2012 marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. While there have been a lot of books and scientific research done since its discovery, A Night to Remember is one of the first books to capture the sinking, from the moments it started to the actual aftermath. Walter Lord gives a firsthand account from actual survivors of the Titanic. There are a couple of things to keep in mind before you begin to read this book.
The book itself was published in 1955. This is important because many of the things now known about the Titanic were not known during the writing of this book. Things like the ship splitting in half or the exact reasons why the Titanic sank aren’t going to be as up to date. You have to remember that the wreckage of the Titanic was still undiscovered at this point in time.
The second thing to keep in mind is not to compare the book to the movie Titanic. The book was written well before the movie version ever came out. So, you won’t find the same characters. The book attempts to encompass all the people aboard the Titanic instead of focusing on just on just a couple of characters.
A Night to Remember is very factual in nature, as Walter Lord sticks to the accounts and firsthand experiences of the passengers. You won’t find a bunch of flowery language or expounding on the different stories of individuals. The book is far too short for that. Some people may find this type of writing a bit dull in nature and a little less exciting even though many of the quotes are taken from the passengers themselves.
What’s interesting about this book is that it gives a perspective on who was actually saved, why they were saved, and why more people weren’t willing to go into the available lifeboats. There are other reasons — besides just the fact that there weren’t enough lifeboats — why more people weren’t saved. Also fairly interesting is the viewpoint people had on third class passengers of the boat and the mindset that people had in that day and age.
Additionally, there is a listing of the survivors and those who lost their lives in this tragedy, although there is a lot of debate on these lists since the actual records of who was aboard the ship can’t be 100% verified.
The sinking of the Titanic was a tragedy that happened 100 years ago. Even though science has eventually established what actually sank the ship, nothing can really replace the firsthand account of the people who were actually on board the ship. You should read this book for this particular point of view because you will find a few surprises regarding the human aspect of the disaster.