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Voyagers of the Titanic : passengers, sailors, shipbuilders, aristocrats, and th
Richard Davenport-Hines
Adult Nonfiction G530.T6 D35 2012

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From Publishers' Weekly:

An entire class structure, and its ethnic and gender stereotyping, goes down with the ship in this richly textured study of the 1912 Titanic catastrophe. Davenport-Hines (Proust at the Majestic) focuses on the pre-iceberg ship as a microcosm of Edwardian society: first class the redoubt of plutocrats, brittle manners and social snubbing, diamonds and haute couture; second class a genteel haven for school-teachers, ministers, and bounders on the make; third class awash in hopeful immigrant strivers; the proletarian crew toiling beside hellish coal furnaces or kowtowing to imperious state-room divas. It's a world of finely graded, contemptuous distinctions-signs on the ship prohibited the mingling of classes-which the author embroiders with vivid biographical sketches of passengers from the squirrely tycoon John Jacob Astor to the forgotten denizens of steerage. Then, in the author's well-paced, judicious account of the sinking, the reigning verities of upper-crust, Anglo-Saxon competence and chivalry capsize in a flounder of well-intentioned bungling. (Men were sternly turned away from lifeboats that were then launched half-empty because many women were too timid-or brave-to board them.) Davenport-Hines gives us a meticulous, engrossing recreation of the disaster and the social reality that shaped it. Photos. (Mar.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

Davenport-Hines (Auden) presents a detailed collective biography of practically everyone involved with Titanic, from her most (and least) famous passengers to the sailors to the shipbuilders. Even the iceberg gets a backstory and denouement. Especially poignant are the stories about the passengers emigrating to the United States in search of employment or joining family members already established here. Also of interest is the section on the officers and crew, which describes their work and living conditions aboard the ship, a topic normally overlooked in favor of descriptions of the first-class luxuries. VERDICT Except for a few vexing spots (even after 100 years, some authors still inaccurately state that the Morse code signal SOS is an abbreviation for "save our souls"), this is a well-researched and appealing read. Recommended for those interested in the personal angles of the story. (Illustrations not seen.) [See Prepub Alert, 9/19/11.] (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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