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Book Review, NRJ 67.4

February 12, 2023 10:33 AM | PAUL R MITCHELL (Administrator)

Why the Titanic Was Doomed: A Disaster of Circumstance

Bryan Jackson

For anyone interested in the complete history leading up to the sinking of Titanic on its maiden crossing of the Atlantic in 1912, and the aftermath of related events, this book offers a riveting and scholarly presentation of all the facts involved. In many ways it reads like a blend of a nonfiction novel and a complete legal brief, clearly describing what surely must be every element that contributed to the eventual sinking on 15 April, 1912. I was quickly captured by the amount of historical information that the author presented in very readable fashion and was also pleased that an abbreviated but detailed chronological recap of all the events was included at the end of the book to help the reader digest the massive amount of information provided. 

The author's extensive research has to be the definitive story of what went wrong and why. As a naval architect and marine engineer, I was especially interested in the design and construction issues that played a part in the story, reinforcing the need for those responsible for specifying such things to stand their ground with clients who might request changes that could spell disaster in unexpected ways. While Titanic was one of the largest and grandest ships of the day, basic engineering principles still applied and its structural integrity and safety at sea depended on it. While one must read the book to fully understand all the factors that contributed to the tragedy, the realization is that it could likely have been prevented in a number of ways. If there is any good news, significant revisions to other similar ships of the era were made as a result of this tragedy, along with mandated operational changes for those responsible for a ship's safety at sea.

I can highly recommend this book for anyone with even a modest interest in the facts involved with the story. Books and movies have given all of us an idea of some of what may have happened on that fateful night, but the account in this book surely has to be the full story.

  • Barnsley: Seaforth Books, 2022
  • 6-1/2” x 9-1/2”, hardcover, xii + 160 pages
  • Photographs, index. $34.95
  • ISBN: 9781399097161

Reviewed by: Robert Johnson, Largo, Florida

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