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What it was really like. Panic, despair, shocking inefficiency, and a dash of heroism. Two lengthy narratives by passengers who had a thorough knowledge of the sea and by members of the ship's crew. More thrilling than any fictional account. 26 illustrations.
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This invaluable book collects some of the first-published first-person accounts of the tragedy, described in old-fashioned prose and enhanced by photographs and illustrations redolent of Edwardian society, with captions such as "Ladies and gentlemen in riding habit exercised on mechanical horses and camels in the ship's gymnasium." Some of the social attitudes of the day are preserved to often startling effect: the habits of obedience of "the Teutonic race" are repeatedly praised, and one brave Titanic officer used what the book's introduction terms "the strange ethical algebra which decided that one female, travelling first class, deserved life some six times as much as one male, travelling third class." Yet it's just such period detail that makes this book so compelling--not to mention the vivid sense that the passengers just didn't get it, even while disaster was upon them. "To illustrate further how little danger was apprehended," writes survivor Lawrence Beesley, "when it was discovered ... that the forward lower deck was covered with small ice, snowballing matches were arranged for the following morning.... The cries of drowning people after the Titanic gave the final plunge were a thunderbolt to us."
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