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The Band that Played On: The Extraordinary Story of the 8 Musicians Who Went Down with the Titanic [NOOK Book]

Overview

“They kept it up to the very end. Only the engulfing ocean had power to drown them into silence. The band was playing ‘Nearer, My God, to Thee.’ I could hear it distinctly. The end was very close.” —CHARLOTTE COLLYER, TITANIC SURVIVOR

The movies, the documentaries, the museum exhibits. They often tell the same story about the “unsinkable” Titanic, her wealthy passengers, the families torn apart, and the unthinkable end. But never before has “that glorious band”—the group of eight musicians who played on as the ...

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The Band that Played On: The Extraordinary Story of the 8 Musicians Who Went Down with the Titanic

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Overview

“They kept it up to the very end. Only the engulfing ocean had power to drown them into silence. The band was playing ‘Nearer, My God, to Thee.’ I could hear it distinctly. The end was very close.” —CHARLOTTE COLLYER, TITANIC SURVIVOR

The movies, the documentaries, the museum exhibits. They often tell the same story about the “unsinkable” Titanic, her wealthy passengers, the families torn apart, and the unthinkable end. But never before has “that glorious band”—the group of eight musicians who played on as the Titanic slipped deeper and deeper into the Atlantic Ocean—been explored in such depth. Steve Turner’s extensive research reveals a fascinating story including dishonest agents, a clairvoyant, social climbers, and a fraudulent violin maker. Read what brought the band members together and how their music served as the haunting soundtrack for one of modern history’s most tragic maritime disasters.

BOOK REVIEWS

 The Band that Played On by Steve Turner is, surprisingly, the first book since the great ship went down to examine the lives of the eight musicians who were employed by the Titanic. What these men did?standing calmly on deck playing throughout the disaster?achieved global recognition. But their individual stories, until now, have been largely unknown. What Turner has uncovered is a narrow but unique slice of history?one more chapter of compelling Titanic lore.

Turner, a music journalist, pursued living relatives of the band members and squeezed all that he could out of “inherited photographs, documents, and anecdotes” enabling him to sketch brief but poignant portraits of eight young (or at least youngish) men, all born in an optimistic era and all members of the rising middle class. To their parents, their girlfriends, and surely to themselves as well, the future must have seemed bright right up until the early morning hours of April 15, 1912…

There is much that we do not know about the final hours of these men. Why did they make the decision to play on the deck that night? What was in their hearts and minds? …

Even the Titanic survivors who witnessed their final performance quibbled over some details. Did the band march or did they kneel? Was their last number “Autumn” or was it “Nearer, My God, to Thee”? Did they stop playing during the final moments and pack their instruments away or were they still playing as the ship went down? All agreed, however, that all eight band members behaved with remarkable calm and courage. Within hours of the ship’s sinking, their story was circulating and they had already become heroes…

For Turner, however, the undisputed hero of the book is Wallace Hartley, a fine musician with religious conviction and a powerful sense of duty who seems most likely to have been the force behind those final hours of heroism. In the last pages of the book, Turner reveals a surprising Hartley discovery?a turn of events which makes a fine ending for his worthy book, even as it leaves us hopeful that the Titanic may yet have a few mysteries she is willing to give up.
—Marjorie Kehe, Book Editor, Christian Science Monitor

This detailed and sympathetic portrait of the bandsmen will be appreciated by Titanic enthusiasts and casual readers alike. Steve Turner's new book admirably fills a gap in Titanic literature. There are few good books on the subject of Titanic and, until now, none on the band itself. Steve's impressive depth of research has allowed him to vividly flesh out the stories of each of the band members and he has set these narratives in a fascinating social, political, cultural and religious context. I only wish Steve's book had been around when I was researching Wallace Hartley for my role in James Cameron's movie!
—Jonathan Evans-Jones, who played band leader Wallace Hartley in the film Titanic.

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Editorial Reviews

Matthew Algeo
Turner's exhaustive research unearthed many…seemingly mundane details that resonate as powerfully as the sinking of the great ship itself. The Titanic's band has been immortalized in films such as James Cameron's 1997 blockbuster, "Titanic"…But Turner has done the band an even greater service. He has made them human.
—The Washington Post
Library Journal
The story of the ship's band playing cheerful music to calm passengers as the Titanic sank seized the public's imagination from the earliest reports, and the musicians became instant legends, lauded for their bravery. They were hired through an agency and were technically second-class passengers, not employees of the shipping line, despite their shipboard duties. All eight men died, and survivors claimed that they heard music playing until the very end. The historical record on their personal lives is thin, but Turner (An Illustrated History of Gospel) clearly did extensive research and presents plausible scenarios when required to speculate. He offers a picture of the lives of these particular musicians, along with much information on the work of professional musicians generally in the early 20th century. He even takes on the 99-year-old debate about the last song played. Especially poignant are the stories about the surviving dependants of the band members and their difficulties with legal claims and retrieving personal effects. VERDICT Titanic completists will certainly want this book, which should also appeal to those interested in the perspective on music history.—Megan Hahn Fraser, Univ. of California-Los Angeles Lib.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595553874
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/22/2011
  • Sold by: THOMAS NELSON
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 362,589
  • File size: 5 MB

Meet the Author

Steve Turnerbegan his journalistic career as Features Editor of the British rock monthly Beat Instrumental. He has written many music biographies, including Conversations with Eric Clapton, Rattle and Hum (U2), and A Hard Day's Write (the Beatles).

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Read an Excerpt

The Band that Played On

The Extraordinary Story of the 8 Musicians Who Went Down with the Titanic


By Steve Turner

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2011 Steve Turner
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-59555-387-4



CHAPTER 1

"That Glorious Band."


On the night of April 18, 1912, a dimly lit low-slung steamer with a single black funnel graciously eased its way up the lower reaches of the Hudson River headed toward Cunard's Pier 54. Never before had the arrival of one ship been the focus of so much anticipation and speculation. New York's traffic was gridlocked, police barriers had been erected around the west end of 12th Street, and the eyes of the world were focused on a gangway that would soon connect lower Manhattan with the British steamer Carpathia.

More than fifty tugboats manned by journalists had been nipping at the vessel as she made her approach, hoping to be rewarded with shouted-out answers to questions or handwritten scraps of information that would put them one step ahead of their competitors in the scramble for headlines. Reporters with megaphones made offers of $50 or $100 for firsthand reports, while photographers lit up the side of the ship with their flashes of magnesium powder. Some of them even tried to invade it when a rope ladder was let down for the river pilot to climb on, and they had to be forced back by Second Officer James Bisset.

The object of all the attention was not the ship's prebooked passengers who'd set out for the Mediterranean exactly a week before, but the more than 706 survivors of the world's worst shipwreck who'd been hauled on board from the freezing Atlantic. The Titanic had gone down almost four days previously, and the story of its loss had dominated the front pages of newspapers around the world. But beyond knowing that it had collided with an iceberg, and that the majority of the crew and passengers had died, very few hard facts had reached the shore. An early report had suggested that all were safe, and a wrongly attributed wireless message gave the impression that the damaged Titanic was being towed slowly back to port.

Speculation had developed that a cover-up was being mounted, that the meager output from the Carpathia's wireless room—a provisional list of survivors—and the refusal to answer press inquiries was a stalling tactic to give the chairman of the White Star Line, J. Bruce Ismay, himself a Titanic survivor, time to concoct an official explanation that would absolve him and his company of negligence charges. An intercepted wireless message from the Carpathia indicated that Ismay wanted the Carpathia to let its passengers off farther downriver to avoid the press.

The public naturally wanted to know how this apparently invincible liner had come to grief on what should have been a routine Atlantic crossing, but for most of the curious the explanation would have little or no immediate impact on their lives. For the friends and families of Titanic passengers, the need to know was vital to their peace of mind. Many of them gathered in the shed at the entrance to Pier 54 uncertain as to whether they would see their loved ones emerge. For newspapers, getting an accurate record of this event was a professional duty and an unparalleled editorial challenge.

The Carpathia's arrival hadn't been expected until the early hours of April 19, so when it was spotted at 6:10 p.m. on the eighteenth, off the coast of Sandy Hook, New Jersey, the news spread quickly through the city and the streets began to fill with traffic. Limousines and touring cars sped so quickly down the newly asphalted Seventh Avenue that many of them slipped on its rainy surface and found themselves running into the curbs. Police were brought in to ensure that no one was allowed on the pier itself but the two thousand already issued passes.

Although the city was frenzied as it readied itself to receive the survivors, the atmosphere in Cunard's shed was muted. There was only a hush occasionally punctuated by sobbing. Pass holders were organized in groups behind placards bearing the initial of their loved one's surname. This was to make it easy for survivors to connect with their waiting parties. In addition to friends and relatives, there were professional caregivers: officers from the Salvation Army offering hospitality to those with no local contacts, doctors in white jackets and nurses in uniform to attend the sick and injured, representatives from the White Star Line to answer questions and handle problems. Against the walls of the shed was a row of stretchers for those too emotionally traumatized or physically damaged to make the walk.

Half a mile above Battery Park, the Carpathia released thirteen now empty Titanic lifeboats in order to deny newspapers the opportunity to photograph them. Three of the original sixteen they had picked up were too damaged to haul back, and they were left at the wreck site. The thirteen were all that remained of the proud steamer that had left Southampton on April 10 for its maiden voyage. Everything else was spread out over the ocean bed 550 miles off the coast of Newfoundland.

The Carpathia turned toward the Cunard Pier, where at 9:30 it tied up. The first person to emerge was a sailor dressed in a yellow oilskin. Then out came the first survivor, a fragile and unsteady woman who needed the support of a ship's officer. She was collected by her husband, who wept tears of joy and relief on her shoulder. This scene, and ones very like it, was played over and over again through the night. In many cases the longed-for face didn't appear, and there were tears of bitterness and loss.

For waiting journalists the challenge was to work out how best to use their limited time in researching and writing the most dynamic and informative copy for the next morning's papers. This was clearly a story that would win or lose the reputations of newspapers, editors, and reporters. Everything from advanced planning and breadth of coverage to shorthand skills and speedy copyediting would be put to the test. This truly was journalism as the first draft of history.

The New York Times had led the way in the accuracy and scope of its reportage. Its newsroom received the first Associated Press report that the Titanic was in trouble at 1:20 on April 15, based on a message picked up by a Marconi station at Cape Race, Newfoundland. It stated that an iceberg had been hit, lifeboats were in the water, and a distress signal had been sent. Half an hour after this initial contact, wireless communication from the stricken liner ended. Working late that night was the paper's inspirational managing editor, Carr Van Anda, who cast his eye over the facts and intuitively felt that something far worse than a damaging collision had taken place.

After telling correspondents in Montreal and Halifax to pursue the story, he trawled the cuttings library and found that there was a history of shipping collisions with icebergs in this vicinity. The Carmania, which had arrived in New York only the day before, had reported a field of ice. A year before the Anchor line ship Columbia had smashed her stern in the same area. Two years before that the Volturne had found itself "pinched" by moving ice, some of which ground along its side.

Other ships had reported an ice pack during the past week. The Niagara had been badly dented, the Lord Cromer and the Kura had both been damaged below the waterline, and the Armenia reported an ice field at least seventy miles long. Captain Dow of the Carmania had been quoted as saying: "I never saw so much ice and so little whisky and lime juice in all my life. Had the ingredients been handy there would have been a highball for every man in the world!"

Although Van Anda knew that he couldn't go into print announcing the loss of the Titanic—as yet there was no conclusive evidence—he used his hunch to give the story of an Atlantic collision the prominence worthy of a disaster. He spread the news over four columns, and around the core information about the distress call and subsequent radio silence, he packed stories of the other ships that had encountered ice, listed important passengers, and used images of the captain and his ship. He employed the word sinking in the early editions, and there are claims that he used sunk in later editions, although, if he did, no copy of this edition is known to exist.

The arrival of the Carpathia with its hundreds of eyewitnesses presented a logistical problem for all newspapers. Who were the best passengers or crew members to interview? How should the rapacious appetite for facts and truth be balanced against the need of survivors for peace and consolation? What was the most effective yet honest way of getting an exclusive on a story that would spread as quickly as a virus once the survivors were home?

Van Anda hatched a plan. He booked an entire floor of the Strand Hotel at 502 West 14th Street, close to Pier 54, to use as the New York Times base while it covered the arrival. Telephones on this floor would be linked directly to a desk at the Times where quotes and descriptions filed by reporters could be instantly hammered into stories by skilled rewrite boys. The journalists could then be reassigned to other interviews. The Times, in common with all other papers, was only granted four pier passes, but Van Anda ordered an additional twelve reporters to head down to the area to mingle with arriving survivors and their kin.

The most vital source, Van Anda knew, was Harold Bride, the Titanic's twenty-two-year-old junior Marconi operator, who had not only survived the sinking but had worked the wireless of the Carpathia as it sailed back to America. With the captain and most of the senior officers dead, he was the only person alive who would have been present at the heart of the drama. He had been in direct contact with Captain Edward Smith, had communicated with nearby ships, had witnessed the rescue, and would have been one of the last men to leave the ship. He also had the advantage of being able to explain what he saw in nautical terms.

But how could the New York Times gain access to the Carpathia when both Cunard and the docks authority were fiercely guarding it? Van Anda came up with a solution. He would involve the Marconi organization. Cunard might turn back a reporter, but not Guglielmo Marconi, the celebrated inventor, entrepreneur, and Nobel Prize winner, whose name was synonymous with wireless communications. It was his recently developed equipment that was revolutionizing sea travel. It was unlikely that any Titanic passengers would have been saved if not for the Marconi wireless transmitter.

If Bride gave an exclusive interview, it would enhance the name of Marconi as much as that of the New York Times. Bride wouldn't lose out either. The fee for his story would equal three years' wages as a wireless operator. The Marconi office had already sent three messages to its own wireless room advising the operators to hold their stories until approached by the New York Times. The last of these, addressed to "Marconi Officer, the Carpathia and the Titanic" and signed by American Marconi's chief engineer Frederick Sammis, simply said: "Stop. Say nothing. Hold your story for dollars in four figures. Mr. Marconi agreeing. Will meet you at dock." This was later assumed to be another reason for the Carpathia's media blackout. Even President Taft couldn't get in touch to find out whether his trusted military aide Major Archibald Butt had survived. (He had not.)

On the night of April 18, presumably unaware that the Carpathia was ahead of schedule, Marconi was at a party. Van Anda sent a messenger to fetch him down to Pier 54 to board the ship with Sammis and New York Times reporter Jim Speers. It was now around 11:30 and almost all the passengers had already disembarked. The copy would have to be ready for the printer within an hour if it was to make the first edition on April 19.

When they got to the pier, police stopped them. The reporter, Speers, protested: "Sir, we are Mr. Marconi, his manager, and a New York Times reporter." The officer pushed the Marconi engineer Sammis back, believing him to be the journalist in question, saying, "Mr. Marconi and his manager may pass through. The reporter can't." Speers and Marconi boarded, while Sammis had to remain behind the police line. The two men made their way to the wireless room where they found Bride still tapping out messages left for him by passengers. "That's hardly worth sending now, boy," said Marconi. Bride, his frostbitten feet still bandaged, looked up slowly and then recognized his distinguished employer.

Bride's story, which he poured out to Speers in a rambling monologue, was everything Van Anda had hoped it would be. He'd got out of bed on the night of April 14 to relieve the senior operator, Jack Phillips, only to find that the Titanic had been in a collision. He watched as Phillips calmly made contact with the Carpathia and the Olympic and saw Captain Smith's dawning realization that the ship was beyond salvation.

In a sensational comment, he revealed that a stoker (one of the men who stoked the ship's furnaces with coal) had come into the Titanic's wireless room to steal Phillips's life jacket. Bride attacked him. "I did my duty," he said. "I hope I finished him. I don't know. We left him on the cabin floor of the wireless room and he was not moving." It was never clear from this or subsequent interviews whether Bride was claiming to have killed him or merely to have knocked him unconscious and left him to drown.

Phillips died of exposure while in the water. Bride found the last remaining collapsible boat, but when it was pushed overboard, it landed upside down with him underneath it. Bride managed to swim away as sparks poured from one of the Titanic's funnels, and the ship finally disappeared from view. After some time in the water, he was given space on his original boat, which had since been righted.

Bride gave a detailed account of how the ship's band had carried on playing throughout the sinking. The matter-of-fact way he told the story gave it added poignancy: "From aft came the tunes of the band," he said. "It was a ragtime tune, I don't know what. Then there was 'Autumn.' Phillips ran aft and that was the last I ever saw of him alive."

His description of the ship's final moments suggested that the musicians didn't even attempt to escape in a lifeboat. "The ship was gradually turning on her nose—just like a duck does that goes down for a dive. I had only one thing on my mind—to get away from the suction. The band was still playing. I guess all of the band went down. They were playing 'Autumn' then. I swam with all my might. I suppose I was 150 feet away when the Titanic, on her nose, with her after quarter sticking straight up into the air, began to settle—slowly."

Bride ended by saying that two things about the sinking stood out in his mind above all others. One was that Jack Phillips had continued to send messages even after Captain Smith told him he was free to leave his position and look after his own life. The other was the band that played on. "The way the band kept playing was a noble thing ... How they ever did it I cannot imagine."

The twenty-five-hundred-word first-person account appeared in the next day's New York Times along with fifty-two other stories about the ship. The headline was "Thrilling story by Titanic's wireless man." The subheadings were "Bride tells how he and Phillips worked and how he finished a stoker who tried to steal Phillips's life belt—Ship sank to tune of 'Autumn.' "The image of the lighted ship sliding under the waves ("She was a beautiful sight then"), while the band carried on regardless, captured the public's imagination.

Getting to talk to Bride was a journalistic scoop and one that would be associated with Van Anda for the rest of his life. But there was another journalist who'd been one step ahead. Unbeknown to the New York Times, Carlos F. Hurd, a thirty-six-year-old reporter from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, owned by Ralph Pulitzer, had been with his wife, Katherine, on the Carpathia as a paying passenger headed for the Mediterranean when it had diverted to pick up the Titanic survivors.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Band that Played On by Steve Turner. Copyright © 2011 Steve Turner. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Contents

Introduction, vii,
1. "That glorious band.", 1,
2. "The world's greatest liner.", 17,
3. "A man with the highest sense of duty.", 33,
4. "I will write to you on board the Titanic.", 49,
5. "An exceptionally good performer on the piano.", 59,
6. "A thorough and conscientious musician.", 73,
7. "The life of every ship he ever played on.", 91,
8. "An intellectual turn of mind.", 101,
9. "The Titanic is now about complete.", 111,
10. "We have a fine band.", 121,
11. "A solemnity too deep for words.", 135,
12. "It is with great sadness that I have to give you the painful news.", 155,
13. "If you think you have a legal claim.", 177,
14. "A natural fruit of the evil of the age.", 187,
15. "The sweets of notoriety.", 197,
16. "I should cling to my old violin.", 213,
Sources, 223,
General Bibliography, 225,
Printed Sources, 227,
Notes, 239,
Picture Credits, 243,
About the Author, 245,
Index, 247,

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 56 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 16, 2011

    The Band That Played On

    'The Band That Played On' by Steve Turner is the story of the eight musicians who stayed back aboard the Titanic playing till the very end on her ill fated maiden voyage. The concept that makes this book stand out is the story behind how the band members came together "and how their music served as the haunting sound track for one of modern history's most tragic maritime disasters".

    I read this book at one go and I must say that the research work done in writing it was phenomenal. Not only are the musicians dealt with in depth, about their past and achievements but also the theories about the sinking of the Titanic are discussed and various angles explored. In addition to the writing, there are numerous photos and sketches to hold one's attention.

    This is a great book for all ages and inspires us with the hope that we can all be heroes.

    12 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 13, 2011

    Interesting

    I have read a lot about the Titanic but this is the first book that I've read devoted to the musicians. W. Hartley, C. Krins, R. Bricoux, W.T. Brailey, J. Woodward, J.F. Clarke, J.L. Hume, P.C. Taylor I learned some things that shocked me. Families actually had to pay to get their family member back. If they were lucky enough to be found and identified! Families had to pay for embalming and transportation of the body home. Since the Titanic did not finish it's voyage, full pay was not sent, deductions were made for the remaining days. This is sickening. We learn about each member if the band, their background, the way they wound up onboard and where their families are today. Did they play voluntarily or was it under the order of their band leader or the captain? That is a question that will never be answered. Did they really play Nearer My God to thee as so many reported? My question.....does it really matter? Tor me, regardless of the what's and whys, these men gave their lives while trying to help others. Their playing of music no matter what kind or what songs, helped people to feel calmer in the midst of chaos. They, like the captain,went down with the ship. Only three of their bodies were recovered. They are heros. I especially liked the photos. They tell their own story about the people and places in them. The book was well researched and includes lots of interesting trivia. Recommended for any one who has an interest in the Titanic.

    10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 3, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    The book that tells another side of the Titanic story.

    The Band that Played On
    The Extraordinary Story of the 8 Musicians Who Went Down with the Titanic
    By Steve Turner
    Published by Thomas Nelson

    Like so many other people, I have always been fascinated by the tragic and doomed first voyage of the magnificent Titanic. So much has been written about the survivors, the conditions on board the ship and the amazing rediscovery of the wreck at the bottom of the Atlantic. Then came James Cameron's epic film, with the evocative scene of the band, heroically playing to try to keep the passengers and crew calm , before the ship finally sank with such dreadful loss of life.

    But are any of these names familiar ?
    Wallace Hartley
    Roger Bricoux
    William "Theo" Brailey
    John Wesley Woodward
    Percy Cornelius Taylor
    Fred Clarke
    Georges Krins
    Jock Hume


    These were the band members who provided music on board the ship throughout the voyage.
    They came from a variety of backgrounds and educations; two were French, but all were united in their love of music and a certain longing for travel, excitement and adventure.
    For the first time, the story of these men, their lives, families, work and music has been told. This truly fascinating and thoroughly enjoyable book tells us about these men, and how their loved ones reacted to the news of their deaths, and what happened to them afterwards.


    BookSneeze® provided me with a complimentary copy of this book.

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 8, 2011

    The Band That Played On

    Everyone knows the story of the Titanic sinking. The tale has been told in several movies and countless books. However, there is one aspect of the story that has not been told, that of the musicians who chose to play as the ship sank.

    The book starts out recounting the tale of that fateful night that the ship sank. There were a few details in there that I hadn't known about. I guess that was because most of what I knew was from the movies.

    For instance, did you know that the reason for the media black out was not because they were afraid for public panic. It was because The New York Times had struck a deal with Mr. Marconi in order to get an inside scoop. This media black out even prevented President Taft from finding out if his military aide, Major Archibald Butt, had even survived.

    However, the most interesting part was learning about the humble beginnings of these men. Before reading this book, I had no clue that it was actually two different bands that had ended up playing together on that fateful day. The ship had commissioned two bands. One band had five musicians and the other band had three. So there were a total of eight musicians.

    There were interconnections between the eight musicians, but before that night, they had never all come together to play as a group.

    I found out that one of them actually lived not too far from my great grandfather in Burnley, England. I doubt that they would have known each other since they were from different backgrounds. But it was just interesting to read about a life and time from when some of my family were.

    This book was extremely riveting. Those men's lives were ripped away from them when they were just starting to really live them.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    inspiring history...

    The story of the ship Titanic has fascinated a lot of people throughout the years. This is, however, the first time that a book has actually attempted to focus the attention on the band that played on and chose to die with the great ship rather than save their lives. Their lives and what they stood for in that ship has truly been an inspiration for many years and for many people. Steve Turner has done a wonderful job of giving today's generation a chance to know more about this band and the values that their sacrifice upholds.

    There are times I felt like the story was meandering too much off course. But all those information that seemed excessive at first proved to be useful in better understanding the personality of each of the members of the band who hoped to inspire calm and courage in the passenger's lives even at the expense of their own. It also showed how these men's death has affected their families as well as the whole world's view of many things, including its own core values. A fascinating, informative read, that could use a little nitpicky editing, but has truly told the gist of the inspiring tale of these men who died fulfilling every musician's dream of inspiring the world with their music.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 12, 2011

    Good Book

    "The Band That Played On" is a non-fiction book about the eight musicians who nobly continued playing as the Titanic sank in 1912. This book takes you deeper than just the fact that eight musicians gave up their lives with dignity-you learn more about who they were before the Titanic, and perhaps who they had hoped to become.




    The research that was done for this book is, to me, incredible. I loved hearing about how the Titanic's band members were chosen-the story before the story. Although this book was a little slow going for my taste, I did enjoy all of the history that covered every page. The photographs were amazing and scattered everywhere throughout the book. I would recommend this book to anyone who has a love for history. Steve Turner did a great job painting a clearer and more accurate picture of what exactly those eight courageous men did on April 15, 1912.




    I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 14, 2011

    Mysteries Revealed

    Steve Turner, author of many other music related books like The Man Called Cash and Amazing Grace, explores the little information known about the eight musicians in his book The Band That Played On: The Extraordinary Story of the 8 Musicians Who Went Down with the Titanic. Accompanying each man's story are the interwoven details of the Titanic, forming a lovely biographical and historical tale that is sure to touch the hearts of readers.


    Author Steve Turner does a wonderful job of chronologically organizing events in the lives of the musicians - Wallace Hartley, John Wesley Woodward, Percy Cornelius Taylor, Georges Krins, Roger Bricoux, Fred Clark, William Brailey and John Law Hume - while adding necessary and interesting details about the time in which they lived. I especially enjoyed the black and white photos, included in each chapter, of newspaper headlines, musicians's head shots, and buildings that added to the reality of the story.


    Turner also gives readers interesting information about the aftermath of the sinking, like how the families were affected and what steps were taken to officially honor the musicians. I especially enjoyed the last chapter, "'I Should Cling to My Old Violin,'" which takes a look at the mystery behind Wallace Hartley's violin, which was said to be recovered along with his body but never mentioned again in the public scene or in any family records . . . until a few years ago. It seems a perfect ending to a book that unveils so much of the mystery of the musicians's lives. The mystery of the Titanic lives on.

    Because this is a historical non-fiction book, it is easy at times to feel bogged down in the immense details, but the overall story is well worth it. Of course I'm not likely to remember the date that so-and-so had his first real musician's gig, but I will remember the overwhelming assurance that even the lowly, the ordinary, and the unknown can impact an entire ship and even an entire world. And that is why I love this book so much. If ever there were a book that spoke so much of the ability of ordinary people to do something extraordinary, The Band That Played On is it. May the eight musicians who played on the Titanic never be forgotten.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 31, 2011

    A new chapter on the Titanic Story.....

    Many people know about the historic event of the Titanic sinking into the ocean. Many have seen the movie with Leo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. Much has been written about the captain and the various notable passengers. But what about the band? Steve Turner sheds light on an often missed group when people talk or think about the Titanic disaster.

    The Band that Played On: The Extraordinary Story of the 8 Musicians Who Went Down with the Titanic is exactly that - an extraordinary story. Although they had already retired for the evening, when most of the First Class passengers had taken to their lifeboats, the musicians simply moved to the deck and continued to play, calming the passengers as the ship sank. There are various accounts as to what the last song they last played was.some say "L'Automme" and some said "Nearer My God To Thee." Whichever the song, their actions were extraordinary. They could have made attempts at survival, aiming for the lifeboats but instead they stayed and played, offering what comfort they could with their music. But who were these men? What was their legacy? Steve Turner's book sheds light on their incredible story.

    This book, while biographical in nature, tells a very touching story; inspires the reader to look beyond themselves and to consider the needs of others. Definitely good to read when you need your spirits lifted. It's a feel-good read and a book that I will definitely turn back to down the road. This book is highly recommended for book clubs or personal reflection. Would also make a great gift.


    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 15, 2011

    Book Review: The Band That Played On

    This year marks the 100th Anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Thousands of pages have been written about the tragedy from almost every angle possible. However, Steve Turner has taken a different angle in his book, The Band That Played On: The Extraordinary Story of the 8 Musicians Who Went Down on the Titanic. He uncovers in great detail the lives of these eight men who, as one survivor revealed, played Nearer, My God, To Thee as they went down with the ship.

    Turner begins with the fateful evening April 14, 1912, and sets the scene of these extraordinary band members. The remainder of the book is focused upon the biographical background of each of the musicians. Not only their history but for the book's purpose, how they came to be a part of the band aboard the Titanic.

    I found the biographical detail to be a little much for my attention span. The research is very thorough but not as captivating as I anticipated. In the end, it is an intriguing read for someone interested in a biographical history.

    I give this book a 2.5 out of 5.



    ________________

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

    I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2011

    Bravery

    The story is awsome with a dash of AMazIn

    1 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 27, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Experience History Through The Lives Of Eight Brave Men

    Steve Turner in his new book, "The Band That Played On" published by Thomas Nelson writes about the eight men that comprised the music on the maiden voyage of the Titanic.

    On April 14, 1912 the R.M.S. Titanic struck an iceberg at 11:45p.m., was severely damaged and began to take on water. At 2:20 on the morning of April 15th the Titanic sank into the Atlantic taking 1,517 of her passengers with her. Many books and movies have been made about this doomed luxury liner some had named the ship that could not sink. Historian, biographer and music journalist Steve Turner has written a book that does not focus on the rivets and bolts of the ship but on the eight men that made up the ship's band. With great skill he brings to life the band member's individual stories and their final act of bravery that people still talk about today.

    One hundred years ago, in May, 1911, the Titanic was launched and she had her maiden voyage in April of 1912. On board were eight fine musicians led by Wallace Hartley who comprised "that glorious band" who, while the ship was sinking, continued to play right up to the very end. "The Band That Played On" is an intimate look at each of these mens lives and the journey to the ship that ended them.

    Each man knew the power of their music and each man knew the terror of the passengers as Titanic sank. So all eight men put their personal safety aside and played so that those that survived in the lifeboats could hear their music while they sat in the cold darkness of the Atlantic and those that were left behind could have some music that would help to bring them some peace. The story was told by the survivors that the last song this band played before the Titanic sank into the ocean was the hymn, "Nearer My God To Thee". The book does not end when this ship sinks as there is more to the lives of these men after this tragedy. Whether or not you are a Titanic follower this book will captivate you. Steve Turner has done an excellent job of bringing us back in time to relive this moment of history through the lives of these eight men. I recommend this book highly.

    If you would like to listen to interviews with other authors and professionals please go to Kingdom Highlights where they are available On Demand.

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    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book for free from Thomas Nelson for this review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255 : "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 15, 2011

    Awesome book!!

    I find it fitting that today is April 14, 2011 and exactly 99 years ago today the Titanic was hit by and iceberg. This is also the day that I submit my review for the book The Band Played On by Steve Turner and published by Thomas Nelson (who gave me a free copy of the book in exchange for a honest review).
    I remember seeing the movie the Titanic when it came out in the later part of the 1990's I remember think about the part when the band stayed on the ship and played the hymn Nearer my God to Thee. It is a beautiful hymn and one that I enjoy very much. But I thought all of that was just Hollywood making a movie dramatic and good. I never thought that they truly happened that that there was such a great story behind each of those band members.
    This book is well written and very well reached. I enjoyed reading this book. I did however feel it a little slow getting into but that last part of the book it very well done. If you are a history buff like me then you should really pick up this book. You will enjoy it very much.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 4, 2011

    The Band That Played On

    I enjoy reading book that are inspired by true stories. One such story that has had much written about it is the sinking of the RMS Titanic on April 15, 1912 as a result of striking an iceberg on her maiden voyage from Southampton, England to New York City. There have been many different approaches taken in telling this story. A new and refreshing approach to this maritime disaster comes from author Steve Turner in his new book, The Band That Played On, The Extraordinary Story of the 8 Musicians Who Went Down with the Titanic. In his work, Turner investigates and chronicles the stories of the eight men that had played aboard the Titanic and the personal journeys that had brought each of them to that ill-fated voyage. Turner has done a superb job of telling the story of these eight men without going into detail about the tragedy itself, only sharing what is necessary to tie the story together. He explores each of the band member's early lives, education, musical passion, and reasons for boarding the Titanic (ranging from the adventure, to the financial support of family, to the challenge of new experiences in their chose field. Prior to boarding the Titanic, these men had experienced limited popularity. Three of them had never been aboard ship, while the other five had moved quite a bit from ship to ship under contract. At the heart of the book is the account of a number of the band members who made their way to the deck after the Titanic struck the iceberg. The band played on while the ship sank, hoping in some way to calm the passengers in spite of the chaos around them. They remained at their post until the very end with their final musical piece being the hymn "Nearer, My God to Thee". Much of the information in this book is newly discovered and will be a great find for history and Titanic enthusiasts. "The Band That Played On" is well written, inspirational, and does great justice to the music profession. It serves as a story of bravery, passion, and compassion. I highly recommend it. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Booksneeze in exchange for my honest review.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2013

    Boring!!!

    Very well researched but the information was delivered in the most boring fashion. Took forever to read because I never could get excited to pick it up.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 8, 2012

    Informative but dry

    I would only recommend this one if you are a real history buff. its just facts and dates

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  • Posted July 24, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent:

    enjoyable story, found out things that I had not read in other Titanic books.

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  • Posted June 26, 2012

    Surprisingly riveting.

    I say surprisingly only because, while I am passionate about anything Titanic related, I wasn't sure if a book about early 20th century musicians would be particularly interesting. I read it anyway, because I'll read anything having anything to do with the Titanic. I was very pleasantly surprised. Turner manages to make a series of human interest stories, well, interesting. He reveals the humanity and the personal lives of these men that died doing their duty. Who they loved, who loved them, why they did what they did. I got sucked in. Highly recommended.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2012

    Excellent Story

    We all know the story, but this book gives us information that we did not know before. Well worth it if you enjoy the learning about Titanic history.

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  • Posted May 19, 2012

    Interesting

    The author obviously did much research to find details about the musicians on the Titanic. I found the book interesting, but at times it reads a bit like a research paper rather than a gripping story of the musicians' lives. Some chapters are great reading, while others contain so many names that I was having trouble remembering who was who when the names appeared again. If you are interested in the Titanic tragedy, then you would enjoy this book which approaches the story from a new slant.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2012

    Highly Recommended - you must check it out!!

    Excellent book! An in-depth story not only about the band members, also about many people who played a part before the Titanic was built; and those who were on the largest ship of its time sailing to America. Steve Turner brought to life each character in the book. I felt I was living the story from beginning to end. Excellent book!

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