Title: Titanic: Voices from the Disaster
Author: Deborah Hopkinson
Publisher: Scholastic Inc.
Format: Paperback ARC provided by publisher
Release Date: April 1, 2012
Early morning on April 15, 2012, the RMS Titanic, on her glorious maiden voyage from Southampton to
sank after striking an iceberg in the North Atlantic.
Thus the ship declared to be unsinkable was lost in one of the most infamous
tragedies in history. Even now, a century later, the events surrounding the Titanic continue to haunt and intrigue
Author Deborah Hopkinson weaves together the voices of Titanic survivors and witnesses of the disaster to bring the horrors of that terrible night to life. There’s nine-year-old Frankie Goldsmith; Violet Jessop, a young stewardess; Jack Thayer, an American high school senior; Colonel Archibald Gracie, a well-to-do gentleman; William Murdoch, a brave seaman; Charlotte Collyer, a young mother on her way to start a new life, as well as many others.
Their recollections are filled with heart-stopping action, devastating drama, and fascinating historical details.
Together with a trove of historical photographs and illustrations, the stories of these survivors capture the fateful voyage, from the majestic liner’s celebrated launch in
to her cataclysmic ice end and the Carpathia’s
rescue of the survivors. (Summary
condensed from back of book)
I am not a big non-fiction reader, though I do make the occasional exception, especially if the topic happens to be of some interest to me. Ever since I saw 1997’s Titanic by James Cameron, I have been curious about what really happened to the ship. I know that movies embellish a great deal for dramatic effect and I wanted to understand the truth about the sinking of Titanic. It has been several years since I read anything regarding the Titanic, so I was pleased to receive a request to review this book. With the one hundred year anniversary of the sinking being commemorated this week, I was more than happy to oblige.
Titanic: Voices from the Disaster is published by Scholastic, Inc. It is geared toward younger readers, approximately sixth grade and up; though it would make a good reference for students of any age that are researching the Titanic. It is chock full of good information, statistics and first-hand recollections. Perhaps my favorite part of this book was those stories from the survivors that are intermingled throughout the entire book. Frankie Goldsmith’s stories of exploring, Violet Jessop’s stories of working for the White Star line, along with many others, brings a human side to the story that is not always experienced in other books. Hopkinson uses letters, photographs and documented first-hand accounts to bring those experiences to the reader. I definitely enjoyed that personal touch.
Hopkinson fills her book with a lot of useful information, but she doesn’t overload her readers with unnecessary statistics that no one cares about. I liked how she included sections dedicated to explaining why the watertight doors didn’t work and why there were not enough lifeboats on board. I also appreciated Hopkinson including a section about the Carpathia and the bravery of not only its captain, but the outpouring of love and kindness of its crew and passengers. There are a lot of great facts included in this book: what happened before, what happened during and even what happened after the sinking of the great ship. Hopkinson also includes a section encouraging readers to be a “Titanic researcher” and gives them questions and resources for beginning that research.
Titanic: Voices from the Disaster is a well-written book that I would recommend to anyone interested in finding out more about the sinking of the Titanic. This book should be read by the age group that has received most of their information about the Titanic from the movie of the same name. I will be recommending it to our school librarian and anyone who wants to learn more about the infamous ship.
My grade for Titanic: Voices from the Disaster by Deborah Hopkinson: