An exploration of the aftermath of the Titanic’s fatal voyage.
Since the Titanic sank on April 15, 1912, the ship has been the subject of legends and myths, edging on an obsession for some. Rather than focusing on what caused the ship to sink, science writer Stone, author of The Food Explorer, chronicles what has happened since the night the ship struck an iceberg. “In cultural lore, the Titanic is the wreck around which all others orbit,” writes the author. “The same way a pop musician can’t escape the influence of the Beatles or Michael Jackson, shipwreckers can’t bypass the brightest star.” Stone attributes much of the ship’s outsized, iconic status to “good storytelling.” Drawing on eyewitness accounts and expert reports, the author tracks the shipwreck’s history, including how it broke apart, the discovery of its resting place in September 1985, and subsequent plans and attempts to salvage the ship. “Raising it, however, would create a new set of problems,” writes Stone, including accelerating the ship’s decay. The author also discusses how surviving the tragedy changed many lives, particularly the survivor’s shame faced by those who were able to find a lifeboat and row away from the sinking ship, leaving hundreds behind. One woman “lived the rest of her life trying to salvage her and her husband’s reputations as heartless cowards.” Additionally, Stone discusses versions of the Titanic’s story that have appeared in books and film, including, of course, James Cameron’s 1997 mega-blockbuster. Though the author focuses on the Titanic, he writes about other maritime tragedies and maritime-related science, including hypothermia, what to do if you find yourself on a sinking ship, how sound travels underwater, disappearances in the Bermuda Triangle, and the effects of water pressure on the lungs. From the beginning of the narrative, Stone effectively draws readers in with his own great storytelling skills.
A captivating read for Titanic and maritime enthusiasts.