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TITANIC: End of a Dream by Wyn Craig Wade

Written by son of rambow on Thursday, June 23, 2011

Skyhorse (A Herman Graf Book) February 2012 * 384 pages/50 b&w illustrations

TITANIC: End of a Dream relies on survivors' accounts to establish some startling facts, including that almost two-thirds of the first-class passengers survived while only a quarter of the steerage passengers made it to safety. And that those in the lifeboats chose to ignore the piteous cries of passengers in the water, almost all of whom perished. This chilling account demonstrates that the Titanic's sinking was in many ways entirely avoidable. He begins with Titanic leaving on its maiden voyage from Southampton, full of hope and excitement. He then quickly shifts to the scene of confusion and horror right after the sinking, when few facts were known. In the next chapters the sinking comes to life through an official Inquiry into the disaster, due to the work of a Senator from Michigan and his committee who actually met the rescue ship Carpathia in New York and served many of the notables with subpoenas. The Inquiry was held within a week of the rescue ship arriving in New York. Particularly memorable is the chapter detailing the negligence of the Californian - in reality the closest ship to the point of sinking. Therefore, Wyn’s book is based on source material that was very fresh and thus gives a great read that fills in so many details that would otherwise have been lost to time and embellishment.

Titanic was truly a community afloat, with everything you might find in a small city: a government, social classes, and a sense of forward progress. As Titanic left the dock, she was almost a caricature of herself. The appropriately named ship was symbolic of the dreams and expectations of the men, women and children in 1912 prior to World War I. As they looked ahead at the brave new world they were building, Titanic reflected who they were In TITANIC: End of a Dream detail-oriented journalist Wade translates the human emotions of the Titanic sinking into modern culture. Wyn conveys what Titanic—and, more importantly, the sinking of Titanic—meant to the people of that time. If we cannot understand the impact of Titanic on the world of 1912, how can we possibly understand how Titanic integrates into our culture and thinking today?

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