April 15, 2012, marks a sad centennial: the sinking of the Titanic. Interest has never waned in this preventable tragedy, and John Maxtone-Graham’s nonfiction Titanic Tragedy will note the event’s 100th anniversary.
Maxtone-Graham has been writing about ships at sea for 40 years. His experience shows in his storytelling, as smooth and clear as the North Atlantic on that dead-calm April night. In this book, he does not retell the entire Titanic saga but concentrates on less-commonly investigated elements including the new Marconi radio and Morse code used by Titanic’s radio operators, survivors’ stories, and their dawn rendezvous with the Carpathia.
A section devoted to the Harland and Wolff shipyard slows down the midsection of Titanic Tragedy. Also, newcomers to the Titanic story will miss much of the familiar events – for example, the iceberg strike which sank the ship is barely described.
However, Titanic Tragedy will entertain and educate, and whet the appetites of its readers for more. Letters by Walter Lord (author of A Night to Remember) make this book a must-read for the Titanic enthusiast.