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Dusk to Dawn - Survivor Accounts of the Last Night on the Titanic

About.com Rating 5 Star Rating


Dusk to Dawn - Survivor Accounts of the Last Night on the Titanic

Dusk to Dawn - Survivor Accounts of the Last Night on the Titanic By: Paul J. Quinn Format: Hardcover, 288pp. ISBN: 0965520994 Illustrated with 27 original color paintings and 80 black and white photographs Publisher: Fantail Pub. Date: June 1999

Dusk to Dawn Cover Courtesy of Paul J. Quinn

The Bottom Line

Excellent hour by hour account of the last night of the Titanic.
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  • Mesmerizing true story of the last night aboard the Titanic
  • Survivor accounts are memorable


  • Story is especially sad since mistakes were made by so many people; tragedy coould have been averted


  • Survivor accounts make you feel like you are with the passengers and crew of the Titanic and the other ships in the area
  • Hour-by-hour account goes by quickly, yet it seems there was plenty of time to avert the tragedy
  • Photos and documents included in the book make the story even more horrific and real

Guide Review - Dusk to Dawn - Survivor Accounts of the Last Night on the Titanic

On Wednesday, April 10, 1912, the Titanic set sail for America from Southampton. She planned to reach New York the following Wednesday. By April 16 the entire world was shocked to find that this majestic ocean liner had sunk. In April of each year, another anniversary of the historic event makes the news. I had the opportunity to read a book by Paul J. Quinn on the subject. Mr. Quinn's first book, Titanic at Two A.M., primarily focused on the last 20 minutes before the ship sank. This book starts earlier in the evening and continues hour by hour through that awful historic night.

Eight o'clock on April 14 found many of the passengers at dinner. The weather continued to be clear and calm, and all agreed the Sunday evening dinner was the best yet. Since the ship was on its fifth day out, casual acquaintances were evolving into friends. The passengers were comfortable with the ship's daily schedule. I doubt that anyone at dinner was discussing the possibility of striking an iceberg and sinking.

For the next few hours, the passengers were engaged in the entertainment on board--cards, music, dancing, and relaxing in the bars. Some wandered off to bed. Throughout the early evening hours the crew was into its normal routine. They too were just getting acquainted with each other, since this was the Titanic's maiden voyage. Mr. Quinn uses the survivors' stories to vibrantly discuss this last haunted evening on the fated ship. He weaves the passengers and crews remembrances well, making you feel like you are on the ship.

At about 11:40 that evening disaster struck. Many passengers were asleep and the impact was such that not all were awakened. As I read on, I found the crew and passengers were so nonchalant about it all. I wanted them to do SOMETHING. At midnight, the crew watch changed, and even some of them were unaware anything had happened until they got to their stations. There was still no panic, although when the ship began to list, some passengers did get alarmed. By one o'clock everyone was on deck, not quite sure what was happening. The stories of families being separated, as told by the survivors and Mr. Quinn, are quite dramatic.

The bow of the Titanic slipped into the dark sea at two o'clock, barely making a ripple. The story continues through the night, the survivors testifying as to the horrors they saw and heard in the darkness. Dawn came early over the sea, and the sky began to lighten at four a.m. Soon afterward, the Carpathia arrived and began picking up the relatively few remaining passengers. Some of those who survived testified before the Senate, and Mr. Quinn quotes them throughout the book. Others never spoke of their ordeal, not even to their families. All of those who did survive carried the distinction of "Titanic survivor" the rest of their lives.

The story of the Titanic has been romanticized in books and movies. This documentary makes the horror real. If you love history and love the sea, you'll be entranced by this book.

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