When the new White Star liner Titanic struck an iceberg a few minutes before midnight on April 14, 1912, it seemed at first to be little more than a glancing blow. But the damage to the supposedly “unsinkable” ship was mortal, and when she plunged to the bottom of the North Atlantic less than three hours later, she took with her two thirds of the 2,207 people who were aboard her that night.
No other ship in history has attracted so much attention, stirred up such powerful emotions, or accumulated as many myths and legends as the Titanic. “Unsinkable” is a fresh look at this incredible story, one that centers on the people who built the ship, crewed her, and sailed on her. It follows the great ship as she grows on the ways at Harland and Wolff in Belfast, sails from Southampton to her unexpected rendezvous with an iceberg, then slowly sinks into the North Atlantic, forever shattering the complacency of her era.
The story doesn’t end there, however, for the tale continues through the high drama of the U.S. Senate investigation and the British Board of Trade inquiry, then introduces the “mystery ship” Californian, whose officers watched the Titanic sink and did nothing for fear of rousing their sleeping captain’s wrath. The narrative then carries on through the recovery of many of the Titanic‘s dead and their interment at Halifax, Nova Scotia, through the discovery of the wreck in 1985 to the abortive 1996 expedition to raise a section of her rusted hull.
What sets “Unsinkable” apart from every other account of the Titanic disaster, though, is author Daniel Allen Butler’s accomplishment in presenting a balanced and honest narrative that shows the men and women of the Edwardian world in the light of their own values and beliefs, rather than subjecting them to the judgments of latter-day standards. From the captain on the bridge, through the wealthy and titled passengers in First Class, down to the working-class immigrants in steerage and the stokers, trimmers and engineers in the boiler rooms, to the lawyers and judges who strove to determine where and how the blame for the disaster should be assigned, the people who are part of the Titanic saga are presented in the light of what they knew and believed, allowing modern readers to understand their thoughts and actions with comprehension and sympathy. This approach makes “Unsinkable” the benchmark by which all future accounts of the Titanic disaster will be judged.
You can order the soft-cover edition of “Unsinkable” here