Monday, April 12, 2021

Book Review: 'A Night to Remember' by Walter Lord

✰✰✰✰½  It was the height of opulence. An era when First Class traveled in style and servants catered to their every whim. Society had never been more confident of its advancements, and the Titanic was a testament to this. At eleven stories high and four city blocks long, she featured the best there was to offer. Her maiden voyage began on April 11, 1912. Just three days later, other ships began reporting sightings of ice. Many would heed those warnings, but so confident was Captain Smith in the Titanic's reputation for being unsinkable, that he ordered the ship to forge ahead at top speed straight into an ice field. Shortly before midnight, they struck an iceberg. What happened in the next few hours would forever change history.

The Bottom Line: At the time this book was published, it had been nearly 40 years since the Titanic had sunk. As the first major written work on the topic at the time, Lord had the rare opportunity to interview over 60 survivors and piece together the final hours of the Titanic. Back in the day, Lord's book climbed the bestseller list and remains the go-to resource on the disaster even today. It is very well researched and detailed. Highly recommended for history buffs and those interested in shipwrecks. Even today the fascination with the Titanic continues, and this book would appeal to anyone wanting to learn more.

Book Club Notes: As we continue to meet virtually via Zoom, we are finally getting the hang of it. Our discussions are more organic with less hesitation, and we are much better are navigating the technology. This was a lively discussion on a timeless topic, the Titanic. Even after 100 years, the event still manages to captivate people. It was an end of an era we will never experience, and it was fun to discuss the extravagance and luxury of the time. We admired the volumes of research author Walter Lord had to sift through to produce a highly readable book. Never again will an author be able to speak to so many survivors. We agreed this book was chock full of details, and as a docudrama, the movie is likely as real as possible in its portrayal of the disaster. Ultimately, this is a survival story, and the individual stories of how each survivor made it onto a lifeboat were varied and fascinating. On a scale of 1 - 5, with 5 being the highest, we rated both the book and the movie and average of 4.75. Both the book and the movie are highly recommended for discussion groups looking for something a little different to tackle. A Night to Remember will transport you back to an era of stunning grandeur.

Discussion questions can be found at LitPlan Teacher Pack & a study guide at CPB

Details: A Night to Remember: The Classic Account of the Final Hours of the Titanic by Walter Lord. Paperback published by St. Martin's Griffin in 2004.182 p. ISBN: 978-0-8050-7764-3  

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