Titanic's Last Secrets : The Further Adventures of Shadow Divers John Chatterton and Richie Kohler
After rewriting history with their discovery of a Nazi U-boat off the coast of New Jersey, legendary divers John Chatterton and Richie Kohler decided to investigate the great enduring mystery of history's most notorious shipwreck: Why did Titanic sink as quickly as it did? To answer the question, Chatterton and Kohler assemble a team of experts to explore Titanic, study its engineering, and dive to the wreck of its sister ship, Brittanic, where Titanic's last secrets may be revealed. Titanic's Last Secrets is a rollercoaster ride through the shipbuilding history, the transatlantic luxury liner business, and shipwreck forensics. Chatterton and Kohler weave their way through a labyrinth of clues to discover that Titanic was not the strong, heroic ship the world thought she was and that the men who built her covered up her flaws when disaster struck. If Titanic had remained afloat for just two hours longer than she did, more than a thousand people would have lived instead of died, and the myth of the great ship would be one of rescue instead of tragedy. Titanic's Last Secrets is the never-before-told story of the Ship of Dreams, a contemporary adventure that solves a historical mystery.
In this expertly written account, Matsen (Descent) does what would seem impossible: he tells us something new about the Titanic disaster. In August of 2005, a team using Mir submersibles found previously undiscovered wreckage from the ship on the ocean floor. The wreckage suggested that the Titanic had not sunk with the bow rising into the air. Instead the ship had broken in half while almost horizontal and gone down before most of the passengers knew what was happening. The discovery directs Matsen's retelling of the Titanic story, beginning with events that led to the creation of the giant ocean liner. Matsen is an engaging writer and has smoothly incorporated massive amounts of research. After opening in the 21st century, Matsen spends 150 pages recounting the entire Titanic saga, including biographies of the builders, the ins-and-outs of shipyard politics and ocean travel. It's all very well done but leads at times to a loss of overall focus. A dive to Britannic, Titanic's sister ship, is handled rather hastily and the personalities of the team that made the Titanic discovery are never fully developed. These are minor issues, however, and it testifies to the quality of the book that the reader is left wanting more. (Oct.) ""
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September 30, 2008
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