Book Review: A Night to Remember

Posted November 11, 2015 by Kara in book review, Kara / 1 Comment

Book Review: A Night to RememberA Night to Remember by Walter Lord, Nathaniel Philbrick
Published by Holt Paperbacks on January 7th 2005
Genres: classics, historical, nonfiction
Pages: 208
Format: Paperback
Source: Gifted
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The classic minute-by-minute account of the sinking of the Titanic, in a 50th anniversary edition with a new introduction by Nathaniel Philbrick
First published in 1955, A Night to Remember remains a completely riveting account of the Titanic's fatal collision and the behavior of the passengers and crew, both noble and ignominious. Some sacrificed their lives, while others fought like animals for their own survival. Wives beseeched husbands to join them in lifeboats; gentlemen went taut-lipped to their deaths in full evening dress; and hundreds of steerage passengers, trapped below decks, sought help in vain.
Available for the first time in trade paperback and with a new introduction for the 50th anniversary edition by Nathaniel Philbrick, author of In the Heart of the Sea and Sea of Glory, Walter Lord's classic minute-by-minute re-creation is as vivid now as it was upon first publication fifty years ago. From the initial distress flares to the struggles of those left adrift for hours in freezing waters, this semicentennial edition brings that moonlit night in 1912 to life for a new generation of readers.

I’ve always been interested in the Titanic. I’m actually pretty interested in shipwrecks in general. I grew up on the Great Lakes, and I read a lot about the many ships that have gone down there. I saw the Titanic movie (who hasn’t?), I’ve played this AMAZING computer game (Titanic: Adventure Out of Time), and now I’ve read this. A Night to Remember is a must-read classic for anyone interested in the story behind the sinking. All the facts are there, plus a few I didn’t already know. The author lets you know which ones are true, which ones are probable but not proven, and which ones are hearsay. And believe me, there are a lot of so-called facts out there about Titanic that have not been proven.

The book is short–a little under 200 pages–but it doesn’t feel rushed at all. It’s atmospheric without being overly wordy, and it’s very informative. There’s not a lot to be said about this book that hasn’t already been said in the many reviews on Goodreads, and those reviews are what prompted me to pick up this book in the first place.

It’s factual but never boring; the story of Titanic’s maiden voyage and sinking could not possibly be boring if a writer tried to make it so. The only thing that I had trouble with (and it wasn’t the book’s fault) is keeping all the names straight. There are just so many people involved, so many survivors were interviewed, and I suck at names. So there were times when I had to flip back and forth to remember what someone said or did earlier. These were things I wanted to remember.

I wish there was some way to tour the ship, even if it was virtually online. There are games, and there are websites, but I never feel like I have gotten enough. I just want to know and feel what it was like to be there so badly. There’s a part two to this book that I am going to pick up at some point–it focuses more on the events afterward, like the American and British Inquiries, so I definitely want to read that as well.

This is probably a book I am going to read time and time again, whenever I have a craving to refresh my memory. And it’s definitely a book I will hang on to, because there is a lot of crap out there, and this is not it. If you have any interest in the Titanic at all, I would definitely recommend this. The writing is great, it’s fast-paced, and very nearly places you at the scene of the accident. I loved it.

Kara Sig Plant

One response to “Book Review: A Night to Remember

  1. My daughter Mindy (college student0 fell in love with everything Titanic and I had bought her this book for Christmas, and she just loved it!! I hope you get as much enjoyment out of it!!
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