A Fresh Look at the Evidence by a Former Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents
By (author) John Lang
Publication date:09 July 2012
Length of book:304 pages
PublisherRowman & Littlefield Publishers
The sinking of the Titanic on her maiden voyage in April 1912 was one of the defining moments of the twentieth century. Books and films about the disaster that befell the iconic liner are commonplace, and it seems almost inconceivable that anything fresh can emerge. But there is one angle that has not been covered, and Titanic: A Fresh Look at the Evidence by a Former Chief Inspector of Marine Accidents examines the events of April 1912 from that completely new perspective. John Lang brings the standards of a twenty-first-century accident investigation to bear on the events of April 1912, using his expertise and his investigator's instinct to determine exactly what happened a century ago, and what important lessons still need to be learned.
This is by far the most thorough and well-written investigative book on RMS Titanic's short life and tragic sinking that this reviewer has read (and he has read many). Lang is a former officer in the Royal Navy and head of the UK's Marine Accident Investigation Branch. What makes Lang's account far different and captivating is his analytical, detail-intensive, factual, and completely unbiased approach to reexamining the Titanic's full story, from construction to sea trails to sinking, including a close look at the actions of the crew and officers. The author does this within the cultural context and technology of the times, without imposing judgment. No relevant detail of the voyage and sinking is neglected, and all facts are accompanied with detailed diagrams and charts showing Titanic's route, the routes of other nearby vessels, iceberg locations, and movement of vessels during the rescue operation. The author precisely lays out Titanic's track in the hours before collision with an iceberg, enabling readers to visualize and grasp the collision and rapid sinking. Lang goes further, though, by showing how this maritime disaster radically changed shipping safety regulations and maritime crew training. Overall, a refreshing and fascinating work. Summing Up: Highly recommended.