Book review: The Watch That Ends the Night: Voices from the Titanic


Wonderful Titanic Book, November 26, 2011


Valerie A. Baute

This review is from: The Watch That Ends the Night: Voices from the Titanic (Hardcover)

April marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, and I am fully expecting a wide variety of materials to come out about the subject. This makes me extremely happy because I am obsessed with the Titanic. I also expect a large number of the materials to be below par, people jumping on the bandwagon and doing whatever they can to make a few bucks. With this book, I had very high hopes. Thank goodness I wasn’t disappointed.

Told in verse from the perspective of 24 different characters, this book covers all of the bases. There are people who survive because of class, gender or age. There are people that don’t survive because of class, gender, or age. There are people that basically save themselves. Then there is the iceberg and even a rat. The idea behind these last two characters was a cute idea at first, but I didn’t care for them after the first few sections. Also there are parts where an undertaker tells of collecting the bodies afterward, and that part was probably the most interesting to me. Many characters’ stories were entertwined throughout the book, and this was done in a very fluid way. I was impressed with how the author tied so many of them together.

The majority of the book leads up to the crash. I fully enjoyed all of it, but I could see people who aren’t die hard Titanic fans thinking it a slow start. The closer it got to time to hit the iceberg, the faster I tore through the book. Since it is in verse, it reads quickly. I am not always a fan of verse. Most of this book read like any other book, but a few parts were written in a rhyming type. For a lot of those sections I was spending more time trying to find the pattern in the rhymes than actually paying attention to what I was reading. The end of the book has a history section which is full of very interesting information. Overall this book is not perfect, but it is very captivating and the most interesting way I have seen the story of the Titanic told.


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