This is quite a different approach to writing about the Titanic disaster, and I would know considering the amount of books I have read on the subject, which is why I picked up this read to begin with. The story of the most infamous shipwreck in history told through short poems from a variety of characters ranging from Captain E.J. Smith himself to Bruce Ismay, third class passengers, titan-of-industry John Jacob Astor, the Unsinkable Molly Brown, a ship rat, a baker, a stoker, an undertaker from Halifax, and even the iceberg itself.
I liked the little personal touches Wolf added for each character. Shipbuilder Thomas Andrews and his beekeeping back home. Violinist Jock Hume trying to decide which of the two instruments he’d brought on board suited him more, stoker Thomas Hart trying to make certain his stolen identity remained a secret.
What I didn’t like was the point of view of the iceberg. It is written as if the berg intentionally sought out the ship in order to wreck it, as if the ship is destined to hit ice and sink. This approach takes all responsibility off the shoulders of the captain and makes it seem as if no one is to blame for the disaster that killed over 1,500 people. A captain is always responsible for his ship. It is fact that E.J. Smith ignored numerous ice warnings from other ships in the area. Why make an inanimate object responsible for a disaster that was avoidable? This approach did not sit well with me.
And another thing that didn’t sit well was the book’s length. It just went on and on and on. Seriously, the Titanic sank in less time than it takes to read this tome. I found myself getting really tired of reading and felt that some perspectives could have been cut or lessened as they didn’t add much to the overall story. In fact, truth be told, I still haven’t finished this book. I’m going to some day. I am just a little tired of reading it at this point. That is not to say that the book isn’t good, or that the storytelling isn’t fresh. It’s merely a bit too lengthy to hold my attention for so long.