Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Band That Played On by Steve Turner

Subtitle: The Extraordinary Story of the 8 Musicians Who Went Down with the TITANIC. Published by Thomas Nelson.

April 15, 1912---that's the date that the Titanic sank on her maiden voyage from England to New York. It was the newest, the biggest, the fanciest, and supposedly the safest passenger ship in the world. But, that wasn't enough. Because the ship didn't have enough lifeboats, a great many people died that night. Most of the staff went down with the ship.

The musicians, who had not played together before this trip, were asked to play during the evacuation of the ship. The thinking was that it would calm people down. When it was no longer possible to play inside, the band went to the deck and continued to play until the very last.

Never before has so much detail been provided about the members of the band, eight men who spent the last minutes of their lives inspiring others. Author Steve Turner is a journalist who has done a number of biographies. He takes that approach with this book, telling the story of the sinking but also devoting a chapter to each of the men in the band. He provides pictures and details about their lives that may be more than you want to know. He spends quite a bit of time on the conflicting reports about what the band was playing as the ship sank.

I found the topic fascinating, but it was a slow read. The information was presented in history-book style, and the reading felt more like homework than entertainment. This would be a good addition to public library shelves, as it includes details about the Titanic story that have not been told before. I think it would have created more interest in the band's story if this had been presented as historical fiction.

Buy it on

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their  book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255  : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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