Sunday, January 22, 2012

Titanic: Disaster at Sea by Philip Wilkinson

Pub Date: February 1, 2012.

Author website.

Experience all the drama and tragedy of Titanic inside the pages of this richly illustrated narrative. With a pull-out poster and double gatefold diagram, Titanic: Disaster at Sea is brimming with facts, stories, and fascinating people. From the technological creativity of Titanic’s construction to unselfish sacrifice in the face of disaster, this comprehensive book will satisfy readers with its exciting, up-close look at this amazing true story of triumph and tragedy. (

Seeing as how this book is really just an illustrated run-down of events surrounding the Titanic, there isn't all that much to review but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy it.

The illustrations were, of course, the highlight of the book as they were the most pervasive. Richly colored and detailed it was hard not to stare at the visuals more than the words. I wouldn't recommend reading it in its digital form, though. I couldn't manage to zoom in on my Digital Editions and while I could in my eReader Library, I had to read the captions first and then zoom out to see the images it was set against. Kind of annoying but I lived with it. TITANIC is a book best viewed in hand. That much is clear. There's something to be said for being able to hold something in your head and stare at it and not have a glaring back-lit screen staring back. In my opinion anyway.

The only thing that kind of irked me about this title was that it presented the imprisonment of the third class passengers below decks during the sinking as fact. While it may have made for good drama by Stephen Spielberg, the likelihood of it actually having happened is pretty slim. As seen in Tim Maltin's 101 THINGS YOU THOUGHT YOU KNEW ABOUT THE TITANIC . . . BUT DIDN'T! in the excerpted testimony from the crew no one was forcibly kept below decks during the sinking. Many opted not to come above and, of course, there was a language barrier with some. One must take into account, though, that the British did attempt to whitewash what happened and perjury isn't such a far-flung idea. But since there are accounts from others about helping the third class passengers into boats (although few, they still exist), it kind of debunks that myth. But again, it's still something that pulls at the heartstrings.

This would be an excellent picture book for any kid, from the cross section of the Titanic's floors to the drawings and photos littering the pages making the Titanic come alive again, it's a visual smorgasbord of Titanic awesomeness. Hell, you don't even need to be a kid to enjoy this one. Buy it for the illustrations alone. You don't even need to read most of the captions. The images tell their own story.

Ban Factor: Low - Seriously, there's nothing in here that would drive the banners insane. Unless they have some weird adverse reactions to ships.
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