Voyagers of the Titanic: Passengers, Sailors, Shipbuilders, Aristocrats, and the Worlds They Came From

Written by Richard Davenport-Hines
Review by Kristen Hannum

Davenport-Hines has written a half-dozen of masterful biographies and histories, many of them set around the time of the Titanic’s terrible voyage. No doubt his marvelous feel for this era built upon those earlier books. Add the detailed research that obviously went into the writing of this book and it’s no surprise that Voyagers of the Titanic is satisfying in every way.

The book’s three parts, “On Land,” “At Sea,” and “Life and Death” follow the sailors, crew, and passengers from before the great ship sailed, the drama of its sinking, and the days afterward for the survivors. Unsurprisingly, the narrative of the middle section, “At Sea,” is the most compelling—and yet for writers of historical novels or connoisseurs of Titanic lore, it’s the first and last sections that provide the most information, with especially vivid insights into the class stratification of the Titanic’s voyagers, a division that seems almost as rigid as the Indian caste system. Recommended.