How to Survive the Titanic

How to Survive the Titanic

The Sinking of J. Bruce Ismay

Book - 2011
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Award-winning historian Frances Wilson delivers a gripping new account of the sinking of the RMS Titanic, looking at the collision and its aftermath through the prism of the demolished life and lost honor of the ship's owner, J. Bruce Ismay. In a unique work of history evocative of Joseph Conrad's classic novel Lord Jim, Wilson raises provocative moral questions about cowardice and heroism, memory and identity, survival and guilt--questions that revolve around Ismay's loss of honor and identity as his monolithic venture--a ship called "The Last Word in Luxury" and "The Unsinkable"--was swallowed by the sea and subsumed in infamy forever.
Publisher: New York : HarperCollins Publishers, 2011.
Edition: 1st U.S. ed.
ISBN: 9780062094544
Branch Call Number: BIO ISMAY J. Wilson 10/2011
Characteristics: xi, 328 p., [32] p. of plates :,ill., maps ;,25 cm.


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Feb 12, 2013

A melancholy and rambling biography of a melancholy and rambling man. Wilson muses on the ethics of survival, and the Edwardian assumptions that would soon be shot to hell by World War I. Recommended for steam punks and readers of Josef Conrad.

milkandcheese Jun 28, 2012

While the book is generally well written, Frances Wilson works too hard to rehabilitate Bruce Ismay. Comparisons with "Lord Jim" are dragged in to pad the book (which could easily have been edited). The background of the Ismay family is one of coldness and devotion to money. Bruce Ismay is a curiously hollow figure with no apparent sense of ethics...he actually began to court the widow of one of the TITANIC'S passengers in a series of letters that she finally ended when she realized who, or what, she was dealing with. Ismay richly deserves the ignominy and much of the responsibility for the disaster rests with him.


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