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Saturday, November 03, 2007

RMS Titanic 

I can't remember when I first became fascinated with the tragic story of the Titanic. It seems to have always been part of my life. Indeed, it seems a story that is never far from public consciousness. Very few people would be ignorant of the catastrophe.

Many will have seen the film with Kate Winslett and Leonardo di Caprio. I watched it and enjoyed it although paid little or no attention to the romance between their characters, being much more interested in the ship itself and upset at its eventual demise and of the huge loss of life.

Others will have seen A Night to Remember, in which Kenneth More played 2nd Officer Lightoller, the most senior surviving officer from the ship. I saw this as well.

I have also seen Titanic the Musical and have blogged about it earlier. It was an emotional production, an unusual choice of subject for musical theatre but gorgeously compelling.

I have just finished reading about the ship in a book called "Unsinkable": The Full Story of the RMS Titanic by Daniel Allen Butler, hoping to glean some facts about the ship's first and last voyage without all the emotional baggage presented in the films and show.

Facts were there a plenty. Measurements, dates, times and the names of passengers and crew. It was almost easy to lose interest in the book at the early stages, especially in the overly florid and detailed description of the train journey from Waterloo to Southampton.

However, this is not a story that can ever be devoid of emotion. I was surprised to find myself becoming upset, almost to the point of tears, when reading on the train about the attempted evacuation of the ship. I had to put the book away.

The people that had to be left behind, the ones that survived knowing that people they loved were about to die, the ones that nearly made it, only to be killed by a falling funnel or the bitterly cold North Atlantic water, all are brought to life in the book.

I think I have become obsessed.

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I'll be interested to know your thoughts on the book once you've finished it. Hopefully, you will.

Sincerely,

Daniel Allen Butler
 
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