Truth can not only be stranger than fiction, it can also be more horrific and more dramatic. Walter Lord's original book about the Titanic was a documentary compiled from survivors' eye-witness accounts. A Night to Remember (11/2 hrs, pounds 8.99) is an unmissable supplement to the new movie. It opens with the lookout's first sight of the iceberg (two minutes before its devastating graze down the port side of the ship began) and includes enough details of the ship's size and construction for one really to understand what happened.

Even more horrific, because it was not accidental but a deliberate decision, is Culloden (53/4 hrs, pounds 9.99), John Prebble's startlingly visual account of the last chapter of the 1745 rebellion. It too is rich in eye-witness accounts that convey the sound, colour and even the taste of war. David Rintoul is as good at the guttural, laconic Cumberland as the lisping, Italianate Charles.

Christina Hardyment

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