One hundred and sixty minutes. That is all the time rescuers would have before the largest ship in the world slipped beneath the icy Atlantic. There was amazing heroism and astounding incompetence against the backdrop of the most advanced ship in history sinking by inches with luminaries from all over the world. It is a story of a network of wireless operators on land and sea who desperately sent messages back and forth across the dark frozen North Atlantic to mount a rescue mission. More than twenty-eight ships would be involved in the rescue of Titanic survivors along with four different countries.
At the heart of the rescue are two young Marconi operators, Jack Phillips 25 and Harold Bride 22, tapping furiously and sending electromagnetic waves into the black night as the room they sat in slanted toward the icy depths and not stopping until the bone numbing water was around their ankles. Then they plunged into the water after coordinating the largest rescue operation the maritime world had ever seen and thereby saving 710 people by their efforts.
The race to save the largest ship in the world from certain death would reveal both heroes and villains. It would begin at 11:40 PM on April 14, when the iceberg was struck and would end at 2:20 AM April 15, when her lights blinked out and left 1500 people thrashing in 25-degree water. Although the race to save Titanic survivors would stretch on beyond this, most people in the water would die, but the amazing thing is that of the 2229 people, 710 did not and this was the success of the Titanic rescue effort.
We see the Titanic as a great tragedy but a third of the people were rescued and the only reason every man, woman, and child did not succumb to the cold depths is due to Jack Phillips and Harold McBride in an insulated telegraph room known as the Silent Room. These two men tapping out CQD and SOS distress codes while the ship took on water at the rate of 400 tons per minute from a three-hundred-foot gash would inaugurate the most extensive rescue operation in maritime history using the cutting-edge technology of the time, wireless.
William Hazelgrove is a best-selling author whose books include Henry Knox's Noble Train; Wright Brothers, Wrong Story; Madam President: The Secret Presidency of Edith Wilson; Forging a President: How the Wild West Created Teddy Roosevelt; and Al Capone and the 1933 World's Fair. His books have hit the National Bestseller List, received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Booklist, and have been included in Book of the Month Selections, Literary Guild Selections, Junior Library Guild Selections, and ALA Editor's Choice Awards. He has written articles and reviews for USA Today and other publications. He has been the subject of interviews in NPR's All Things Considered along with features in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun Times, Richmond Times Dispatch, USA Today, People, Channel 11, NBC, WBEZ, and WGN. He was the Ernest Hemingway Writer in Residence and runs a political cultural blog, The View from Hemingway's Attic.
If you think you know the history of the Titanic, think again and read this book. Hazelgrove morphs a seemingly well known story into a riveting tale in this stunning book! Whether you’re particularly interested in the Titanic or not, this is a book everyone should read! It’s quite possibly one of the best nonfiction books I’ve ever read!
NetGalley Review: 5 stars
Last updated on 30 Aug 2021
"Normally, I wait a few days after finishing a book before I review it, but I literally just finished reading One Hundred and Sixty Minutes: The Race to Save the RMS Titanic by William Hazelgrove. I absolutely loved this book! If you think you know the history of the Titanic, think again and read this book. Hazelgrove morphs a seemingly well known story into a riveting tale in this stunning book!
Clearly, the book is about the Titanic, but it’s so much more than your run-of-the-mill Titanic story. The author adds a new depth to the story by dispelling the idea that it was tragically unpreventable, and that people accepted their fates with honor and grace. He paints a vivid picture of the true heroes of the story: the two wireless officers on board, Jack Phillips & Harold Bride, along with the Captain of the Carpathia, Arthur Rostrun.
Frequently, I have mixed feelings about many nonfiction books because the actual story is interesting, but the stories are not always conveyed in a captivating way. However, I was enthralled with this book throughout its entirety. Honestly, there are not many nonfiction books that I would consider “page-turners” or that I literally couldn’t put down, but I finished this book in under 48 hours.
Truthfully, when I requested this book on NetGalley, I was interested because the lore around the Titanic is fascinating to me, but I had never read a book about it before. I kind of thought, “If you’ve read one book about the Titanic, you’ve read them all,” but it is abundantly clear that Hazelgrove’s book is original and unique.
He refrains from depicting the story through rose colored lenses. He points to multiple mistakes that could have been avoided, which could have saved all the lives that were lost, or circumnavigated the disaster entirely. While he admits that this event shows a failure of human compassion, the fact that he highlights the unsung heroes of the tragedy, left me with a sense of hope and inspiration.
Whether you’re particularly interested in the Titanic or not, this is a book everyone should read! It’s quite possibly one of the best nonfiction books I’ve ever read!
I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily."—Emily Katzenberger, reviewer at The Biased Bibliophile
Last updated on 31 Aug 2021
"I have read nearly every book that has been published about the Titanic, and I’ve studied it for years. I thought I knew it all, but William Hazelgrove proved me wrong.
From the moment you open the book, until the end, you will read the heartbreaking and harrowing account of what happened on that fateful night: April 14, 1912.
“Everyone could have been rescued if human will had not failed”. You will learn what the author means by this as you read. It is devastating. What you’ve been taught is wrong.
You’ll read transcripts of the SOS calls made by the ship, mythology of the ship and its passengers, as well as what occurred that night. Without giving away too many spoilers, I will again leave you with the author’s quote:
“Everyone could have been rescued if it were not for human failing”.
Big thanks to William Hazelgrove, Prometheus, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this ARC! "—Mary Olsen, reviewer at Townville's Bookshop
Last updated on 03 Sep 2021
"I really enjoyed this title and highly recommend. I feel this will make an excellent addition to anyone’s book collection. Please be sure to go and pick this one up"—Jill S, media reviewer at RavaesReads/USHIC/Starry