Review of the Week: 4/17/17

This past Saturday was the 105th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Our latest Review of the Week explores the history of the ship.

Titanic : a fresh look at the evidence by a former chief inspector of marine accidents, 1st U.S. ed

Lang, John. Rowman & Littlefield, 2012
300p, 9781442218901 $35.00, 9781442218925

This is by far the most thorough and well-written investigative book on RMS Titanic’s short life and tragic sinking that this reviewer has read (and he has read many). Lang is a former officer in the Royal Navy and head of the UK’s Marine Accident Investigation Branch. What makes Lang’s account far different and captivating is his analytical, detail-intensive, factual, and completely unbiased approach to reexamining the Titanic’s full story, from construction to sea trails to sinking, including a close look at the actions of the crew and officers. The author does this within the cultural context and technology of the times, without imposing judgment. No relevant detail of the voyage and sinking is neglected, and all facts are accompanied with detailed diagrams and charts showing Titanic’s route, the routes of other nearby vessels, iceberg locations, and movement of vessels during the rescue operation. The author precisely lays out Titanic’s track in the hours before collision with an iceberg, enabling readers to visualize and grasp the collision and rapid sinking. Lang goes further, though, by showing how this maritime disaster radically changed shipping safety regulations and maritime crew training. Overall, a refreshing and fascinating work.

Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readership levels.
Reviewer: M. W. Carr, US Army Watercraft & Riverine Operations
Subject: Science & Technology – History of Science & Technology
Choice Issue: Dec 2012