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by Terri Bey

The Titanic Book Club's "Book of the Month" for February is author Geoffrey Marcus' "The Maiden Voyage." The historical information included in the book is somewhat outdated as it was first published in 1969. After all, much more has been discovered about the RMS Titanic when the wreck of the great liner was found in 1985. However, the information in the book was very helpful to "Raise the Titanic" author Clive Cussler who said of Marcus, " I am Particularly indebted to G.J. Marcus, whose book, "The Maiden Voyage, has been invaluable to me."

Overall, I really loved this book, even if it was outdated concerning the facts. The book was very well-written. Marcus tells the story of the RMS Titanic from the Boat Train, to departure, to the tragedy, to the inquiries. I really enjoyed reading about the trip that passengers would take on the Boat Train. That was very interesting. I could imagine the excitement of the passengers who were going to be on the brand new liner. Marcus captures departure day as if the reader were there. I easily imagined myself there and going about the largest ship in the world at that time.

When the reader comes to the part where the RMS Titanic is on what wound up being just 5 days at sea, the author gives the reader a vision of a ship that is completely splendid and for me, magical. The way the author described all the rooms and decorations made me feel like I was on a ship that had a certain magical aura about her. Before that tragic event, being on that grand liner had to have been like Heaven on earth, at least that is how the author portrayed it. The author did a great job of describing the collision and the tragedy, with the facts he had.

I also appreciated that Marcus delved into both the American and British Inquiries. According to his book, the American Inquiry conducted by US Senator William Alden Smith (R-MI) was not received well in Great Britain as the liner was British operated and considered "British" even though technically the RMS Titanic was American owned via American businessman J.P. Morgan's International Marine Merchant, a conglomerate which owned several shipping companies, including the White Star Line and ironically, the Leyland Line, which ironically operated the S.S. Californian, Senator Smith's line of questioning was seen as a joke.

The author gives an interesting picture of the events of the British Inquiry. Titanic Second Officer Charles H. Lightoller, the highest ranking officer to survive the disaster, called it a "whitewashing." The way Marcus described it, it certainly was. What was the most interesting about it was how spectators reacted when certain witnesses came to testify. When the Duff Gordons testified, the audience was dressed up, as they were going to a day at Royal Ascot. It was a huge event. When it came to Captain Stanley Lord and the Officers of the S.S. Californian, the audience hung on every word.

Of course, the author obliterates Captain Lord in his book. That was predictable. However, the author also blames the Californian's wireless operator Cyril Evans for the "Californian Affair", all because he didn't put that fateful iceberg warning in a proper message format. Evans had sent the Titanic a message warning of ice, starting with, "Say, old man...." As most people know, Titanic operator Jack Phillips was busy working Cape Race and sending private messages that were backed up. Phillips replies rudely, "Shut up, Shut up. Keep Out. I'm working Cape Race." Evans never makes an attempt to resend and shuts down his equipment at 11:30 pm, Californian ATS. The author went on and on about how Evans was supposed to get permission from the captain to get a message and do all these things. I just think it was a bit much to blame the whole thing on Evans, just because Evans didn't put "MSG" on the ice warning. Evans should have, but he shouldn't take the blame.

Overall, I highly recommend this book. Geoffrey Marcus' writing is easy to read and comprehend. The book is very interesting and I think this book will be good for Titanic Enthusiasts to enjoy.

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by Terri Bey

Traveling on a luxurious ocean liner like the RMS Titanic can be romantic. After all, there were 13 newlywed couples aboard the ill-fated liner. The most famous one was John Jacob Astor IV and his bride Madeleine, even though it was Astor's second marriage. There were other couples, such as Isidor and Ida Staus who were married for 40 years and were just returning from a luxurious trip in Europe. As I am writing my blog for the February Newsletter and since Valentine's day is in the month of February, I have decided to write about my favorite Titanic couple, Isador and Ida Straus.

Like most people who are familiar with the Titanic story know, Ida Straus was placed in Lifeboat 8 with her maid Ellen Bird and without her husband, Isador, to whom she was married for 40 years. Isidor refused to try for a lifeboat, stating, "I will not go before the other men." Ida stepped out of the lifeboat and decided to stay with her husband. Friends such as Colonel Archibald Gracie tried to convince Ida to get back in the lifeboat, but Ida said to her husband, "Where you go, I go." The couple stayed together and perished in the sinking. Isidor's body was recovered, but Ida's was not.

Isidor and Ida Straus are my favorite Titanic couple, mainly because of how devoted they were to one another, from their marriage in 1871 to their deaths on the RMS Titanic. The couple was almost never separated. They would go on great vacations together. Ida would usually join Isidor on his business trips. That is real devotion.

Their devotion to one another in life makes us understand Ida's decision to get out of Lifeboat 8 and stay with her husband, Isidor, even though we know they would die together. It is one of the most heartbreaking stories from the Titanic, but also, the most enduring and in a sense, romantic and loving. Ida could have saved herself, but she loved her dear Isidor so much that she couldn't leave him, even if it meant certain death. Isidor loved his wife that much that he respected his wife's decision and would die with her. The love the two had for one another was so strong that they wanted to be together until the end.

I love the Straus couple because they are the perfect example of true love.

Isidor and Ida Straus Scene from "A Night to Remember" (1958) Go to the 2:19 Mark:


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by Terri Bey

The book of the month for January is "Titanic: The Ship Magnificent Vols 1 & 2," written by Bruce Beveridge, Scott Andrews, Steve Hall, Daniel Klistorner, and Art Braunschweiger. This book comes in a two-volume set, the first of which discusses the design and construction and the second describes the interior design and fitting out. This blog is going to be a little different as I have only just started to read the first volume. I am going to make this blog a photoblog and give my readers an overall impression of this book as I have looked through both volumes.

My overall impression of "Titanic: The Ship Magnificent Vols 1 & 2" is that if you want to know anything about the RMS Titanic, this is your book. This book is the "Titanic Bible," if you will. I looked through the book and I was in awe of how detailed it was. There were charts, drawings, and photos of how the Titanic was built and fitted out. If you are a "techie" and love the construction aspects, this is your book. If you love architecture and interior design, you will enjoy this book. The authors had to use photos of the Olympic, as there is a lack of photos of Titanic for certain things like the interiors. I will say that this book is very detailed and the reader needs to pay attention. However, when I looked through it, I was amazed at all the details and information I could find out about the Titanic.

Here are some photos of the book. All photos were taken by me.

The Two-Volume Set of "Titanic: The Ship Magnificent" and the case they come in.

The "Titanic: The Ship Magnificent" Vol 1 Back Cover

The "Titanic: The Ship Magnificent" Vol 2 Back Cover

Image from "Titanic: The Ship Magnificent" Vol 1: Chapter Four: "Frames, Beams, and Pillars," Page 80. This is a photo of the construction of the Titanic's Shelter Deck. (The Engineer/Authors' collection)

When I saw this photo and others like it, I wanted to read more of this book. I was becoming very fascinated by how the great liner was built.

From "Titanic: The Ship Magnificent," Vol 2: Chapter One, "A Palatial Hotel," Page 21 This a page from a Second Class Passenger List and Information Booklet from Olympic, c. 1920 (Peter Davies-Garner collection)

When I looked through the second volume, I found it more fascinating than the first, as, in this volume, the reader learns about the fitting out of the ship. I particularly loved the images of the cabins and suites, even though many of them were of the Olympic, including this Booklet from the Olympic in the above photo, because of a lack of Titanic photos, as I said previously. There were more photos of the Olympic as she was the first ship built from the Olympic Class Liners.

Even though this blog is just a generalized overview of the book, I would highly recommend this book. It really is a masterpiece.


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