The Rough Guide to the Titanic


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Five of the Best: Titanic books

The Loss of the S.S. Titanic

Lawrence Beesley (1912)

The single best eyewitness account of the disaster, written by a 34-year-old English second-class passenger.

Five of the Best: Titanic movies


USA 1997; director James Cameron

In which a pair of glowing and magnificently anachronistic modern teenagers rampage through a scrupulous reconstruction of the doomed liner, and manage to escape the final catastrophe … or do they?

text © Greg Ward

A Night To Remember

England 1958; director Roy Ward Baker

More of a docudrama than a conventional narrative, the affecting and beautifully made movie version of Walter Lord’s book stars Kenneth More as its stern-jawed hero, Second Officer Charles Lightoller.


Germany 1943; director Herbert Selpin

This piece of overt Nazi propaganda, commissioned by Josef Goebbels at the height of World War II, called the disaster “an eternal condemnation of England’s quest for profit”.  


England 1929; director Ewald André Dupont

The first talkie to tell the Titanic story – though pressure from the White Star Line forced them to change the name – was based on a play by Ernest Raymond, The Berg.

In Nacht Und Eis (In Night and Ice)

Germany 1912; director Mime Misu

By the time this dramatic silent movie was released in August 1912, footage of icebergs and the Titanic were so familiar that the trade papers were already saying “they don’t attract audiences any more”.

A Night to Remember

Walter Lord (1955)

A short but very gripping read, Lord’s bestseller focuses unerringly on the supreme tension of the Titanic’s final hours.

The Titanic: End of a Dream

Wyn Craig Wade (1979)

This compelling book treats the disaster from an entirely American standpoint, concentrating on the US Senate inquiry.

Down with the Old Canoe

Steven Biel (1996)

A ground-breaking and very enjoyable romp through the cultural history of the Titanic disaster.

Every Man for Himself

Beryl Bainbridge (1996)

The best fictionalized rendition of the Titanic saga; filling the ship with real and invented characters, Bainbridge tells a powerful story of star-crossed young love.



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