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.

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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