The Last Log of the Titanic

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November 5, 2000


Electronic book text, 234 pages


0071374566 / 9780071374569

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Main description

Nearly nine decades after the event, the sinking of the Titanic continues to command more attention than any other twentieth-century catatrophe. Yet most of what is commonly believed about that fateful night in 1912 is, at best, a body of myth and legend nurtured by the ship's owners and surviving officers and kept alive by generations of authors and moviemakers. That, at least, is the thesis presented in this compellingly bold, thoroughly plausible contrarian reconstruction of the last hours of the pride of the White Star Line.

The new but no-less harrowing Titanic story that Captain David G. Brown unfolds is one involving a tragic chain of errors on the part of the well-meaning crew, the pernicious influence of the ship's haughty owner, who was aboard for the maiden trip, and a fatal overconfidence in the infallibility of early twentieth-century technology. Among the most startling facts to emerge are that the Titanic did not collide with an iceberg but instead ran aground on a submerged ice shelf, resulting in damage not to the ship's sides but to the bottom of her hull. First Officer Murdoch never gave the infamous CRASH STOP ("reverse engines") order; rather, he ordered ALL STOP, allowing him to execute a nearly successful S-curve maneuver around the berg. The iceberg did not materialize unheralded from an ice-free sea; the Titanic was likely steaming at 22 1/2 knots through scattered ice, with no extra lookouts posted, for two hours or more before the fatal encounter. Visibility was not poor that night, and the only signs of haze or distortion were those produced by the ice field itself as the Titanic approached. Most startling of all, however, is evidence that the ship might have stayed afloat long enough to permit the rescue of all passengers and crew if Captain Smith, at the behest of his employer, Bruce Ismay, had not given the order to resume steaming.

Offering a radically new interpretation of the facts surrounding the most famous shipwreck in history, The Last Log of the Titanic is certain to ignite a storm of controversy.

Table of contents

Introduction Coal and Ice Parallel Tracks A Dark Mass Cool Hand Murdoch A Narrow Shave Blind Faith Steaming to Oblivion Time for Us to Leave Her A Shortage of Women Appendix 1. Fates of Key People Appendix 2. A Titan's Wake Appendix 3. Nautical Terms Illustrations Notes Select Bibliography Acknowledgements Index

Author comments

David G. Brown holds a U.S. Coast Guard Master's License, 100 Gross Tons, with Commercial Assistance Towing and Auxiliary Sail endorsements, and teaches professional-level U.S. Coast Guard licensing courses. He also is an instructor for a firm specializing in safety risk assessment, crew training, and license instruction, builds epoxy-composite boats, and restores vintage wooden boats. He was captain of a high-speed ferry serving the western Lake Erie islands and currently owns a harbor tour company on the Maumee River in Ohio. He has worked as a television news producer, and won an Emmy in 1979 for his coverage of the Agent Orange story. He writes monthly columns for Boating World and Offshore magazines and is a regular contributor to many other marine publications. This is his fifth book.

Back cover copy

"Absolutely fascinating--it fills a huge void in the literature of the subject. . . . Brown's familiarity with the technical aspects of shipdriving, based on his own career at sea, gives him enormous credibility. . . . The Last Log of the Titanic has more surprises than any book I've seen on the topic in the past 23 years."--Thomas C. Wingfield, Lieutenant Commander, U.S. Naval Reserve

A ship's logbook is like an airplane's "black box" in which all the specifics of a voyage are entered--the full nautical record of the journey. Imagine how fascinating the log entries from the Titanic's last hours would be. Of course, the actual log of the Titanic went to the bottom with the ship and has never been recovered. The Last Log of the Titanic, the first Titanic book written from the perspective of an expert ship handler, subjects the sinking of the Titanic to the brand of professional analysis that until now has been conspicuously missing from the literature of the great liner. Captain David G. Brown reconstructs the events leading up to the disaster, working from eyewitness accounts. He meticulously examines the official testimony given before the U.S. Senate and the British Board of Trade, as well as original newspaper accounts, allowing logic and the rigorous standards of good seamanship, rather than bias and tradition, to reveal the facts of the case. In the process he exposes the many false assumptions, obfuscations, and outrights lies that were propagated by surviving crewmembers and passengers, and by White Star officials, as he unearths long-buried truths.

Copyright 2014 McGraw-Hill Global Education Holdings, LLC


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