A ruminative, well-researched account from paleobiologist Pellegrino (Chariots for Apollo; co-author of The Hibernation...


HER NAME, TITANIC: The Untold Story of the Sinking and Finding of the Unsinkable Ship

A ruminative, well-researched account from paleobiologist Pellegrino (Chariots for Apollo; co-author of The Hibernation Response, reviewed below; etc.) of the sinking and finding of the Titanic. Pellegrino explains that this book was ""conceived and executed as a companion piece"" to Titanic-finder Bob Ballard's Discovery of the Titanic (1987); as such, it presents three blocks of information ""deliberately"" left out of the Ballard book: a brief biography of Ballad, a retelling of the Titanic disaster, and a discussion of the relevance of oceanographic exploration to Pellegrino's usual bailiwick, space exploration. Pellegrino leapfrogs from one subject to the next; his most gripping chapters, unsurprisingly, are those devoted to the Titanic sinking--although not equal to Walter Lord's classic A Night to Remember in emotional impact, they are invested with fresh detail obtained from survivors' unpublished diaries, analysis of the wreckage, and conversations with survivors. Also well done, although a bit choppy with the insertion of log records and letters, is the close-up account of Ballard's exploration of the Titanic aboard the minisub Alvin and its robot counterpart Argo--an account that Pellegrino invests with a sense of mystery and majesty. Less successful, however, are the author's strained parallels between ocean and space exploration (e.g., that, like the Titanic, the Challenger ""was killed by ice"")--although a transcript of a conversation between Pellegrino and Ballard does include some provocative discussion of the relative merits of exploring sea or space. Matching neither Lord's account of the sinking in vividness and detail nor Ballard's account of the finding--with its spectacular color plates--in personal drama; still, Pellegrino's is the most thorough account yet of the whole Titanic story, and will satisfy most Titanic and disaster buffs.

Pub Date: Dec. 12, 1988


Page Count: -

Publisher: McGraw-Hill

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 1988