Book: Every Man for Himself

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Book:

Every Man for Himself

Author: Beryl Bainbridge
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Publisher: Pub Group West

On Wednesday, April 10, 1912, the RMS Titanic left Southampton on her maiden voyage to New York. Four days later, half an hour before midnight, she struck an iceberg. By 2 a.m. the last lifeboat had rowed frantically away. Minutes later the great ship sank. Fifteen hundred people had lost their lives. Every Man for Himself recaptures those four crucial days at the end of the Belle Epoque.

J. Pierpont Morgan’s nephew, en route to New York, has booked passage on the world’s most luxurious ocean liner. His companions include a host of Guggenheims, Vanderbilts, and upper crust fellow travelers. It is a voyage of black-tie dining and moonlight serenades, of illicit romances and reserved travelers with shadowy pasts. The young Morgan soon finds his destiny linked to those of his shipmates, memorable personalities all, as the great ship sails toward her fate. But the Titanic’s destiny may not be unknown to everyone on board: just hours before tragedy strikes, one of the passengers is heard to remark, “Have you not yet learned that it’s every man for himself?” Bainbridge vividly recreates each scene of the voyage, from the suspicious fire in the Number 10 coal boiler, to the champagne and crystal of the first-class public rooms, to that terrible midnight chaos in the frigid North Atlantic. This remarkable, haunting tale confirms Bainbridge as a consummate observer of human behavior and the human condition.

Reviews

Amazon.com

After taking on the ill-fated Scott expedition to the South Pole in her previous book, The Birthday Boys, the novelist tackles a much larger 1912 disaster: the sinking of the Titanic. The narrator, a 22-year-old named Morgan, brushes up against real-life victims such as John James Astor early in the voyage, while falling in love with the beautiful and unobtainable Wallis Ellery. The deadly maiden voyage of the world’s largest ocean liner becomes a journey of self-discovery in this portentous, postmodern work, shortlisted for the 1996 Booker Prize.

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