opinions and does so articulately. Even when not agreeing completely, I could follow his train of thought. I wish he had included footnotes along the way rather than a solely a list of sources and bibliography at the end.

After reading this book, I feel I have gotten a good sense of what the record shows regarding the action or inaction at the time of the emergency. Some will rise to the occasion and address the challenge while others will do nothing and deny responsibility. It is impossible, of course, to get one hundred percent clarity with an event this long in the past, and with conflicting memories of witnesses, but when reading many sources, the big picture eventually emerges. I feel like Butler has added valuable insights and has provided a plausible answer to my question. Of course, it won’t be the last book I read about the Titanic.

Recommended to those interested in maritime history and, of course, those specifically interested in the Titanic.

Link to my GR review:

Joanne (joabroda1) | 7504 comments Very nice review-I have also read a lot about the Titanic, and I know I read a book that focused on the other ships that were out there-I am not sure if it was this book or not. I will have to skim it next time I am at my library, to see if I have read it-if not, onto the list it goes!

annapi | 4986 comments I never thought about this point of view before - that of the rescuers. Onto the TBR it goes...

Joy D | 3449 comments Hope you both enjoy it as much as I did!

message 5: by KateNZ (new) - added it

KateNZ | 2338 comments What an interesting and different angle on the disaster. I’d give this one a try too - it sounds really worth it

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