On April 15th, 1912, Titanic, the world's largest passenger ship, sank after colliding with an iceberg, claiming more than 1,500 lives. Walter Lord's classic bestselling history of the voyage, the wreck and the aftermath is a tour de force of detailed investigation and the upstairs/downstairs divide. A Night to Remember provides a vivid, gripping and deeply personal account of the 'unsinkable' Titanic's descent.
Although I read this book waaaaaay back when I was 17 (so long in the past I cannot even work it out), I am surprised how much of it I had forgotten and pleased that I decided to re-read.
With the centenary looming, I thought I would revisit one of the best accounts of what happened that night.
It does floor me slightly that no one really thought to collate witness accounts before the 1950's - but a whole lot of history happened in between and the world had other things to think about. There are other earlier books out there - but I am sure glad that Walter Lord took the time.
As when I first read it, I loved the way it is written. It is not all facts and figures - but a down to earth narrative, which invites you in and keeps your interest.
Working from countless letters and interviews, Lord weaves the tale of Titanic that at times made me smile, laugh and come back down with a bump as the reality of the events unfold.
It made me feel a lot more connected to everything I have ever heard about the ship - from the reactions of First Class to the treatment of Steerage.
There are many, many books on the market - some personal, some pragmatic - but this for me is definitive and the best place to start.