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The night the Titanic went down: who survived and how

In "How to Survive the Titanic, or The Sinking of J. Bruce Ismay," writer Frances Wilson reviews tales of heroism and accusations of cowardice.

By Randy Dotinga / November 4, 2011

Titanic owner J. Bruce Ismay survived the sinking of the ship but was fiercely criticized for not going down with the captain and other stranded passengers.


The captain is supposed to go down with the ship, and that's exactly what happened after the Titanic hit an iceberg on an April night in 1912. But what is the president of the company that built the ship supposed to do?
Good question. Judging by the reaction of the American public, J. Bruce Ismay picked absolutely the wrong answer. He found his way to a lifeboat as the great boat floundered – there's still debate over exactly how he did so – and landed himself in infamy by managing to avoid death in the frigid North Atlantic.
In her new book How to Survive the Titanic, or The Sinking of J. Bruce Ismay, writer Frances Wilson chronicles the life of a man who, perhaps unfairly, became an immortal emblem of oblivious arrogance. It's a fascinating read, full of gripping detail about the sinking and the evolving morals of the age.

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