“Titanic: 100 Years Later” features a century of inimitable Los Angeles Times’ coverage, from the disaster and its immediate aftermath to the legacy of remembrance that continues to captivate us today. This collection, compiled by Times staff from the paper's archives, travels back to the early 20th century, and the story unfolds through the actual newspaper stories written in the days after the sinking. "Titanic" is a compelling journey through history as well as a fresh perspective on one of the epic tragedies of the modern era. The book includes iconic front page stories and riveting reports on events, people and cultural phenomena that could only appear in The Times.
Part 1 (“Disaster”) transports you back to April 15, 1912, to relive the event through the original newspaper articles, presented unaltered in the distinctive writing style of the time. You experience the catastrophe just as Southern Californians did 100 years ago. You experience the catastrophe just as readers did 100 years ago. As the tragedy unfolds, the nation is focused on the fate of the social elite with names like Astor, Guggenheim, Widener and Straus. Meanwhile Los Angeles awaits anxiously for word on Mr. and Mrs. Walter Miller Clark, a railroad baron’s son and his wife, who were returning from a second honeymoon. As the rescue ship with survivors steams toward New York, the ghastly but absorbing details of the disaster emerge: the initial lack of concern giving way to panic and chaos; ship’s officers with guns enforcing the “women and children first” rule, helped by Maj. Archibald Butt, aide to President Taft; rumors of the suicide of Capt. E. J. Smith on the bridge; and lifeboat passengers’ views of the still-lit ship plunging into blackness. When the survivors reach land, scrutiny intensifies on White Star Line chief J. Bruce Ismay, called before the U.S. Senate to explain how he survived when so many others didn’t, and a wealthy Angeleno provides a first-person account of her ordeal.
Part 2 (“Legacy and Discovery”) captures the renewed interest in the Titanic that began in the 1970s and ’80s. Meet Los Angeles-area survivors like Edwina MacKenzie, who settled in Hermosa Beach and whose memories 70 years—and three husbands—later are still fresh in 1982. Recall the dramatic 1985 discovery and exploration of the ship 2 ½ miles beneath the ocean. Learn of the effort by Capt. Smith’s hometown to resurrect his reputation. And get perspectives from renowned Times columnists Jack Smith and Patt Morrison.
Part 3 (“On Film”) revisits two major movies inspired by the event, 1958’s “A Night to Remember” and James Cameron’s 1997 blockbuster “Titanic.” The Times covers the controversial making of “Titanic” and profiles Leo and Kate before they become superstars. In the midst of the 1998 award accolades, the paper also stirs a “Titanic” clash of viewpoints between Times movie critic Kenneth Turan and director James Cameron, with the famously opinionated director responding with an essay of his own. And in 2010 the academy honors the amazing, late-blooming career of actress Gloria Stuart, who played Rose.
Part 4 (“Epilogue”) covers the end of an era as the last survivor, Millvina Dean, dies. A touching obituary for Dean retells her family's experience on that fateful night, which took her father. And then, just this year, a treasure trove of artifacts recovered from the ship are prepared for auction and The Times is there. The journey closes with a return to the beginning: elegies—some sorrowful, some finger-wagging—delivered at Los Angeles-area churches during the April 21, 1912, memorial services.