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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Titanic again 

Yes, I know. I'm obsessed.

However, I wanted to write about the book that I had just finished reading, The Story of the Titanic As Told by Its Survivors, which contains eye-witness accounts from four of the survivors, Lawrence Beesley, a second-class passenger, Colonel Archibald Gracie, a first-class passenger, Commander Lightoller, the Titanic's Second Officer, and Harold Bride, Marconi Operator.

The book was fascinating although heavy going in places. However, I'm not going to review it here. I placed a very short review on my Virtual Bookshelf in Facebook so go there if you want to read it.

However, what struck me in all of the accounts, which I wanted to highlight here, was that each of them very carefully stressed how calm and orderly people were on the decks of the ship as it was sinking. There was no screaming, no panic, no running around and no jumping into the sea until right at the very end.

When the men were asked to put women and children first, they actually stood back and let them.

There is the argument that many people did not believe that the ship would sink until the water was lapping at their shoes but I was wondering how much of a product of its time was this behaviour? I doubt very much if people from 2007 put in the same situation would behave with nearly as much decorum.

Few people I know would remain that calm in the face of certain death. I'm not sure I could.

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