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101 Things You Thought You Knew About the Titanic ... but Didn't!: 11/27/12

cover art

April 15, 2012 marked the hundredth anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. 101 Things You Thought You Knew About the Titanic ... but Didn't! by Tim Maltin takes a new look at the events before, during and after and pulls apart the legend that has grown up around the sinking.

While 101 Things... doesn't take sides on whether or not the sinking should have been avoided. Instead, it takes a more neutral stance. If not the Titanic, then some other ship of similar size would have been the one to sink. As Maltin shows, as the ships got larger, their physical properties changed in then unpredictable ways. Without the benefit of computer modeling it was difficult, if impossible, to predict how the ships would hold up under a variety of different collisions.

Divided into different topics: the ship, omens, maiden voyage, among others, the ship goes through the 101 oft-repeated facts. After stating the fact the author says yes or no and then outlines the evidence to support that stance. Think of it as Myth Busters without the explosives.

Two things set this book apart from the other Titanic books I've read. I should note that I haven't read that many, so I am by no means an expert or even an enthusiast. That said, 101 Things makes the effort to put the Titanic in perspective by comparing the ship to contemporaries, rather than treating it as an aberration. Secondly, the book includes transcripts from the inquest that happened after the event.

These transcripts make sinking more real. Witness accounts, company accounts and discussions of standard seafaring practices and regulations all come together here.

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