The Complete Idiot's Guide to The Titanic - 1998

Front Cover: The Complete Idiot's Guide to The Titanic - 1998

Front Cover: The Complete Idiot's Guide to The Titanic - 1998. GGA Image ID # 1020a8ebf9

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From the Front Cover

“What this book contains, like all of the volumes in this wonderful series, is a well-organized, fact- filled narrative that tells you all you want to know about this astonishing event.’* —Peter Stone, Tony Award-winning author of the Broadway musical Titanic

What You'll Discover

  • The ship’s voyage and sinking
  • Recovery expeditions
  • Passengers, crew, and survivors
  • Folklore, movies, books, and plays

The Complete Idiot's Guide to The Titanic by Jay Stevenson, Ph.D., and Sharon Rutman - ISBN 0028627121. Book includes an 8-page color insert.

From the Back Cover

Back Cover: The Complete Idiot's Guide to The Titanic - 1998

Back Cover: The Complete Idiot's Guide to The Titanic - 1998. GGA Image ID # 1020f7ed7d

Don't get stranded at the dock -- learn the facts about the Titanic

You’re no idiot, of course.

You saw the movie Titanic and know that it’s the number-one box-office film of all time. But when it comes to learning about the true historic and cultural impact of the Titanic, you feel like you’re lost at sea.

Don’t send up the flares yet! The Complete Idiot’s Guide® to the Titanic brings to life the saga of the Titanic, her passengers, and her era. In this Complete Idiot’s Guide®, you get:

  • Over 100 spectacular illustrations, including a dramatic, full-color glossy insert that boasts images of the wreck, as well as stills and posters from films and theater.
  • A look at the social and industrial conditions that sent Titanic and so many of her passengers steaming to their doom.
  • A riveting account of the ship’s construction.
  • Profiles of the passengers and crew—including first class and steerage, officers and coal shovelers—and how they fared on the night of April 14, 1912.
  • Complete details on Titanic -related films, books, and shows.

Climb aboard and learn all about...

  • Fascinating accounts of other notorious maritime disasters.
  • How and why the Titanic—a ship of unprecedented size and luxury—was conceived.
  • How the impact with the iceberg affected the ship’s structure.
  • Rescue operations and survivor tales.
  • The aftermath of global shock and horror, and how the shipping industry changed thereafter
  • Efforts over the years to find—and raise— the Titanic.

About the Authors

Jay Stevenson, M.A., Ph.D., is an instructor of writing, English literature, and cultural studies at Rutgers University. He is the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide® to Philosophy and coauthor of The Complete Idiot’s Guide® to Dinosaurs.

Sharon Rutman is cofounder of Titanic International, Inc., and has been a Titanic buff ever since reading Walter Lord’s A Night to Remember when she was 10 years old.

Message to the Reader

Dear Reader,

As Titanic hoopla continues, it only makes sense to wonder what all the excitement is about. The answer is, it's about a lot of things. It's a blockbuster movie, a topic of scientific and historical research, a subject of ongoing controversy. It's a defining event of the 20th century, a stirring and poignant story. It is, literally and metaphorically, a sunken treasure trove of lost things coming back to the surface so we can look at them again in new ways.

In 1912, the Titanic was the biggest ship ever built, and it continues to be big—bigger than any of us. The growing throngs of Titanic buffs are deeply into the ship for all kinds of reasons. There's trivia and tragedy, treasure and technology, pulp fiction and political history. These many interests are all just part of what makes the Titanic a major fascination.

Of course, people today aren't the first to realize the historical importance and emotional significance of the disaster. Titanic fever has broken out a number of times over the course of the century. In fact, some historians claim that the 19th century didn't really end until the Titanic disaster triggered a change in the way we see things. By looking back at the disaster from time to time, we have taken the opportunity to reassess our values and attitudes toward life.

The sinking of the Titanic was certainly the most terrible accident of 1912. The fascination this disaster continues to inspire in the late 1990s is no accident, however. Thinking about the ship provides a good way to look back over the 20th century and take stock of how things have changed and where we stand regarding technology and society. It's also a totally cool way to spend a little spare time.

Happy Sailing!

Jay Stevenson, Ph.D

Sharon Rutman

Contents at a Glance

Part 1: All Aboard!

  1. Full Steam Ahead
    Back around 1912, people were putting a lot of faith in progress, for better or worse.
  2. Sinking Fortunes
    The Titanic passenger list included a millionaire's who's who.
  3. Folks Against Fate
    Aside from the millionaires, many notable figures embarked on the doomed ship.
  4. Leaks in Leadership?
    The captain and the officers had their hands full, with the biggest ship in history under their care.
  5. Salt-Water Staffers
    Hundreds of employees helped keep the floating city running in ship-shape fashion.

Part 2: Liner Notes

  1. Big Boats, Big Business
    There was a lot of money to be made in passenger steamships, and a lot of powerful people scheming to get every penny.
  2. Building a Legend
    These ships don't just grow on trees; the Titanic was a labor-intensive proposition.
  3. A Sea Full of Shipwrecks
    The special importance of the Titanic shouldn't cloud the fact that disasters at sea have been all to common.

Part 3: Cruisin' for a Bruisin'

  1. The Tip of the Iceberg
    The captain and officers knew the ice was out there; they couldn't imagine what it would do.
  2. A Bad Scrape
    The Titanic was mortally wounded and only recently has there been a good autopsy.
  3. Going Under
    Titanic lingered for over 2‘h hours of drama and tragedy before finally sinking into the ocean.
  4. In the Wake of Disaster
    Slowly, people picked up the pieces and sorted them out, held services, and built monuments to those who were lost.
  5. Life Goes On
    Survivors' lives were changed forever by the disaster, but they carried on.

Part 4: Lowering the Boom

  1. Making Waves
    The newspapers were all over the Titanic story—though they didn't always get it right!
  2. Burning Questions
    The U.S. Senate took it upon itself to find out what everyone wanted to know.
  3. Holes in the System
    The British Board of Trade conducted an inquiry that observers accused o f being a whitewash.
  4. Cold Judgments
    Despite the efforts of historians to cut through the controversies, some Titanic questions won't go away.
  5. Charting New Courses
    The Titanic disaster gave rise to new legislation intended to prevent anything like it from happening again.

Part 5: Hard to Fathom

  1. Salvage Schemes
    Ideas for finding and bringing the wreck back to the surface have ranged from goofy to ingenious.
  2. High Tech Meets Low Wreck
    It took some of the most sophisticated scientific and military deep-sea technology in the world to find and explore the wreck.
  3. Coming Up with the Goods
    Despite objections from those who oppose salvaging,
    Titanic artifact recovery is an ongoing enterprise.

Part 6: Tltanlmania

  1. Deep Prophecies
    The Titanic has played a central role in much of this century's occult activity.
  2. Myth Making
    Many of the spins put on the disaster and the actions of the people involved need to be taken with a grain of salt.
  3. Classic Catastrophes
    It didn't take long for writers and movie directors to realize the Titanic was excellent subject matter.
  4. More Big Splashes
    The Titanic sails on in the late 1990s with a record-breaking Broadway show and the biggest international movie blockbuster ever.

Titanic Terms
A glossary of specialized terms that should come in handy as you explore the Titanic.

Historic Ships
An annotated list of ships and subs, including many whose fate had a bearing on the Titanic.

Names to Know
A list describing famous people who have figured in to the Titanic story, including well-known passengers, crew, and Titanic artists and historians.

Titanic Passengers
The complete list of all those who took the fateful journey. Cargo Hold
A list of goods that went down with the ship.

Titanic Reading and Viewing
A list of sources to help you explore the Titanic further.


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