Saturday, March 24, 2012

Memories

It was the mid-70's, and I was 10 years old, in the 5th grade.

Some friends and I were hanging out in the school library, and noticed a book on a nearby shelf called "A Night to Remember." In typical pre-adolescent fashion we joked about it being a dirty book, but I was curious and picked it out.

Roughly 35 years later, it still holds me. I re-read it again last night. Hundreds of books have been written about the Titanic, but this one still trumps them all. Likely because it tells human stories, not just a summary, and was based on many interviews.

I'd never heard of the Titanic before that book, and the story certainly has changed the direction of my interests.

Walter Lord, in my opinion, was likely the best historical writer of all time. I never met him, but wish I had. If you've never read any of his books, you should. "Day or Infamy" and "Incredible Victory" are both excellent, too (there are many others). He had an amazing ability to tell stories through the eyes of people who were actually there, not just quoting the facts, and his many interviews with eyewitnesses give you a whole new perspective on historical events.

If you like "A Night to Remember" I also recommend "The Night Lives On," where he re-examines many of the legends and stories about the Titanic for clearer answers of what happened during the tragedy.

11 comments:

hannah said...

I was a Titanic nerd in fifth-sixth grade. I actually wrote Titanic (fan?) fiction. And that also helped spark a more generalized interest in maritime disasters in me, as well. (Just finished Ship Ablaze -- the new one about the Slocum disaster, fwiw.)

I also think Lord's book was the first one that I read, picked up randomly at the library one day.

Anyway, weird co-winky-dinks!

M.Brayfield said...

I have both those books and recently re-read them as the anniversary approaches. I haven't read any of his others but I should.

Slightly off topic, have you read In the Heart of the Sea or the Perfect Storm? Both great nautical reads.

Anonymous said...

A Japanese squid fishing boat lost in last year's tsunamai just turned up off the coast of British Columbia. A nice change from feet.

Mrs J said...

I read "A night to remember" many years Ava and just now bought "The night lives on" for my kindle fire. Thanks for the suggestion, I am going to read it now.

08armydoc said...

Just downloaded this to my phone last night. Thanks to a night of insomnia (thanks to transitioning from ICU nights to days....), I had the "opportunity" to read almost the entire book last night. Excellent read, and I look forward to digging into his other books. Thanks for the recommendation

Margaret said...

Still two of my favorite books since childhood. I've been a Titanic nerd for about 49 years, now.

Fiz said...

I've known about the Titanic since I was about five and more years later than I would care to mention, I'm still fascinated by that night.

Packer said...

Is that your own copy ? Or shall we send the overdue book police ?

Recently saw a photo of a graveyard in Canada of Titanic victims graves, for some reason it evoked memories of 9/11 when transatlantic flights were diverted to a small town in Canada where they took care of the visitors. Hail Canada.

Anonymous said...

I just read this book, my daughter was in a performance of "Titanic, the Musical" and I wanted to learn a bit more. Good read. Current National Geo has an couple of articles on the Titanic.

Mike Wruble said...

I was about 8 when my mom and I watched the old black and white movie based on the book. Like you with the book, I was hooked and have followed the explorations since, especially Bob Ballard's.

Losarahmcd said...

We actually studied "A Night To Remember" in school, and I agree that it is the best Titanic story. I really can't stand that movie with Leonardo DiCaprio, and agree with the reviewer who said, "The story of the Titanic needs a love story like Anne Frank needs a zany best friend."

 
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