A memorial edition of an imagined magazine covers the construction and fateful voyage of the R.M.S. Titanic, Queen of the Ocean, which sank in April 1912.
As in Lincoln Shot! (2008), the design alludes to the historical period, here using the dimensions and sepia tones of an old-time newspaper supplement. Visually dramatic pages are filled with photos and memorabilia as well as eyewitness accounts that add to the “You are there” effect. The first third of Denenberg’s narrative consists of articles purportedly published between 1903 and 1912, the second is the unfinished (and miraculously recovered) journal of the magazine’s correspondent. The final section includes a chronology of the ship’s final hours, statements from survivors and an interview with the captain of the rescue ship, all based on actual testimony. A “note from the publisher” closes the narrative with a short round-up of what followed. This is a story of heroism as well as personal and corporate greed, issues that still resonate today. The text is lively, compelling and convincing, but written to answer 21st-century readers’ questions. Because readers know the outcome, many of the chosen quotations sound ironic, especially cheerful reiterations that the ship is unsinkable.
This is history at its best, an original and appealing way to mark the centennial of this familiar disaster. (author’s note, source notes, bibliography) (Nonfiction.10-14)