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January 13 , 2010

The Titanic - Everything Was Against Us


Nearly 100 years after the most famous maritime disaster in history, we are assured that we know everything there is to know about the White Star Liner Titanic and that there is little more to add to the story. While the basic story is undeniable, the details of what happened during the evacuation are still debated, plagued by disinformation, personal politics and our simple lack of knowledge. This book details the elements that combined to transform one of humanity's triumphant achievements of engineering into a devastating encapsulation of overconfidence and other human failings.

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Impenetrable questions still remain: Why was the iceberg was not seen until a collision was inevitable? Were the 3rd class really held below? Why were the boats not launched till a full hour after the collision? Was the ship really hailed as unsinkable or is this an invention of the press? Did the Captain or 1st Officer really shoot themselves? Why did the ship leave port with lifeboat room for only half of those on board, and why were 400 seats in the boats left unused?

Finally, the book considers whether a hypothetical Titanic with a full lifeboat complement could have evacuated everyone in the 2 hours and 40 minutes from collision to sinking, and also ponders the possibility that an inquiry into another ship's loss in 1909 could have energised public opinion to provide "boats for all" inquiry that never ultimately happened.

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