Marking the centenary of the Titanic, A Shape of Ice is an utterly compelling exploration of the lives on board the most famous ship in history. The RMS Titanic was built as one of the world's largest and most luxurious liners. A marine Ritz, it was a 45,000 ton hotel of thin steel plates, travelling at a speed of 21 knots across the unforgiving ocean.On the night of 14 April 1912, the seemingly unsinkable ship hit an iceberg. It sustained a 300 feet gash and six compartments were wrenched open to the sea. In little over two hours, the palatial Titanic nose-dived to the bottom of the North Atlantic. Terribly mismanaged, there were not enough lifeboats to carry passengers to safety; over 1,500 people died that night.Who were the Titanic's passengers? In this original and timely book, Richard Davenport-Hines examines the great liner as a social portrait of the Edwardian age; above the squalor of steerage, filled with emigrants moving to the New World, were hundreds of second-class passengers buoyed up by their prosperous respectability. Higher up were the hereditary rich and at the pinnacle stood those of inconceivable wealth - Americans like John Jacob Astor IV, who was found with £2000 and $4000 in sodden notes in his pockets.Bringing together over 2,000 passengers and crew from every class and five continents, A Shape of Ice tells their stories, re-creating the complexities, disparities and tensions of life one hundred years ago.
‘An astonishing work, of meticulous research, which allows us to know, in painful detail, the men and women on that fateful voyage. Even now, a hundred years later, Mr Davenport-Hines finds a new, and heart-breaking, story to tell." (Julian Fellowes)
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Good performance, mediocre book