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

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

4.4 11
by Richard Davenport-Hines
     
 

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It has been one hundred years since the sinking of the passenger liner Titanic in the North Atlantic, yet worldwide fascination with the epic tragedy remains as strong as ever. With Voyagers of the Titanic, Richard Davenport-Hines gives us a magnificent history of the people intimately connected with the infamous ship—from deal-makers and

Overview

It has been one hundred years since the sinking of the passenger liner Titanic in the North Atlantic, yet worldwide fascination with the epic tragedy remains as strong as ever. With Voyagers of the Titanic, Richard Davenport-Hines gives us a magnificent history of the people intimately connected with the infamous ship—from deal-makers and industry giants, like J.P. Morgan, who built and operated it; to Molly Brown, John Jacob Astor IV, and other glittering aristocrats who occupied its first class cabins; to the men and women traveling below decks hoping to find a better life in America. Commemorating the centennial anniversary of the great disaster, Voyagers of the Titanic offers a fascinating, uniquely original view of one of the most momentous catastrophes of the 20th century.

Editorial Reviews

Sunday Times (UK)
“A shattering human story that is also, when told as well as Davenport-Hines tells it, utterly compelling.”
The Spectator (UK)
“This will not be the last book on the Titanic, but it is a safe bet that there will not be a better.”
Simon Winchester
“Here at last is the true memorial ... a book well worthy of marking the centenary of the crystal-clear night when the immense ship slid to her terrible doom”
Julian Fellowes
“An astonishing work, of meticulous research, which allows us to know, in painful detail, the men and women on that fateful voyage. Even now, a hundred years later, Mr. Davenport-Hines finds a new, and heart-breaking, story to tell.”
Entertainment Weekly
“Paints a provocative portrait of the “upstairs, downstairs” social stratification in play aboard the doomed ship. A-”
Wall Street Journal
“The story of the Titanic has been told many times; this one takes a sociological perspective, with the confident, graceful prose of fine fiction.”
USA Today
“Impressive in both its writing and reporting... It’s a romp. You don’t know who will be strolling down the deck next.”
The Telegraph (UK)
“Eloquent and absorbing… It will stay afloat long after the armada of other Titanic books have gone down.”
Women's Wear Daily.com
“Meticulous... detailed account.”
Denver Post
“This intelligent book focuses not on the ship so much as its passengers. Bolstered by photographs of the people who built, staffed, sailed on and survived the Titanic, Davenport-Hines finds a slew of new points of view from which to scan history.”
Publishers Weekly
An entire class structure, and its ethnic and gender stereotyping, goes down with the ship in this richly textured study of the 1912 Titanic catastrophe. Davenport-Hines (Proust at the Majestic) focuses on the pre-iceberg ship as a microcosm of Edwardian society: first class the redoubt of plutocrats, brittle manners and social snubbing, diamonds and haute couture; second class a genteel haven for school-teachers, ministers, and bounders on the make; third class awash in hopeful immigrant strivers; the proletarian crew toiling beside hellish coal furnaces or kowtowing to imperious state-room divas. It’s a world of finely graded, contemptuous distinctions—signs on the ship prohibited the mingling of classes—which the author embroiders with vivid biographical sketches of passengers from the squirrely tycoon John Jacob Astor to the forgotten denizens of steerage. Then, in the author’s well-paced, judicious account of the sinking, the reigning verities of upper-crust, Anglo-Saxon competence and chivalry capsize in a flounder of well-intentioned bungling. (Men were sternly turned away from lifeboats that were then launched half-empty because many women were too timid—or brave—to board them.) Davenport-Hines gives us a meticulous, engrossing recreation of the disaster and the social reality that shaped it. Photos. (Mar.)
Library Journal
Davenport-Hines (Auden) presents a detailed collective biography of practically everyone involved with Titanic, from her most (and least) famous passengers to the sailors to the shipbuilders. Even the iceberg gets a backstory and denouement. Especially poignant are the stories about the passengers emigrating to the United States in search of employment or joining family members already established here. Also of interest is the section on the officers and crew, which describes their work and living conditions aboard the ship, a topic normally overlooked in favor of descriptions of the first-class luxuries. VERDICT Except for a few vexing spots (even after 100 years, some authors still inaccurately state that the Morse code signal SOS is an abbreviation for "save our souls"), this is a well-researched and appealing read. Recommended for those interested in the personal angles of the story. (Illustrations not seen.) [See Prepub Alert, 9/19/11.]
Kirkus Reviews
A moving account of the people who sailed into maritime history on the doomed Titanic. In this eloquent, meticulously researched biography of the ship's international "cast of characters," biographer, historian and journalist Davenport-Hines (Ettie: The Intimate Life and Dauntless Spirit of Lady Desborough, 2008, etc.) commemorates the centenary of the "most terrible wreck in the history of shipping." Rather than highlight the class divisions and antagonisms that James Cameron brought to the fore in his 1997 film, the author examines what the actual voyage meant to the different people involved with the ship. For some, an "Atlantic crossing was a regular trip they made twice or more often a year." For others, the trip meant separation from everything they had ever known. However mundane or momentous, a sea voyage was an event that reshaped human relationships on either side of the Atlantic. In his treatment of the voyagers themselves, Davenport-Hines is as democratic as his premise. He devotes one chapter to each type of person on board--sailors, crewmembers, first-, second- and third-class passengers. His stories about such notable figures as Ben Guggenheim, John Jacob Astor and Lady Duff Gordon stand side by side with those of ordinary men and women. Davenport-Hines also offers compelling portraits of the Titanic's powerful godfathers: "Lord [William James] Pirrie, whose shipyard built it, Bruce Ismay, whose company operated it, and Pierpont Morgan, who owned it." The book has all the inevitability and pathos of Greek tragedy, but by maintaining the personal dimension, the author transforms a narrative of monumental hubris meeting human error into a haunting story of real, intersecting lives on a collision course with destiny.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061876868
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
03/26/2013
Pages:
342
Sales rank:
380,219
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

What People are saying about this

Simon Winchester

“Here at last is the true memorial ... a book well worthy of marking the centenary of the crystal-clear night when the immense ship slid to her terrible doom”

Julian Fellowes

“An astonishing work, of meticulous research, which allows us to know, in painful detail, the men and women on that fateful voyage. Even now, a hundred years later, Mr. Davenport-Hines finds a new, and heart-breaking, story to tell.”

Meet the Author

Richard Davenport-Hinesis the acclaimed biographer of W. H. Auden and the Macmillan dynasty. He is also the author of Proust at the Majestic: The Last Days of the Author Whose Book Changed Paris and The Pursuit of Oblivion: A Global History of Narcotics. He is a regular contributor to the U.K. publications Literary Review, Sunday Telegraph, Spectator, and the Times Literary Supplement.

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Voyagers of the Titanic: Passengers, Sailors, Shipbuilders, Aristocrats, and the Worlds They Came From 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
Titanic fans will definitely want to read this one! Now that the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic is almost here, I've had the blessed opportunity to be able to review some incredible new books out about the disaster. One such incredible book is called, Voyagers of the Titanic by Richard Davenport-Hines. In this historical non fiction book, Richard takes the readers some place most books have never gone, in depth into the back stories behind everything you've ever wanted to know regarding the Titanic, those who built her and sailed on that fateful voyage. He introduces you to the first, second and third class passengers as if you meet each of the people he describes in detail. From what the menu consisted of, to what they did for entertainment on each of the class decks and most interestingly, where the iceberg may have originated from. While most books that you'll have an opportunity to read on the sinking of the Titanic will often give you an overview of what happened that night and how she inevitably sank, this one brings to life all the souls she lost and even those who survived that night. While did the California not respond to her distress messages, why would a seasoned Captain ignore the warning of an iceberg, how did Margaret Brown become so friendly with John Jacob Astor IV, one of the richest men on board, how much did the tickets cost that separated each class from one another, and were second and third class passengers really prevented from escaping aboard the lifeboats as James Cameron depicted in his movie? All these amazing questions are answered in this book along with so much more, that if you are a Titanic fan yourself or know of someone who is, this is the perfect book! Discover what some people died with as they departed the Titanic, what some considered most valuable to them; learn how Titanic was built and what precautions were considered in her building to address three vital factors ship builders at the time had to address; what did Margaret Brown do before she became a wealthy woman; why did the Titanic not have enough lifeboats on board; what items were brought on board the Titanic by all the classes of people; how did fate play a role in people who chose to cancel their tickets and didn't die on the Titanic; why didn't some people when told to get into a lifeboat, instead went back their rooms even though the ship was clearly taking on water? I received Voyagers of the Titanic compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins publishers for my honest review and thoroughly enjoyed reading about this fated ship from beginning to the very end. Being a huge fan of history and the Titanic, I enjoyed reading about Margaret Brown and John Jacob Astor's unique connection as well as chapters dividing into each class of passengers; from whom they were, how much they paid, what their accommodations were like, what they ate, and what happened when each learned that the ship had hit an iceberg, what did it sound like where they were and so much, much more! I easily give this one a 5 out of 5 stars and plan to re-read this one again and again. There is even a section of photos that takes the reader back to the ship almost a hundred years ago.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm not finished with it yet, so far though its pretty good. It goes over the history of not only the Titanic itself, but also events which occured prior to her departing from South Hampton with the white star line company, the strike, the seperate classes of people & more. Highly recommended!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm still in the process of reading this book and do recommend this to anyone that is interested in the Titanic.
efm More than 1 year ago
Informative,sad,compelling.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am reading the Voyagers of the Titanic. Hines has lovely stories to tell about the sailors, sophisticates and common people who sailed the doomed ship.
InTheBookcase More than 1 year ago
This book is all-around enriching, enlightening and bursting with Titanic information. Of all the books I've read on the subject, this one ranks #2 right under Walter Lord's classic account(s). The author of  "Voyagers of the Titanic" has outlined the chapters by subjects. In one chapter, you can read about the about the lives of the ship owners, in another, read about the ship builders. Then comes an entire chapter devoted to the First Class passengers, then everything you want to know about Second Class and Third. The quality of the imagination is amazing and it keeps a person intrigued for more. Oh, the little things I learned about Bruce Ismay & Lord Pirrie! Before, they were just names in the Titanic story, but now I understand much more about them, what their personalities were like, etc. And who knew that Milton Hershey ("aka the creator of Hershey chocolate ") was planning to travel on the Titanic – but canceled! Seriously, this book is now a favorite of mine. I would greatly encourage any maritime enthusiast to read it, because these pages have volumes packed into them!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sinking ship, iceberg, lifeboats, uh...bob,how more stuff do i need to do
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
P.