3 new "Titanic" books

A trio of new books – two of which are excellent – allows readers to relive that bitterly cold night on the Atlantic.

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3. 'Shadow of the Titanic,' by Andrew Wilson

 For the survivors of the Titanic, decisions made in seconds led to lifetimes of consequences. Get on a lifeboat? Ignore “women and children first”? Stay on the ship with a spouse? Try to rescue others or get away from the sinking and still-dangerous ship as soon as possible? Shadow of the Titanic: The Extraordinary Stories of Those Who Survived (Atria Books, 416 pp.) is a masterly account of what happened next. While he’s a bit heavy on psychoanalysis, Andrew Wilson vividly chronicles how the sinking of the Titanic contributed to fame and madness, sometimes in a single person.  Wilson tracks the fates of Titanic survivors all the way to the year 2009, when the last survivor, a “tough old bird,” died just three years shy of 100. Actually, he goes a bit beyond that. He finds that the grandson of one survivor married the great-great-granddaughter of another survivor. They didn’t learn of the double connection until they’d been married for years. Their young son’s name is Jack, just like his great-grandfather and just like the hero played by Leonardo DiCaprio in the second-biggest movie blockbuster of all time. These three Jacks – a blend of myth and reality, past and future, tragedy and hope – are fine emblems of why we still care about that long-ago night full of icebergs and egos, heroes and villains, and a tragedy for the ages.

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