The RMS Titanic was one of three sister ships built for the White Star Line by Harland & Wolff of Belfast, the largest ships afloat in their time. They were claimed to be unsinkable because their innovative design meant that up to four of the hulls compartments could be breached but the ship would remain buoyant. However, on 15 April 1912, while making her maiden voyage from England to New York, Titanic hit an iceberg which slashed through five compartments and sank with the loss of 1,517 lives. The rest, as they say, is conjecture, accusation and a multi-million dollar movie.
To mark the centenary, a whole host of books have been published, some newly written, some reissues of accounts published following the original disaster, and some fiction inspired (some closely, some extremely loosely!) by the events of that fateful night. Here is a (large) selection:
Lost voices from the Titanic: the definitive oral history, by Nick Barratt
Starting from its original conception and design by the owners and naval architects at the White Star Line through construction at the Harland and Wolff shipyards in Belfast, Nick Barratt explores the pre-history of the Titanic.
Titanic: a night remembered, by Stephanie L. Barczewski
This is an anniversary edition of a highly-regarded account of Titanic’s tragic maiden voyage, which also focuses on some of those who died. This centenary edition includes updated information, new insights and unique perspectives on the liner’s construction as well as heroes and villains of the tragedy.
The loss of the Titanic, by Lawrence Beesley
This is the thrilling first-hand account of the sinking of the Titanic by Englishman Lawrence Beesley who managed to escape the stricken liner on lifeboat 13.
Gilded lives, fatal voyage, by Hugh Brewster
‘Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage’ is a fresh take on the subject of the Titanic through the prism of her first class passengers, woven into a gripping account of the ship’s short life.
Titanic, by Roger Cartwright
Expounding the conspiracies and folklore surround the most famous ship in the world, this book covers the unusual angle of the ship’s legacy and legendary status.
Titanic lives, by R. P. T. Davenport-Hines
The author views the Titanic as a paradigm of Edwardian society. At the bottom of the ship was the steerage class, filled with emigrants hoping for a better life in the New World. Above them were the second class citizens bouyed-up by their prosperous respectability. And on the upper decks were the rich.
Titanic, by Anton Gill
This work tells the extraordrinary story of the creation of the Titanic. It investigates the feats of engineering which allowed her construction and explores the untold stories of the men and women who built her.
The loss of the SS Titanic, by Sam Halpern et al
This title explores the loss of the Titanic based on evidence that has come to light since the discovery of the wreck in 1985. The book provides a detailed and accessible ‘go-to’ reference book commemorating 100 years of Titanic.
A girl aboard the Titanic, by Eva Hart
This is the amazing story of how seven-year-old Eva Hart survived the sinking of the Titanic, how her father perished and the affect it had on her life following the tragedy.
Titanic: the unfolding story as told by the Daily Mirror, by Richard Havers and Carol King
This title tells the whole Titanic story, from its commissioning, launch and maiden voyage, through to its demise, the immediate aftermath, and the very public enquiries on both sides of the Atlantic.
Titanic, by Stephen W. Hines
The Titanic was the greatest ocean linear ever built and the news of its sinking, 5 days into its maiden voyage, shocked the world. Focused entirely on media clippings and reporting from the time of the tragedy, this text is a ‘ripped from the headlines’ account of the sinking of the world’s largest ship.
The myth of the Titanic, by Richard Howells
Why does the story of the Titanic retain such a hold on the popular imagination, 100 years after it sank on the night of 15 April 1912? In this centenary edition, Howells explores the myths around the Titanic legend, showing what they reveal about the culture of their time, as well as the role that myth still plays in our lives today.
RMS Titanic, 1909-12 (Olympic class), by David F. Hutchings
The world famous ocean liner Titanic, which sank on her maiden voyage in 1912, is the latest subject to receive the Haynes manual treatment. This title contains hundreds of illustrations and helps to see how this leviathan was built, launched and fitted out.
A night to remember, by Walter Lord
This title provides a vivid, gripping and deeply personal account of the ‘unsinkable’ Titanic’s descent. The book includes a new prologue by Julian Fellowes.
A hymn for eternity: the story of Wallace Hartley, Titanic bandmaster, by Yvonne Speak
The band playing ‘Nearer my God to Thee’ as the ship went down is probably one of the most famous stories relating to the Titanic. The bravery of the band and their leader, Wallace Hartley, is an endearing story. This work chronicles the life of Wallace Hartley.
Voices from the Titanic, by Geoff Tibballs
The story of the sinking of the great liner, Titanic, has been told countless times since that fateful night on 14th April 1912 by historians, novelists and film producers alike, but no account is as graphic or revealing as those who were actually there. Here, the voices of the survivors record their own stories, alongside official records, press reports and investigations into what went wrong that night.
And the band played on: the Titanic violinist and the glovemaker – a true story of love, loss and betrayal, by Christopher Ward
An outstanding piece of historical detective work, ‘And the Band Played On’ is also a moving account of how the author’s quest to learn more about his grandfather revealed the shocking truth about a family he thought he knew, a truth that had been hidden for nearly a hundred years.
The Rough Guide to the Titanic, by Greg Ward
A century after the most famous shipwreck in history, ‘The Rough Guide to the Titanic’ tells the full compelling story of the supposedly unsinkable liner. A comprehensive history, it covers every moment of the journery and the Titanic’s final hours, from striking the iceberg to disappearing beneath the freezing Atlantic waters.
Shadow of the Titanic, by Andrew Wilson
‘Shadow of the Titanic’ tells the extraordinary stories of some of those 705 who survived. How did the loss of the ship shape the lives of the people who survived? How did those who were saved feel about those who perished? And how did they remember that terrible night?
How to survive the Titanic, or, The sinking of J.Bruce Ismay, by Frances Wilson
Frances Wilson tells the strange and fascinating story of the owner of the Titanic, J. Bruce Ismay, the man who jumped ship. Accused of cowardice, Ismay became, according to one headline, ‘The Most Talked-of Man in the World’.
Carpathia, by Matt Forbeck
All they dreamed of was rescue. And when the Carpathia steamed over the horizon, the survivors of the Titanic thought their problems were over. But their rescue ship is carrying something old, undying – and hungry.
Women and children first, by Paul Gill
‘Women and Children First’ explores the turmoil of the sinking of one of the most famous ships of all time and its aftermath through the eyes of several different characters.
Unsinkable, by Dan James
April 14th 1912. The maiden voyage of the world’s most luxurious passenger liner, Titanic. Each passenger had a reason to make the crossing, but former special branch police officer Arthur Beck sees it as a way to escape the demons of his past. But soon he gets caught up in a deadly game of cat & mouse with feisty journalist Martha Heaton.
The company of the dead, by David Kowalski
A mysterious man appears aboard the Titanic on its doomed voyage. His mission? To save the ship. The result? A world where the US never entered World War I.
The Titanic tragedy (the Further adventures of Sherlock Holmes), by William Seil
Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson board the Titanic in 1912, where Holmes is to carry out a secret government mission. Soon after departure, highly important submarine plans for the US Navy are stolen.
The sinking of the Titanic, by Matt Doeden
What happened the night the Titanic sank?
How many people were saved?
How many lost their lives?
Read this true story of the Titanic’s tragic voyage to find answers to these questions and more.
Titanic, by Martin Jenkins
On 14 April 1912, the largest and finest ocean liner of the age struck an iceberg and sank to icy depths. Discover all the glory and tragedy of the Titanic in this recreation of her fated maiden voyage. It traces its history from blueprint to ocean dream, and uncovers the factors that led to her tragic end.
Titanic lost and saved, by Brian Moses
First-hand accounts alongside a wealth of original documents, photographs and letters, this title tells the story of the Titanic, from descriptions of the passengers and the ship inside and out to why the Titanic was considered ‘unsinkable’ and the dangers of floating ice.
Titanic, by Jim Pipe
‘Titanic’ delves into the human stories of both crew and passengers and the incredible feats of engineering and design involved in her construction.
Titanic, by Ellen Emerson White
Margaret Anne dreams of leaving the orphanage behind, and she can hardly believe her luck when she is chosen to accompany wealthy Mrs Carstairs aboard the great Titanic. But when the passengers are woken on a freezing night in April 1912, she finds herself caught up in an unimaginable nightmare.
The people at the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography have also put together a Titanic site with biographies of key people involved.