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The book has been sent to the contest. My last art club session was yesterday. Tomorrow we leave for Spain. But first, one last post about the cruise on St. Lawrence River, which continues to bequite a highlight in our travels.
|Greeters to Halifax, Nova Scotia.|
(I personally love the sound of
bagpipes. They always sound so . . .
eerie and haunting, full of "story".
|Our bus driver and tour|
guide. Unfortunately, I
didn't get his name.
|A wild an desolate place.|
|Desolate, yes, but beautiful.|
|A magical place where anything|
|And a warning of what could happen!|
|Official bagpipe greeter.|
|I did think it was a cold job|
on a foggy day like that.
|But he kindly consented to|
a photograph with me.
|Entry to the cemetery.|
|Directions to that section|
|And this is what met our eyes:|
there were rows and rows like this!
|Some inscription were so|
moving, like this one.
|And this one, too.|
|But this onemoved me the most.|
|There were so many like this.|
|Just numbers. Heart braking!|
There’s much ado about the Titanic these days what with the 1ooth anniversary of its sinking this year. On the Canadian book website 49th Shelf, blog contributor Kerry Clare has compiled a short list of Canadian titles about the famous liner and its sinking. Three of the selected titles are children’s books — That Fatal Night by Sarah Ellis (in the Dear Canada series, Scholastic Canada, 2011), Deadly Voyage by Hugh Brewster (in the I am Canada series, Scholastic Canada, 2011) and Children of the Titanic by Christine Welldon (Nimbus Publishing, 2012.) If you’re at all interested in the disaster and wanting to read of it and about it with your kids, then do check out these titles!Add a Comment
But numbers can only tell us so much. They don’t convey the excitement surrounding the largest and most luxurious ocean liner ever built at the time, the confusion and fear on board when disaster struck, the bravery of many crew members and passengers, or the heartbreak of realizing a loved one did not survive.
As the subtitle of Deborah Hopkinson’s Titanic: Voices from the Disaster implies, this is a human history of the Titanic. After describing the building of the ship and giving readers a sense of its massive scale, Hopkinson introduces some of the crew and passengers (from several countries, and different social backgrounds) who were on board. Their memories add depth and intimacy to events, engaging Titanic buffs as well as readers less familiar with the disaster. Hopkinson does an excellent job weaving multiple voices together—first describing, well, “normal” life on the Titanic for passengers and crew, then the chaos after the iceberg was spotted—with contextual information regarding different aspects of the Titanic (both in terms of what was known or custom at the time, and based on what we know now) into an organically flowing narrative.
Numerous images (photos, reproductions of telegrams, and more) spread throughout the book provide additional atmosphere; it’s one thing to read about some of the amenities on board, but seeing photographs of the gymnasium and a life preserver made of cork give the details even more impact.
The back matter is another thing to rave about here. Seriously, it is awesome, especially if you love back matter as much as I do. It’s comprehensive (comprising about a quarter of the book!), including a glossary, timeline, selected bibliography, source notes, additional biographical information about some of the passengers, and an excerpt from the British Wreck Commissioner’s Inquiry Report.
Book details: middle grade nonfiction, published 2012 by Scholastic, ISBN 9780545116749
Book source: public library.
Cross-posted at Guys Lit Wire.
2012 — What a year to be British!
A year of street parties and river processions for the Jubilee; of officially the best Olympics ever; of opening and closing ceremonies; of Britons winning every medal on offer; of the (admittedly, not British) Tour de France, of David Hockney’s Yorkshire; and of a new James Bond film. Even a first tennis Grand Slam since the days when shorts were trousers and players answered to ‘Bunny’. If asked for the people of 2012 you’d obviously opt for Wiggins, Boyle, Farah, Ennis, Craig, Murray and, of course, Her Majesty the Queen, complete with parachute.
At the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography we too have delighted in these achievements. But, as our remit demands, we’ve also spent this year looking further back at some of the historical Britons celebrated or commemorated during 2012. As the year comes to a close, here are a few highlights — a look back, if you will, on looking back.
It’s been a strong year for anniversaries. We began in February with what’s proved the biggest and longest-running of these celebrations: the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens about whom so much has been said and done in 2012. Other bicentenaries are available, however. In addition to the mighty ‘Boz’, the Oxford DNB includes a further 242 men and women born in 1812. A few did gain some recognition, notably the poets Robert Browning (born 7 May 1812) and Edward Lear, whose birthday fell a week later, but neither could compete with the Our Mutual Friend.
Any smaller and you were submerged in a Dickensian backwash. Thus only a handful of parties for the great Gothic architect Augustus Pugin (1 March) or the Russian-born radical and Anglophile, Alexander Herzen (6 April [New Style]), and probably nothing at all for these two gems from the ODNB list. First, Samuel Isaac (1812-1886) who, despite having ‘no engineering experience’, accepted an invitation to undertake and underwrite the building of the Mersey Tunnel — what’s more successfully (it opened in February 1885). Then there’s Henry James Jones (1812-1891), Bristol baker and ‘the inventor of self-raising flour’ — surely a man deserving a little more recognition in the year of Boz. No Henry James Jones (or yeast) means no fluffy loaf, however Great your Expectations.
Popular anniversaries often highlight artistic or cultural, rather than science-related, episodes from our past. 2012 was a bit different in that it saw celebrations (in June) for the centenary of the mathematician, Alan Turing (1912-1954). Turing’s appeal is due in part to the near universal reach of his work — even if the details of The Turing Machine, and later developments in computer science, leave most of us baffled. There’s also his wartime association with Bletchley Park where he spearheaded the breaking of the German Enigma and Fish codes. But Turing also catches the imagination for his (then) unusual openness towards his sexuality, his arrest and controversial punishment for indecency, his curious death, and the ongoing campaign to have him granted a posthumous pardon.
Turing was rightly deserving of the anniversary events held in 2012, though — as the Oxford DNB again shows — he wasn’t alone among scientific centenarians. In fact, the dictionary offers a further 29 men and women born in 1912 and now remembered for their contributions to scientific and medical fields. They include some remarkable lives: among them the astronomer George Alcock (born 28 August) — who discovered five comets (a British record) and boasted a photographic memory of 30,000 stars — and cardiologist Bill Cleland (30 May), the pioneer of open heart surgery in Britain in the early 1950s. Centenary science (albeit of a much less robust kind) is also marked this month, indeed this week, with the 100th anniversary of the public unveiling of Piltdown Man. Discovered in Sussex, these bone fragments were dated by their finder, Charles Dawson, to 4 million BC and identified as the ‘missing link’ between apes and man. The announcement, made on 18 December 1912, caused a sensation. For four decades Piltdown Man — or Eoanthropus dawsoni, Dawson’s Dawn Man — enjoyed the status of Europe’s oldest known human. Then, in the 1950s, Piltdown was revealed for what he really was: parts of a relatively recent human skull mingled with bones from a small orangutan. In December, therefore, we remember a 100 year-old hoax.
2012 was also a year for looking back at some dramatic, indeed shocking, events. Charles Dickens was just three months old when, on 11 May 1812, the prime minister Spencer Perceval was shot and killed in the Commons lobby — the first and only British premier to suffer this fate. His assailant was John Bellingham, a bankrupt commercial agent who was arrested, tried, and hanged within the week.
On 18 May 1912, exactly 100 years after Bellingham’s execution, 30,000 people gathered in Colne, Lancashire, for the funeral of a local man, Wallace Hartley, a former ship’s musician. So many gathered because that ship was the RMS Titanic, captained by Edward Smith who with Hartley, and more than 1500 others, lost their lives on 15 April 1912. The Titanic disaster — undoubtedly the anniversary event of the year — came within weeks of an equally celebrated episode in popular histories of Britishness. On 19 March 1912 Captain Robert Scott and his two surviving companions pitched their tent for the final time. It was three months since their ‘defeat’ at the South Pole, and three days since their fellow explorer Captain Oates had walked to his death. The men got no further, with Scott the last to die on about 29 March. Looking back from 2012 the tragedies of ‘Scott of the Antarctic’ and the Titanic come in quick succession, a severe blow to Edwardian self-confidence seemingly delivered in the spring of 1912. A centenary ago the chronology was, of course, a little different: not until November 1912 did a search team confirm the deaths of Scott and his party, and it took a further three months for news of this disaster to reach London.
In the coming decades, delays of this kind would become a thing of the past. And last month the BBC marked the 90th anniversary of the reason why: the institution’s first radio broadcast, an event that would soon bring new sounds, voices, opinions, and information into millions of homes. At the helm on 14 November 1922 was the imperious John Reith, manager of what was then the British Broadcasting Company. At the microphone, Arthur Burrows, who announced the results of the general election: Mr Bonar Law 332, David Lloyd George 127.
If you missed Dickens, Turing, Perceval, and Piltdown Man, and would like to get involved there is still time. Between now and the year end why not hold a do-it-yourself celebration for the author of Self-Help, Samuel Smiles (born 23 December 1812)? Or throw a ‘happening’ for the centenary of Birmingham surrealist, Conroy Maddox (27 December)? In a striking coming together of dates, 12 December is also the 150th anniversary of J. Bruce Ismay’s birth. The owner of the White Star shipping line, Ismay is now remembered for his controversial escape from his greatest ship — the RMS Titanic.
And the future? A quick search of the Oxford DNB reveals many reasons to celebrate and commemorate in 2013. Take, for instance, the quatercentenary of library founder Thomas Bodley; the bicentenary of Pride and Prejudice; the 150th anniversary of the London Underground; 100 years of British film censorship; 50 years since Kim Philby’s flight to Russia; Britain’s 40 years in the European Union; or 20 years since the death of Audrey Hepburn. And that’s just January.
Philip Carter is Publication Editor of the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. The Oxford DNB online is freely available via public libraries across the UK. Libraries offer ‘remote access’ allowing members to log-on to the complete dictionary, for free, from home (or any other computer) twenty-four hours a day. In addition to 58,000 life stories, the ODNB offers a free, twice monthly biography podcast with over 165 life stories now available (including the lives of Alan Turing, Piltdown Man, Wallace Hartley, and Captain Scott). You can also sign up for Life of the Day, a topical biography delivered to your inbox, or follow @ODNB on Twitter for people in the news.
The post Looking back on looking back: history’s people of 2012 appeared first on OUPblog.Add a Comment
Titanic: Voices from the Disaster by Deborah Hopkinson, Scholastic Press, 2012, 304 pp, ISBN: 0545116740
By Gregory Mone
The 100th anniversary of the sinking of Titanic is on April 15th, and the wave of events and films and commemorations has already begun. A luxury cruise will soon take passengers to the site of the ship’s demise. Kate and Leo, leaning out over the bow, will return in 3D. At some parties, guests will be served the same dishes that Titanic passengers enjoyed on their journey.
A few years ago I would have thought this was all a little much. I wasn’t a Titanic fanatic. Initially I was more interested in the fascination itself. Why did kids and adults become so obsessed with this tragedy? As I started reading more and more about the great ship, its passengers and crew, and that fateful night, I quickly found myself transformed into another passionate consumer of Titanic lore. I bought too many books, settled into chat rooms to discuss the details of the boilers, and read hundreds of passenger biographies. At one point I spent a whole day studying blueprints. Or maybe it was two days.
In my new book, Dangerous Waters: An Adventure on Titanic, there aren’t any blueprints, but the ship itself is a character. A mythic, unbeatable hero that proves to have a fatal flaw. The story follows a boy named Patrick Waters as he journeys from the steaming hot boilers in the bowels of the ship to the elegant reading and smoking rooms on the upper decks.
In my new book, Dangerous Waters: An Adventure on Titanic, there aren’t any blueprints, but the ship itself is a character. A mythic, unbeatable hero that proves to have a fatal flaw. The story follows a boy named Patrick Waters as he journeys from the steaming hot boilers in the bowels of the ship to the elegant reading and smoking rooms on the upper decks.
Patrick also becomes friends with a passenger named Harry Elkins Widener, a wealthy collector of rare books. Harry isn’t one of the better known passengers – his father scores a passing mention in the Titanic movie, but not Harry himself – yet he was easily one of the most intriguing.
Before boarding Titanic, Harry visited a London dealer named Bernard Quaritch and purchased a number of expensive books. Quaritch offered to ship them all back, but Harry insisted that he wanted to take one with him. He said he’d want it with him in case he was shipwrecked.
I was amazed when I read about this true story – how eerie! And when I found out that the author of that precious book was Sir Francis Bacon, a philosopher with a fondness for codes and secret societies, my imagination got the better of me. What if Bacon had hidden some kind of message inside? And what if certain villainous, unscrupulous individuals were after that message as well?
Oh, the villains. I’m extremely fond of Rockwell and Berryman, the eccentric bad guys in Dangerous Waters, even if they do make life difficult for young Patrick. But I’m not certain I really could have brought them to life without the help of the ship itself, with its contrasts of sumptuous state rooms and simple crew quarters, its hidden passageways and labyrinthine interior.
This 100th anniversary commemoration shows that Titanic herself lives on through the continued fascination of adults like me and the innumerable kids who rush up to their librarians demanding to know more, more, more about the ship. I’ll admit: I won’t be goinAdd a Comment
Tess, in servitude to a rich, unfeeling matron, plans to escape once the Titanic lands in New York City. The night before boarding, she is bullied by a frightening man on the streets of Southhampton, being saved by an equally unsettling, but handsome, young man. As bad luck would have it, both were in first class on the gigantic ship’s maiden voyage. Without much fanfare, Tess finds herself in the middle of a werewolf supremacy battle, and in love with one of them, mysterious, handsome, rich Alec. Paralleling the amazing Titanic movie, these star-crossed lovers transverse 1st to 3rd class navigating the tense war between werewolves. Tess is saved from death, even her beautiful BLONDE locks, which the cover does not depict. (Old cover, new cover seen here is correct. But does she looks like a servant?) Though Alec and his nemesis lie with the dead for identification, can she be sure of their state? I can see another series brewing. Gothic/ supernatural/love fans will enjoy the book.
ENDERS' Rating: ****
The latest news for period drama fans is that Julian Fellowes, creator and writer of Downton Abbey, has created a four-part ITV mini-series commemorating the centenary of the Titanic sinking. Publicity indicates that ‘Titanic’ will feature a mix of real and fictional characters. However, what many viewers may not realise is that there was a real Fellowes on board the ship in 1912. But rather than being an ancestor of the popular writer, Alfred J. Fellowes was a humble crew member and one of the estimated 1,514 people to perish in the maritime disaster.
Alfred Fellowes was part of the ‘victualing crew’: his official position was Assistant Boots Steward in First Class, and he received monthly wages of only £3 15s. Born in Liverpool, Fellowes was 29 years old, single, and he joined the Titanic at Belfast on 1 April 1912. Signing on again, at Southampton, on 4 April, he gave his address as 51 Bridge Road. His previous ship had been the Titanic’s sister ship, the Olympic.
Like many other crew members, Alfred Fellowes died in the sinking, and his body was retrieved by the steamer the Mackay-Bennett. The body (number 138) was described as being ‘male, estimated age 30, hair and moustache, black’. Fellowes was found wearing a green overcoat, blue trousers, grey coat, his Steward’s white jacket, black boots, and socks. He wore a gold ring, and had keys and scissors in his pockets. Fellowes was buried at Fairview Lawn Cemetery, Halifax, Nova Scotia, on 6 May 1912.
There were eight other Boots Stewards on the Titanic — Sydney Stebbings, William Rattenbury, Cecil Jackson, and John Scott in First Class, and Henry Bulley, Joseph Chapman, Edward Guy, and William Perrin in Second. Like Fellowes, many had worked previously on the Olympic, and like him, they typically gave addresses in Southampton when they signed on. Of these eight, only two survived – John Scott and Joseph Chapman, and of those who died Fellowes was the only one whose body was recovered. In fact, very little is known about any of them, usually only their name, where they were from, the address that they gave when they signed on at Southampton, and the level of wages that they received.
The Boots Stewards offer an entrée into the world of the Titanic’s large ‘Victualing Department’. It numbered 421 people in all, of whom 322 were Stewards. Perhaps slightly surprisingly, there were only 23 women — 20 Stewardesses, 2 cashiers, and 1 matron. But what is amazing is the number and diversity of the different occupations — scullions, lift boys, clerks, vegetable cooks, bakers, bell boys, kitchen porters, chefs, cooks, Turkish Bath Attendants, postal clerks, pantrymen, butchers, storekeepers, confectioners, stenographers, barbers and so on. The two telegraphists, or wireless operators, Jack Phillips and Harold Bride, employed by Marconi, were officially part of the victualing department. And apparent too is the diversity of occupations even within a single occupation such as Steward.Add a Comment
With the 100th anniversary of the Titanic disaster approaching, I decided to do a little research online to locate educational websites and resources on the Titanic. There's no doubt about it that this ship, this disaster, this part of our history still fascinates both children and adults. The sinking is often referred to as the the greatest maritime disaster in history. But is the Titanic an appropriate topic for children to study? The Associated Press recently released a timely article, "Titanic a magnet for kids, fine line for educators" detailing how some educators and parents balance the tragic details when presenting information about the Titanic to children.
I was a student in middle school when Dr. Ballard discovered the wreck of the Titanic in 1985. At that time, books on the disaster became widely available, and I found reading about the discovery and the ship extremely interesting. Today, there are even more Titanic resources available for children. As with all sensitive topics, some kids will be able to handle more detailed information than others. If you do decide to talk about the disaster with your kids this April, I hope you'll find this list of online resources useful.
Titanic Activity and Discussion Guides / Lesson Plans for Educators
Titanic Science Teacher Activity Guide [pdf]
Titanic related science activities and experiments for kids
Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition Teacher's Guide [pdf]
Extensive lesson plans, activities and resources for Elementary, Middle Grade and High School (correlates with the Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition but if even if you can't visit, you can still use many of the lessons)
Ghosts of The Abyss Educator's Guide [pdf]
Companion guide to James Cameron's film, Ghosts of the Abyss. Activities are designed for use by students in grades 5-8.
NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration - Return to Titanic Expedition lesson plans [pdf]
Lesson plans tied to the RMS Titanic 2004 Wreck Expedition focusing on shipwrecks, biodeterioration and marine archaeology. For grades 5-12.
Titanica IMAX Film Educator Guide [pdf]
Educational supplement to the film, Titanica. For junior and senior high.
Titanic Educator Guide - North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences [pdf]
Nicely designed guide with seven learning activities encompassing history, geography, science, English and math. Grades 4-12.
Magic Tree House Titanic - Teacher's Resource Guide and Activities
Website includes classroom connections and downloadable activity pages for use with the Titanic Magic Tree House books
Scholastic's Dear America Series: Voyage on the Great Titanic Teacher Resources
Discussion Guide, downloadables and whiteboar
A hundred years ago, on April 15, 1912, the Titanic sank on her maiden voyage. Speaking for many, Don Brown concludes his account (see below) with these words: “Though gone from view, she remains fixed on the horizon of our imagination, where she steams endlessly, haunting us.” And for good reason.
Swirling around the disaster are issues of man vs. nature, class structure, irony, drama, and a host of what-ifs and what-might-have-beens. These elements are a writer’s dream. Add to them a natural trajectory with rising action (the first days of the voyage) climax (the iceberg collision) and falling action (rescue, or death), and you’ve got a perfect story. And many a one has been written.
But, in the truth-is-stranger-than-fiction department, fine dramatic nonfiction also chronicles the disaster. There are those books emphasizing the size (it was, after all, the maritime Tyrannosaurus rex) and features of the ship; the voyage itself; and survival.
Typically, books about the Titanic have come in spurts: immediately after the disaster; when Robert Ballard found the wreckage of the ship; and at various anniversaries, including this centennial. Each of these periods, like rock strata, reveal new information and changing interpretations. For example, initial accounts state that the iceberg tore a hole in the ship. When Robert Ballard first saw the wreckage, he suggested rivets failed under pressure and caused the boat to sink, while later scientists hypothesize that the weak steel failed and caused the disaster. But here’s the beauty of Titanic literature. Assuming that young Titanic enthusiasts will read more than one book, they will find many of the same players and some conflicting information even down to the number of individuals saved and lost. As a body, this literature gives youngsters a chance to evaluate sources, from the early newspaper articles (“Titanic’s Passengers All Rescued!”) to sometimes faulty eyewitness accounts (perhaps the ship did not sink perpendicular to the waterline) to outdated material. For example, in 1985 Robert Ballard believed that the ship and her contents would remain undisturbed on the ocean floor. But today there is an auction of Titanic artifacts. How could that happen? And that’s precisely the kind of question young people should be asking of the books and materials they read.
The books below are listed in order of reading difficulty.
Crisp, Marty. Titanicat; illus. by Robert Papp. Sleeping Bear Press. 2008. ISBN 978-1-58536-355-1.
It’s no surprise that a book for the youngest of listeners avoids the trip all together. Here, a young ship’s boy cares for a litter of kittens, and when one escapes at Southampton, he goes ashore to rescue it and thus misses the sailing. An interview with survivor Paddy Scott provides the basic story for this picture book.
Stewart, Melissa. Titanic. National Geographic. 2012. lib ISBN: 978-1-4263-1060-7; pb ISBN: 978-1-4263-1059-5.
Smart formatting makes this book particularly accessible to beginning readers. Clear photographs with informative, boxed captions; several numbered lists, such as “10 Cool Things About Titanic”; a timeline; and sidebars defining unfamiliar terms are nicely integrated with expository prose that describes the ship, briefly covers the voyage and disaster (with only two sentences about lost souls); rescue; and thoughts about how the disaster could have been averted. Also recommended for this age group is The Titanic Lost and Found (by Judy Donnelly and illus. by Keith Kohler. Random House. 1987. ISBN: 0-394-8866-9-0), which provides a straight chronological account beginning with departure fr
Forget Me Not is the fictional story of a family’s voyage on the infamous RMS Titanic. Released in March this year, it is perfectly timed to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the ship’s fatal maiden voyage. The story is alternately told by siblings Thomas and Evelyn Gilmore. Thomas is eager to begin a new life working with his father and uncle in America, and all the more excited that it is the Titanic taking them there. In contrast Evelyn is devastated to be leaving her life in England, and uneasy about their ocean journey.
I imagine it must be terribly difficult to write about the Titanic – to delicately balance the need for truth via impeccable historical accuracy, while maintaining a drama that is sensitive to the tragic nature of the event. Forget Me Not leans perhaps a little too much towards the former, with a lavish detailing of the ship’s environment and journey. It is clear that Lawson has done extensive research.
The drama in Forget Me Not comes not only from the fate of the Titanic’s voyage, but from conflict and a mystery within the Gilmore family. Interestingly, Thomas’ parts of the story are told in third person, while Evelyn’s are in the first. This lends greater empathy towards her feelings, helping to build the sense of impending doom that the reader inevitably brings with them to this text. Lawson’s masterstroke, however, is the use of autograph book entries from the period, which add a particularly strong melancholic flavour.
Forget Me Not offers not only an account of the Titanic, but a look at emigration, health (in both historical and class contexts), and what life was like in the early 1900s, especially for those coming-of-age. Evelyn and Thomas struggle against the boundaries their parents set upon them. In a time when ‘teenagers’ didn’t exist, at what point is someone a child or an adult? This question is particularly crucial on board the Titanic, where the limited lifeboats were reserved for women and children first. With this breadth of themes and wealth of historical facts, it’s easy to envision the use of Forget Me Not in a middle grade classroom.Add a Comment
This book is a Step-into-Reading, Step 4
Published by Random House 1987
For ages 7 and up
My 8 year old granddaughter Celeste and I watched a Discovery documentary on the Titanic. Since then Celeste has been very interested in knowing more about the history of the Titanic. I made a trip to a local Barnes and Nobles and bought her 2 books: The Titanic Lost...And Found by Judy Donnelly and
National Geographic Readers: Titanic.
The Titanic Lost...And Found, is a great starting point for interest in the Titanic ship and disaster. It gives basic information about how the ship looked, added is a great view of the insides of the ship---another words the picture shows a split image opening up the rooms and compartments for full viewing.
The Titanic is compared to be the length of an 11 story building, or 4 city blocks.
The book teaches of the differences in socio-economic status of the people on board the Titanic.
Immigrants traveled in the bottom decks, while the wealthy traveled in the top decks. More survivors were from the upper decks.
Included is the night of April 14, 1912 when the ship struck an iceberg. A little over 2 hours later the Titanic sank in the early morning of April 15.
The author states how many people had been on board, and how many people that the lifeboats could hold.
It was the Carpathia ship that picked up the survivors.
After the Titanic disaster, new laws were passed to ensure safety on ocean liners.
I thought this was a very interesting book. Celeste also enjoyed reading it.
The book was educational, held the attention of both Celeste and I, and the illustrations were an added gem.
For more information Online:
John Welshman is the author of Churchill’s Children: The Evacuee Experience in Wartime Britain. He is currently working on a book provisionally entitled Titanic: The Last Night of a Small Town (forthcoming, 2012). Below he talks about Walter Lord, who wrote the acclaimed book A Night to Remember about the Titantic. You can read his previous OUPblog posts here.
It was Walter Lord, in A Night to Remember (1955) who described the sinking of the Titanic as ‘the last night of a small town’. Lord had been born on 8 October 1917, in Baltimore, the only son of a prominent lawyer. As a boy, he had enjoyed a transatlantic cruise on the Olympic, during which he had fantasised about what it must have been like to have been aboard the Titanic. He attended private schools in Baltimore, and then read History at Princeton, graduating in 1939. Lord was at the Yale Law School at the outbreak of the Second World War. He then went to work for the Office of Strategic Services, the forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency, first as a code clerk in Washington, and later as an intelligence analyst in London. In 1945, he returned to Yale and completed his law degree. However he decided that he did not want to practise, and instead wrote business newsletters and books.
Shortly after going to work for the J. Walter Thompson advertising agency in New York, Lord published The Freemantle Diary. It was reasonably successful on its publication in 1954. But it was A Night to Remember for which Lord was best known. Published in November 1955, the book had sold 60,000 copies by January 1956, and it stayed on the best seller list for six months. Condensed versions appeared in the Ladies Home Journal and Reader’s Digest, and it was the first of Lord’s several ‘Book of the Month Club’ selections, in June 1956. A successful television adaptation directed by George Roy Hill and narrated by Claude Rains was broadcast on 28 March 1956; it attracted 28m viewers. The British-made film of the same name, directed by Roy Baker, and starring Kenneth More and David McCallum, came out in 1958. The book has never been out of print.
On its publication, the New York Times said that the book was ‘stunning … one of the most exciting books of this or any other year’, while the Atlantic Monthly declared ‘a magnificent job of re-creative chronicling, enthralling from the first word to the last’. The magazine USA Today said that the book was ‘the most riveting narrative of the disaster’, and Entertainment Weekly declared it ‘seamless and skilful … it’s clear why this is many a researcher’s Titanic bible’. In the New York Herald Tribune, reviewer Stanley Walker drew attention to Lord’s technique as being ‘a kind of literary pointillism, the arrangement of contrasting bits of fact and emotion in such a fashion that a vividly real impression of an event is conveyed to the reader’.
No books on the Titanic had been published between 1913 and 1955. Cultural historian Steven Biel has noted that the book was well marketed, but also explains its resonance through the highly visual and aural nature of the narrative. Lord blurred history into news and drama, collapsing ‘historical duration into intense moments of lived experience’. The bookAdd a Comment
Characters That Take Jobs as Strippers....paint strippers between detective gigs
by Robert W. Walker
Do you like your main POV characters to remain the same throughout a series? Or do you prefer for a main character to discover new facets of character as he/she goes and undergoes changes?
This topic came up recently among friends on a chat group and the preferences vary widely. Some of the longest running series appear to please on the basis of the character NOT changing a wit, a character that to me is 'static' as I prefer both to read about and to write about characters that evolve, grown, learn from their experiences, and become more adept at life as they go.
Apparently, there is room for both kinds of books and for both kinds of readers, which is fine with me. There are, after all, many rivers to the ocean. However, as I have my prejudice and this is my blog day at Acme, I am going to discuss why I write characters who change and react differently to different stimuli at different times.
First I write books that aspire to a world that is as near mirror image of life as I can make it. Painters differ in this as well as writers; many aspire to capture life as it appears, some so close it is like looking out a window, whereas many other artists paint terrific paintings that look nothing like real life. I can appreciate a Wyeth and I can appreciate a Van Gogh. But for me, in real life, people do change, they age, their surroundings/settings age as with peeling house paint, rusting cars, etc.
So here goes --
Let me be the first to ask who will be the "last writer standing" and the "last character remembered"? With regard to those who do not want their favorite characters to change: I think what you reallly mean is that you do not want to see them go against type - the type of character they are...as in if suddenly the character you felt polite and intelligent has a breakdown at a dinner party or in a public place and suddenly acts OUT of character to the point of kickiing a dog or getting drunk or making a fool of herself, or decidiing out of the blue to become a Lesbian, etc. For me that is significantly different from saying a character should never change or grow or stretch or learn.
Allow me to play Devil's Advocate on this subject. For instance some say they love Watson and Holmes for who they are and never want to see a changed Holmes; great example for both sides of this argument because Sherlock did sink to drugs-- The Seven Percent Solution. And while Sherlock seems not to change or alter, this is an illusion; he has many moods and we see them all; in his down time, between cases, he is depressed to the point of being bipolar, as when on a case his mood swings entirely away. Does he change over time or even in the individual story?
We who write fiction start with a BEDROCK of character, which we challenge, throw rocks at, tease, place into hot and cold situations, test and test again and while the bedrock remains firm, our characters learn and grow and thank God. Perhaps in the real world people don't always change but I believe people capable of changing even as they hold onto their bedrock beliefs and gestalt. In every book that I have ever loved as a kid, there was a character ARC...as in a coming of age, a loss of innocence, a stripping away of illusions and a realization on the part of the main character that appearances were seldom the same as reality. A good character grows in this sense, else you have a Woody Allen film (has Woody's main character ever learned anything?)
I PUT the book DOWN if there is no evidence of growth, learning, evolving. Look at our classics....the books which are penned by
When her brother left her sick and weak on an orphanage stoop in Whitechapel, England, Margaret Ann Brady wondered if she would ever see him again. Click here to read more.Add a Comment
Downton Abbey opens with the telegram announcing that the Earl of Grantham’s heir, James Crawley, and his son Patrick, have perished in the sinking of the Titanic. Since Lady Mary was supposed to marry Patrick, the succession plans go awry, and this sets off a chain of events.
But how likely is it that an English aristocrat would have perished in the disaster? The British Inquiry (1912) found that those saved represented 203 out of 325 passengers in First Class (62.46%); 118 of 285 in Second (41.40%); 499 of 1,316 in Third (37.94%); and 212 of 885 members of the crew (23.95%). Overall, 711 passengers and crew were saved of the 2,201 on board (32.30%).
Not surprisingly, with the emphasis on ‘women and children first’, the proportion of women passengers saved in First Class (140 out of 144, or 97.22%) was higher than that for men. But 57 of the 175 men were saved, or 32.57%. In fact if you were a male passenger in Second Class your chances of survival were very slim indeed – only 14 of 168 were saved, or 8.33%. And in Third Class your chances were only slightly better – 75 of the 462 were saved, or 16.23%. It was these figures which reduced the overall odds for men, since for men overall – both passengers and crew – only 338 of a total of 1,667 were saved, or 20.27%.
The opening of Downton Abbey suggests that the Titanic was a potent symbol of luxury and privilege. To be sure, there were English aristocrats in First Class, figures such as Lucy Noel Martha Dyer-Edwards, born Kensington on 25 December 1878, who had married Norman Evelyn Leslie, the 19th Earl of Rothes in April 1900. The Eton-educated Sir Cosmo Duff Gordon, fifth baron, was travelling with his wife Lucy, the well-known fashion designer. He was a talented fencer, and had represented Great Britain at the 1908 Olympics. This was a world where wealth was derived from land, and where deference was the norm. But their fellow travellers in First Class were more likely to be American or Canadian. Among them were the property developer John Jacob Astor; the businessman Benjamin Guggenheim; John Borland Thayer, Second Vice-President of the Pennsylvania Railroad; George Widener, son of P. A. B. Widener, a member of the board of the Fidelity Trust Company of Philadelphia; Charles Hays, General Manager of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway; and Isidor Straus, co-owner of Macy’s Department Store in New York.
Much of the fascination of the Titanic is that the personal narratives of individual passengers and crew provide insights into the worlds they came from. In First Class, we can find businessmen, their families, and the maids and governesses who travelled with them, privileged certainly, but predominantly men whose wealth was based on the new commercial opportunities offered in the United States and elsewhere. In Second Class, there were the teachers, clerks, minor businessmen, clergymen, small time inventors and others who represented the trades and the growing middle class that relied on them. In Third Class, we see the poor and under-privileged, the ironworkers, bricklayers, farmers, labourers, bakers, gardeners, fitters, butchers, carpenters, grocers, butlers, shop assistants, toolmakers, valets, and blacksmiths. Many of them were migrants, not only from Britain, and especially Ireland, but from Belgium, Finland, Sweden, the Lebanon, and a host of other countries, leaving poverty or oppression for a better life in the United States. And among the crew, the Captain, ship’s officers, surgeons, stewards, stewardesses, waiters, engineers, lookouts, firemen, cooks, and plate washers. This then, is the real world of 1912: one of class conflict, religious sectarianism, mistrust and suspicion, leisure for some but grinding poverty for others, racism and prejudice, faith in technology tempered with scepticism, and optimism mixed with anxiety about the future.
In fact,Add a Comment
5 Stars RMS Titanic set sail on April 12, 1912. She is the largest ocean liner to date and considered the most luxurious and the safest. Unsinkable is what the Titanic was considered. There were watertight compartments that were to keep the ship afloat, even if one or two filled up with water. The [...]Add a Comment