A Night To Remember, By Walter Lord


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In their Titanic dramas, both James Cameron and Julian Fellowes rested heavily on this pioneering oral history of "the last night of a small town" (Walter Lord's phrase).

Writing in 1955, Lord interviewed 63 survivors, passengers and crew. He stitched their testimonies, along with every written source, into a swift, streamlined and supremely compelling narrative of the liner's demise on 14 April 1912.

At this distance, his masterwork not only reads like a still-definitive account of the mythic disaster. It also looks forward to the next half-century of close-focus New Journalism and high-speed narrative non-fiction.

The boat sunk, but the literary form that Lord fashioned so sturdily floats proudly along our bookshelves to this day.