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How to Survive the Titanic: Or, The Sinking of J. Bruce Ismay
     

How to Survive the Titanic: Or, The Sinking of J. Bruce Ismay

2.8 14
by Frances Wilson
 

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On the terrifying, chaotic night of April 14, 1912, while the Titanic was sinking, Bruce J. Ismay, the ship's owner, made a decision that would save his life - and end it. Ismay boarded a lifeboat meant for women and children, and within days became The Most Talked-of Man in the World. Branded a coward, he became a flesh-and-blood embodiment of Joseph Conrad's

Overview

On the terrifying, chaotic night of April 14, 1912, while the Titanic was sinking, Bruce J. Ismay, the ship's owner, made a decision that would save his life - and end it. Ismay boarded a lifeboat meant for women and children, and within days became The Most Talked-of Man in the World. Branded a coward, he became a flesh-and-blood embodiment of Joseph Conrad's legendary eponymous character, Lord Jim. How to Survive the Titanic interweaves numerous historical accounts and sources with insights drawn from Conrad's novels. Unlike other survivors, this pivotal figure never again spoke about the Titanic. This intriguing history offers a sympathetic yet clear eyed explanation why - important lessons all of us need to survive the tragedies and choices of our own lives.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Wilson gives an absorbing account of the disaster and its cultural associations...her approach yields a rich meditation on the mere moment's hesitation that separates cowardice from courage." - Publishers Weekly
"It is a pleasure to read a book that offers something new on this topic. Titanic completists will certainly want this, and also readers of biography and Edwardian-era history." - Library Journal
"The author demonstrates an impressive knowledge of that night to remember." - Kirkus Reviews
"[Ismay's] dramatic story comes to life...Wilson writes eloquently of this classic Icarus tale..." - NPR
"...a gripping study - part reportage, part biography, part literary criticism...a stimulating, very readable book...will fascinate literary and Titanic enthusiasts alike." - The Telegraph
"Just when it seemed impossible to make the story of the Titanic fresh, along comes this sensitive book, full of strange currents, coincidences and pairings...This book finds submerged truths, unravels riddles, listens to echoes...a deep reading of the catastrophe through one hapless, inert man." - London Evening Standard

Library Journal
This new look at the Titanic's sinking, including some previously unpublished letters, peers into the life and psyche of J. Bruce Ismay, the ship's owner who survived the disaster by jumping into a lifeboat filled with women and children. Wilson (The Ballad of Dorothy Wordsworth) not only recounts the events of the terrible night of April 14-15, 1912, but she effectively associates Ismay's cowardice and torment with that of Conrad's Lord Jim, thus adding another dimension to the story. VERDICT British actor Robin Sachs's sonorous voice captures just the right emotional tone. Followers of all things Titanic, historians, and literature lovers will appreciate this audiobook, despite some lengthy accounts of the investigations into the sinking. [See the Titanic centenary audio roundup (p. 60) and print titles on p. 108.] [The Harper Perennial pb will publish in March 2012.—Ed.]—Nancy R. Ives, SUNY at Geneseo
Forbes
“A gripping account…Wilson brings a bright new perspective to the event raising provocative moral questions about cowardice and heroism, memory and identity, survival and guilt.”
BusinessWeek
“Persuasive…examines the disaster afresh through the prism of Ismay’s life…Ultimately, Wilson’s portrait-empathetic rather than sympathetic-depicts Ismay as an Everyman troublingly suited to our own uncertain times.”
Hermione Eyre
“Wilson herself casts a Conradian spell…finds submerged truths, unravels riddles, listens to echoes. This book is a deep reading of the catastrophe through one hapless, inert man.”
Lucy Scholes
“A haunting story…A meticulously researched and eloquently written account of one of the twentieth century’s most iconic disasters [that] explores a man ‘mired in the moment of his jump.’”
Richard Holmes
“A gripping retrospective on the Titanic disaster seen through the eyes of the wealthy ship’s owner…and an inspired interweaving of the moral themes of guilt and responsibility”

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781611204285
Publisher:
Dreamscape Media
Publication date:
10/11/2011
Edition description:
Unabridged
Product dimensions:
6.63(w) x 6.38(h) x 0.43(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

What People are Saying About This

Richard Holmes
“A gripping retrospective on the Titanic disaster seen through the eyes of the wealthy ship’s owner…and an inspired interweaving of the moral themes of guilt and responsibility”
Lucy Scholes
“A haunting story…A meticulously researched and eloquently written account of one of the twentieth century’s most iconic disasters [that] explores a man ‘mired in the moment of his jump.’”
Hermione Eyre
“Wilson herself casts a Conradian spell…finds submerged truths, unravels riddles, listens to echoes. This book is a deep reading of the catastrophe through one hapless, inert man.”

Meet the Author

Frances Wilson was educated at Oxford University and lectured in nineteenth and twentieth century English Literature for fifteen years before becoming a full time writer. Her books include Literary Seductions: Compulsive Writers and Diverted Readers and The Ballad of Dorothy Wordsworth, which won the British Academy Rose Mary Crawshay Award. She reviews widely in the British press, and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She divides her time between London and Normandy.

READER BIO
Robin was born ans raised in London, England, and studied acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). After RADA, Robin spent time performing everything from Shakespeare to Tom Stoppard and touring various parts of the known world. His British TV appearances include Brideshead Revisited, Upstairs Downstairs, and Rumpole of the Bailey. He is probably best known in America for his role on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as well as being in several films.

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How to Survive the Titanic 2.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm about half way through this book right now and debating whether I want to waste more time with it. The author seems to beat to death each and every issue he examines. He devoted a whole chapter on why Ismay jumped/fell/pushed into the boat. I could have written the whole thing in 2 pages. But Wilson examines it every which direction and points of view. Another chapter was devote to the book Lord Jim, and what the similarities were between the two people. I got through the first couple pages of that chapter and skipped the rest. There was a little bit of background on Ismay and his family life, business life. Nothing on the building of the Titanic or problems encounters, or why it sank. But then I am only half way through the book. So far, I would not recommend it unless it came onto the .99cent deal offer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ms Wilson's book contains many inaccuracies, distorted information and factual errors, this may be permissible, for purely fictional books, but not when real people and events are involved. The book states that it was White Star policy to stop crew's pay at the time the ship went down. This was British Maritime Practice to stop crew's pay as soon as they had no ship to serve on right up to the second word war, for most, if not all, even if they had been torpedoed. The Titanic had more lifeboats on board than the Law required.If Mr Ismay had not entered the last lifeboat, with a Mr Carter, which was being lowered, not full, and with no other passengers in sight, this would simply added one more to the casualty list. Both the British and American enquires exonerated Mr Ismay of any wrongdoing, although there were those at both enquiries, who had an axe to grind and tried to incriminate him and use him as a scapegoat. In this anniversary year, of this tragic accident, and in these enlightened times, this persecution of him for profit should cease.
Nuclear_Mike More than 1 year ago
Good coverage of the Titanic and Ismay but it got into James Conrad and "Lord Jim" more than it needed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fascinating but has bizarre chunks dedicated to Joseph Conrad as author tries to draw parallels between Conrad's characters and J.Bruce Ismay. I found the tactic dreary and distracting. Ismay and others, while fascinating in a train-wreck kind of way, are not likeable characters overall.
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macaer More than 1 year ago
An insightful analysis of what happens to bosses when they fail miserably. Sometimes the book veers off into a treatise on Joseph Conrad which is also interesting but not really necessary to the book, but it does highlight the hubris and self-delusion that sometimes intercedes in the decisions that are made by high level executives within the box and competition of corporate win at all cost capitalism. Think any Wall Streeter would benefit from reading this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love reading anything about the Titanic, and when i saw this and read the first paragraph, i instantly fell in love with this author, who is new to me. He captivated me right from the first paragraph and i couldnt put this one down. It is so interesting to get to know what these real people went through instead of just reading about the ship only. Great book, i loved it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It sad that millon people died in the titanic My great great grapa died in the titanic