New Book Sheds light on Old Maritime Mystery

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Daphnee Poulsen reading The Other Side of the Night in the GSC. Photo by Mary Heaton.

Daphnee Poulsen reading The Other Side of the Night in the GSC. Photo by Mary Heaton.

It has been nearly one hundred and five years since the ship everyone was convinced was “unsinkable” sank. Many people know the tragic story of the Titanic, but the book, The Other Side of the Night by Daniel Allen Butler, gives that night from a different perspective.

When asked what she knew about the Titanic, Emily, an 8th grader from the Washington County School District responded by saying, “There was a big ship that hit an iceberg and couldn’t turn fast enough so it sank and lots of people died.” Many college students will tell it the same way, but use more sophisticated language. The Other Side of the Night paints a vivid picture of the whole night from different places, including the events that took place on the Carpathia and the Californian. These were two ships that were nearby when the Titanic struck the iceberg.

“It was half past eleven o’clock on the night of April 14, 1912, on the North Atlantic, about three hundred miles southeast of Halifax, Nova Scotia. The brand new White Star Liner Titanic, the largest and most luxurious passenger vessel in the world, was gliding smoothly through the water on her maiden voyage.” Butler illustrates how a night full of beauty and promise turned into a night of tragedy and horror for thousands. When the Titanic struck the iceberg, the crew sent out a distress message. Although it was very far away, the Titanic’s signal was heard by The Carpathia.  Thanks to, what were then called, wireless telegraphs, a great deal of lives were saved that day. Though The Carpathia did not come in time to save all of the people floating, it was able to save those struggling alone in the life boats.

This book was well-written and thoroughly researched. It stayed exciting as well as informative. Clive Cussler, an American adventure novelist agreed. He wrote, “A bold and powerful account of the most incredible disaster in the annals of maritime history.”

The Other Side of the Night tells a very fascinating tale, but also introduces many of us to rarely told accounts from that chilling night. Even though reading may be somewhat of a chore, once started this book transports it’s reader to the ship to stand shoulder to shoulder with the men and women of that fateful voyage.

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