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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Book Review: The Band That Played On




A few weeks ago as I was flipping through the channels, the movie Titanic was on. It was nearing the end of the movie when the ship was sinking and the band was shown calmly playing music even with the chaos that was going on around them. The movie is very entertaining, but the sad reality is the Titanic sinking was not something that Hollywood made up. It did really happen and next year will be the 100th anniversary of the sinking. The Band That Played On by Steve Turner is the extraordinary story of the 8 musicians that went down with the Titanic. From the publisher, " The never-before told, inspiring stories of the 8 brave musicians who played as the Titanic sank.When Titanic collided with an iceberg on April 14, the eight members of the band had already retired for the evening. Still, they put on overcoats and came out to play in the lounge. When most of the First Class passengers had taken to their lifeboats, the musicians moved to the deck and continued to play as the ship sank. One passenger said: “Many brave things were done that night, but none were more brave than those done by men playing minute after minute as the ship settled quietly lower and lower in the sea. The music they played served alike as their own immortal requiem and their right to be recalled on the scrolls of undying fame.” But who were they? What journeys brought them to this deck on this icy ocean? Who did they leave behind? Historian and biographer Steve Turner delves into the lives of these brave men, revealing eight unique portraits of bravery."


This book is very well researched and full of factual information about the 8 band members that went down with the Titanic. Steve Turner researched thoroughly each band member and what led them to be on the Titanic. Much information is also included about their families and their backgrounds. There are photographs, letters, and quotes from eye witnesses that tells about how each man lived and their last few moments aboard the ship. Stories of what happened after the sinking to the band members estates and families are also included. Unfortunately, their is quite a bit of information that is not known for sure and is only speculation. The author makes very clear what is speculation and what is fact.


There is so much information, that it can be very hard to keep all the details straight from who was who and what happened where. I did find myself getting a little lost in the middle of the book and was a bit disappointed by some of the information that is not known for sure. Not that that is the author's fault. I believe he presented the information that he had in the best possible way. I did find the story very interesting and am definitely glad that someone decided to tell the story of the "glorious band" that went down with the Titanic.


I received a complimentary copy of The Band That Played On from Thomas Nelson in order to write a fair and honest review. I received no other compensation.
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