Martin's Must Reads: 'One Hundred and Sixty Minutes, The Race to Save RMS Titanic'
“Titanic’s fate was not preordained, it was ordained by the failings of men in critical moments.” I’m Mark Martin with "Martin’s Must Reads" and William Hazelgrove separates fact from fiction, reality from myth in his book One Hundred and Sixty Minutes, The Race to Save the RMS Titanic.
Most of us know the story of the sinking of the Titanic, or at least we think we do. The mythological story is how the Titanic faced the icebergs alone, that husbands bravely sent their wives off in the lifeboats while they stood honorably watching, that Captain Smith in his Edwardian heroicism, bravely said, “All right boys, good luck and God bless you,” that the band played "Nearer My God to Thee" as the ship slowly sank into the cold dark waters of the North Atlantic. It makes for a great story and a good movie. But the author says, “The mythology of the Titanic is one of self-sacrifice, but the reality is one of self-preservation. The real story on board the Titanic is one of straight-up survival and a race to rescue people stuck on a giant ship that would sink in less than three hours.”
Mr. Hazelgrove weaves a story of gross incompetence—life boats for only 27% of the souls on board, and the ship the California, within 10 miles from the Titanic, whose captain slept while the disaster unfolded; but also of incredible heroics like the captain and crew of the Carpathia who raced through the same ice fields that sank the Titanic to lend aid and of the wireless operator who gave his life to send the SOS message.
If you want to set aside the mythology of the sinking of the Titanic and read what really happened, then you must read William Hazelgrove’s book One Hundred and Sixty Minutes.