Wednesday, 23 February 2011

BOOK REVIEW ~ Exploring The Titanic ~ By: Robert D. Ballard

"How the greatest ship ever lost - was found!"
Alisdair and I just finished reading aloud from "Exploring the Titanic" by Robert D. Ballard.

Although the the book is a bit old (copyright 1988), it offers a wealth of information and many paintings and photographs.  The only inaccuracy we found was in the Epilogue (Page 61) where it talks about Ruth Becker (one of the Titanic passengers who survived).  It says: "Her family later moved to the United States, where Ruth eventually married, raised three children, and taught school.  Today she is retired and lives in Santa Barbara, California."  While that was true, at the time of publication, Becker passed away in 1990.

The online Encyclopedia Titanica tells us: "After the disaster Ruth attended high school and college in Ohio, after which she taught high school in Kansas. She married a former classmate, Daniel Blanchard, and after her divorce twenty years later, she resumed her teaching career. In the years after the disaster she refused to talk about the Titanic, and her own children, when young, did not know that she had been on board. However, after her retirement, when she was living in Santa Barbara, California she began speaking about it, granting interviews and attending conventions of the Titanic Historical Society. In March of 1990, she made her first sea voyage since 1912, a cruise to Mexico. She died later that year at the age of ninety. Her ashes were scattered over the spot where the Titanic lies."
Publisher's Weekly states: "the focus of this book is the recent recovery of the most famous shipwreck of this century. Taller than the Empire State or any building of her day, the Titanic carried three anchors (one weighing 15 tons), had three million rivets and was nicknamed "The Millionaire's Special." Details of her building and maiden voyage are accompanied by photographs and drawings of the ship's many staterooms, ballrooms, lounges, dining rooms, the swimming pool and the huge glass dome over its grand, curving, wrought-iron stairway. All the ship needed was more lifeboats."

Ann Welton, of Lake Dollof Elementary School, in Auburn, Washington wrote a review for the School Library Journal."  She notes that the book is written in "straightforward prose, complemented by excellent illustrations" [and tells] the story of the Titanic 's first and final voyage as well as that of her rediscovery and exploration....The text captures the drama of both the night of the sinking as well as that of the discovery of the great ship on the ocean floor. The technically accurate and lucid explanations are greatly enhanced by Marschall's stunning paintings, as well as by diagrams and current and period photographs .... Although the glossary is good, it does not cover all unfamiliar words. 'Funnel,'  for example, is not defined and may confuse readers who do not realize that this refers to the smokestack. This is a minor quibble, however, given the general excellence of the work."

Alisdair's thoughts about this book are as follows:

Memorial Plaque

"On the Ballard expedition of 1986, they put a plaque on the stern of the Titanic in memory of those who died in the disaster.  I wish that other people would have agreed with Robert Ballard and left the Titanic untouched and preserved as a grave site.  It seems a little rude that there have been people scavaging items from the wreckage.  However, I would still like to go to the Science Centre in Calgary to see the exhibition of Titanic memorabilia they currently have on display."  Information about the exhibition can be found here: Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition .  It began February 4th and will be featured until June 27th, 2011. 

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