Descent ) does what would seem impossible: he tells us something new about the Titanic

Titanic’s Last Secrets: The Further Adventures of Shadow Divers John Chatterton and Richie Kohler

Bradford Matsen, Author . Hachette/Twelve $27.99 (325p) ISBN 978-0-446-58205-6

In this expertly written account, Matsen (Descent ) does what would seem impossible: he tells us something new about the Titanic disaster. In August of 2005, a team using Mir submersibles found previously undiscovered wreckage from the ship on the ocean floor. The wreckage suggested that the Titanic had not sunk with the bow rising into the air. Instead the ship had broken in half while almost horizontal and gone down before most of the passengers knew what was happening. The discovery directs Matsen’s retelling of the Titanic story, beginning with events that led to the creation of the giant ocean liner. Matsen is an engaging writer and has smoothly incorporated massive amounts of research. After opening in the 21st century, Matsen spends 150 pages recounting the entire Titanic saga, including biographies of the builders, the ins-and-outs of shipyard politics and ocean travel. It’s all very well done but leads at times to a loss of overall focus. A dive to Britannic , Titanic ’s sister ship, is handled rather hastily and the personalities of the team that made the Titanic discovery are never fully developed. These are minor issues, however, and it testifies to the quality of the book that the reader is left wanting more. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 06/09/2008
Release date: 10/01/2008
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