Plenty to read on doomed ship

Want to know more about the Titanic? Here are some books on the subject:

Titanic: Legacy of the World's Greatest, by Susan Wels (Time-Life Books, $34.95). Before and after photographs, excerpts from passenger diaries and 300 color photographs tell the story from construction of Titanic to the recovery mission. Presented by the Discovery Channel (with an introduction by William F. Buckley Jr.), the book is in collaboration with RMS Titanic Inc., the exhibition's sponsor.

Titanic Voices: Memories From the Fateful Voyage, edited by Donald Hyslop, Alastair Forsyth and Sheila Jemima (St. Martin's, $29.95). Firsthand accounts of those who were actually there are punctuated with previously unpublished photos, letters and oral histories.

Titanic Survivor, edited by John Maxtone-Graham, (Sheridan House, $23.95). The newly released memoirs of the late Violet Jessop, a 25-year-old stewardess serving first-class passengers aboard the Titanic, who somehow managed to escape not only the sinking ship but also the initial grilling by journalists.

A Night To Remember, by Walter Lord (Bantam, $5.99). A you-are-there recounting of the tragic night in which Lord jumps the reader about the ship to watch how crew and passengers cope with disaster. Lots of detail for a slim read, and the impetus in the 1950s for a revival of "Titanicmania."

Down With The Old Canoe: A Cultural History of the Titanic Disaster, by Steven Biel (Norton, $25, paperback $13). After first pointing out the folly of turning a maritime tragedy into a cultural touchstone, Biel goes on to explain why Titanic resurfaces in everything from political campaigns to church pulpits in our history and our present.

The Titanic Disaster: As Reported in the British National Press, April-July 1912, by Dave Bryceson (Norton, $35). Large-format layout includes a major collection of newspaper stories (and fewer photos) about the tragedy. Starved for hard facts, the press made up new angles, including the rumor that the Hope diamond was aboard.

Last Dinner on the Titanic, by Rick Archbold and Dana McCauley (Hyperion, $24.95). When an appetite for trivia is unsated, turn to this illustrated book on the sumptuous food aboard, with menus, and recipes for more than 50 dishes. Beyond the kitchen, there are tips on setting the mood and dressing appropriately for a last meal on the Titanic.

Inside the Titanic: A Giant Cutaway Book, by Ken Marschall (Little, Brown, $18.95). The story of the doomed ship is told in a visual way that makes readers feel they are aboard. The book, lavishly sized and with detailed, cutaway illustrations, includes stories of young passengers.

The Titanic Conspiracy: Cover-Ups and Mysteries of the World's Most Famous Sea Disaster, by Robin Gardiner and Dan van der Vat (Citadel, $18.95). A paperback that doesn't claim to have all the answers, but raises questions never before asked.

Her Name, Titanic: The Untold Story of the Sinking and Finding of the Unsinkable Ship, by Charles Pellegrino (Avon, $6.50). Another paperback, this one by a member of the team that discovered the wreck more than two miles down in the Atlantic.

Every Man for Himself, by Beryl Bainbridge (Carroll & Graf, $10.95). This Booker Prize-nominated novel, now in paperback, is told by J. Pierpont Morgan's nephew, once poor, who is ironically redeemed at the end.

Psalm at Journey's End, by Erik Fosnes Hansen (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $24). Published in 1996, this moving novel details the fictitious lives of each band member who went down with the ship. Available in paperback from Harcourt Brace ($13).

Titanic: Destination Disaster, the Legends and the Reality, by John P. Eaton and Charles A. Haas (Norton, $15.95). If you want details -- such as how many salt shakers were aboard -- or fine photos, this reissue in paperback is for you. Eaton and Haas also wrote the text for the exhibition catalog.

Maiden Voyage, by Cynthia Bass (Bantam, $12.95). A fictitious account of the historical event in which young Sumner Jordan must live with his yearning to be heroic, and the reality that when tested as a passenger on the Titanic, he survived.

The Titanic: End of a Dream, by Wyn Craig Wade (Penguin, $13.95). Another decent factual account in paperback of the building, and sinking, of the ship.

On Board The Titanic, by Shelley Tanaka, paintings by Ken Marschall (Hyperion, $16.95). A book written for mature children on what it was like on the ship, told by 17-year-old passenger Jack Thayer, who survives despite the frightening demise depicted by Marschall's paintings.

Titanic, An Illustrated History, by Don Lynch, paintings by Ken Marschall (Hyperion, $29.95). A large-format gem with all the panache of a coffee table tome, this is brimming with photographs, paintings and diagrams of the ship as well as details of those whose lives it irrevocably changed.

The Titanic: The Extraordinary Story of the "Unsinkable" Ship, by Geoff Tibballs (Reader's Digest, $19.95). In this paperback the author covers the building and promotion of the liner and journeys through the final hours in a less-opulent and satisfactory manner than Lynch. He does, however, include nifty tidbits such as a collection of people and their premonitions about Titanic's tragic destiny.

No Greater Love, by Danielle Steel (Dell, $6.50). Steel's 1991 story of the Titanic's maiden voyage is told in relation to the unconsummated love life of the heroine, whose fiance goes down with the ship. The paperback version was published in 1992.

-- Compiled by Times staff

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