More on the Titanic Tables

Mom,

After our lengthy discussion of the confusing tables at the end of Titanic: Voices From the Disaster, the book’s editor, Lisa Sandell, generously offered to send us the revised (and much more clear) tables that appear in the current print run.  I’ve produced them below for anyone who is interested.  I don’t have a copy of the first edition on hand (it appears to be a very hot commodity at my library – congratulations to Hopkinson and Sandell!), but when I do, I’ll take a closer look to see the specific changes.  For now, these charts definitely make perfect sense to me, and I’m very happy to post them for our readers.

On another note, I finally got around to reading Walter Lord’s classic account of the Titanic, A Night to Remember, and I am now convinced that Hopkinson’s is the new book by which to measure Titanic accounts.  Not that there was anything wrong with Lord – I thought it was excellent.  But Hopkinson’s book offers more context (especially about those elusive telegrams about the ice, but also about the building and trial run of the ship), and, because it is more recent, has better scholarship, including of course the discovery of the wreck itself, to work with.  This book is quickly climbing up my personal list of best books of the year.

Here are the tables:

- Mark

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “More on the Titanic Tables

  1. wendyb79

    I’m completely satisfied with that series of charts. (Snort–I like how I make it sound like that’s what their goal was, making charts to Wendy’s satisfaction.) They don’t seem to me to be a “revision” so much as a new presentation of the data (I have the old ones in front of me). Clear, interesting, adds something to the book. Thanks very much to Lisa for her tactful response and for providing the new chart here.

    While I think this is an excellent book, I still can’t put my finger on what’s keeping it out of my top choices. I think, despite what I know about the award and the criteria, that I’m always looking for a book that I feel challenges me personally in some way–makes me think about something new, look at the world from a different viewpoint, gets me interested in something I normally wouldn’t be. I don’t get that here. But apparently the world of children’s literature criticism is full of Titanic-haters who think this event wasn’t as significant as people claim or isn’t of interest to them (which boggles my mind–in this one event there are SO many aspects to consider, there’s so much to learn about human nature and American and British societies, multiple branches of physical science, journalism, the spread of rumors, post-traumatic stress disorder, medicine, statistics, the changing nature of what we consider facts, the limitations of eyewitness testimony–I could go on), and in some cases this book DOES do that for them. Not that it should necessarily matter.

    It’s possible that I’m also snowed by the very strength of Hopkinson’s writing. She makes it look easy because the book is fluid, moving steadily on in its direction; we don’t see the author’s hand as much as in some non-fiction.

    • Mark Flowers

      Well, I mean, we were the ones who complained, so we should be the ones who Sandell and Hopkinson are out to please, right? ;)

      Seriously, though, you said: ” I’m always looking for a book that I feel challenges me personally in some way”–and I feel like this might merit a whole separate post at some point. Especially in children’s literature, which is aimed at people with a very different understanding of the world from ourselves, it can be very hard to put yourself into the eyes of the ideal reader. But at the same time, how can you not be more affected (and therefore more passionate about) books that speak to you specifically? I know I am.

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