Titanic: Iceberg Ahead by James W Bancroft

Titanic Iceberg Ahead by James W Bancroft; book cover
Click on the cover to go to the Goodreads page

I received a free copy of Titanic: Iceberg Ahead from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review – many thanks for that!

Since I was a child (I think around 9 years old) I’ve loved reading about the Titanic. I can’t say why, but something about this tragedy keeps me coming back to read more. So when I saw this new Titanic book on Netgalley, I knew I had to check it out.


The author has selected fifty people involved in the disaster and tells the story of what happened through their eyewitness accounts. Why were they onboard the Titanic? As passengers or members of the crew? Did they have any premonitions or worries regarding the ensuing tragedy? What was life like onboard the ship? And of course, how did they experience the collision with the iceberg and the aftermath?

The second half of the book explores some biographical details of most eyewitnesses. Were did they come from and what happened to them after the Titanic?

My Opinion:

As somebody who’s very interested in the Titanic and the personal tragedies, I enjoyed reading this book a lot. In the beginning, I wasn’t so sure, as some of the accounts felt more like bullet points than a coherent story to me. At times it was hard to keep track of everybody and remember all the names.

But the accounts of the actual sinking and the time in the lifeboats until the survivors were rescued were extremely touching and heartbreaking. Families were torn apart without a chance to say goodbye for the last time. People had to die, so others could live. The survivors in the lifeboats witnessed the sinking and the terrible screams of the ones dying. They had to spend hours on tiny unstable boats in the middle of the North Atlantic without knowing if they would be rescued. I couldn’t put the book down, and I know I’ll be thinking about that for quite a while.

Regarding the biographies of some of the people involved in the second part of the book: Naturally, I was more interested in some than in others. It was great to learn more about Thomas Andrews, Charles Lightoller (the highest-ranking surviving officer) or Harold Bride.


All in all, it was a very enjoyable read. A couple of weeks ago I read A Night to Remember by Walter Lord and I couldn’t stop myself from comparing the two. While I do prefer Walter Lord’s book, Titanic: Iceberg Ahead is definitely worth reading. If you’re interested in the accident and want to find out more about the people involved, do check it out.

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