Lost Voices from the Titanic: The Definitive Oral History
Starting from its original conception and design by the owners and naval architects at the White Star Line through construction at Harland and Wolff's shipyards in Belfast, Nick Barratt explores the pre-history of the Titanic. He examines the aspirations of the owners, the realities of construction and the anticipation of the first sea-tests, revealing that the seeds of disaster were sown by the failure to implement sealed bulkheads - for which the original plans are now available. Barratt then looks at what it was like to embark on the Titanic's maiden voyage in April 1912. The lives of various passengers are examined in more detail, from the first class aristocrats enjoying all the trappings of privilege, to the families in third-class and steerage who simply sought to leave Britain for a better life in America. Similarly, the stories of representatives from the White Star Line who were present, as well as members of the crew, are told in their own words to give a very different perspective of the voyage.
Finally, the book examines the disaster itself, when Titanic struck the iceberg on 14 April and sunk hours later. Survivors from passengers and crew explain what happened, taking you back in time to the full horror of that freezing Atlantic night when up to 1,520 people perished. The tragedy is also examined from the official boards of enquiry, and its aftermath placed in a historic context - the damage to British prestige and pride, and the changes to maritime law to ensure such an event never took place again. The book concludes by looking at the impact on those who escaped, and what became of them in the ensuing years; and includes the words of the last living survivor, Millvina Dean.
What people are saying - Write a review
LibraryThing ReviewUser Review - LibraryThing
Does the world really need yet another book on the Titanic? It all depends on the book... In the preface to Lost Voices from the Titanic, author Nick Barratt quotes from the novel, The Cloud Atlas: “The disaster as it actually occurred descends into obscurity as its eyewitnesses die off, documents perish and the wreck of the ship dissolves in its Atlantic grave. Yet a virtual sinking of the Titanic, created from reworked memories, papers, hearsay, fiction – in short, belief – grows ever ‘truer.’ The actual past is brittle, ever-dimming and ever more problematic to access and reconstruct: in contrast, the virtual past is malleable, ever-brightening and ever more difficult to circumvent/expose as fraudulent.” Barratt finished his book just before the death of the last survivor of the Titanic disaster, Millvina Dean, who was “the final link with an event that for everyone else on the planet is something we have only read about or viewed on television.” Barratt gathers the words of the people who actually helped construct the great ship, or sailed on its maiden and only voyage, or pulled survivors and bodies from the icy Atlantic, or testified before the inquiries held after the sinking. He enables us to feel what it was like to look at the Titanic without knowing the tragedy that was to befall it, and to have the experience of learning of that terrible night as though it were this morning’s news. There are other quite excellent books that compile much longer first-hand accounts of the sinking -- The Story of the Titanic As Told by It’s Survivors comes to mind. But the sheer number of voices in Barratt’s book and the range of emotions they convey is particularly illuminating and moving. So did we need another Titanic book? I would say simply, yes.