I’ve never been someone who’s fascinated by the history of RMS Titanic. I haven’t seen Kate and Leo’s film, paid attention to the conspiracy theories or read accounts of artefacts being sold for vast sums of money. But I am fascinated by ships, particularly of the passenger variety, and by twentieth century social history. And because of that, I was eager to get hold of this book.

And I’m so glad that I did. David Long starts at the beginning of the story. His description of the background to trans-Atlantic liner competition is enlightening and contextualises the significance of Titanic and her sister ships.. Following on from this history, he gives details of her building and also the finished interior, touching on the class differences and divisions, before turning to the accident.

David’s style is engaging and informative. He is mindful of the reading age of his young audience but he never patronises or simplifies. I particularly like the way that he avoids bringing a twenty-first century world view to his account. However, he does point out the lessons learned and the changes made as a result of Titanic’s end.

Half the credit for the success of this book must go to Stefano Tambellini. His illustrations are not merely incidental; rather, they carry the story along, adding more detail and highlighting particular incidents. Stefano’s style is clear and I especially like the way he depicts scale.

All in all this is a superb foray into non-fiction, worthy of Barrington Stoke’s high reputation and I’d encourage anyone, of whatever age to get a hold of it if they want a brief and clear introduction to Titanic.

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