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                              Edited by

                          Bruce M. Caplan

Read the very first narrative published after the Titanic sank on April 15, 1912.  With original interviews by Logan Marshall this is the volume for Titanic Buffs! EXPERIENCE ALL OF THE 1912 MOMENTS OF THE "Sinking of the Titanic!"    


Bruce M. Caplan


Click on this cover and go to Amazon.com to sample book.   

You may also scroll down and read an article about this  narrative. 

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1912 Interviews by Logan Marshall relate that the Titanic left Southampton while hundreds of tons of coal blazed at the bottom of the ship in a storage bin!  The passengers were unaware of the fire.  Caplan hypothesizes that this fire contributed to the demise of the Titanic.  EXPERIENCE ALL OF THE 1912 MOMENTS OF THE "Sinking of the Titanic!"     

           Concordia's Demise More Like Andrea Doria Than The Titanic!
                                        Bruce M. Caplan

The Italian luxury-liner, Costa Concordia met a terrible fate when she slammed into a reef off the Italian island of Giglio. on this Friday the 13th. Many of the survivors compared their trauma to what happened on the Titanic almost a century ago. In reality the experience they shared was closer to the terror that confronted the passengers of the Andrea Doria more than half a century ago. At that time in 1956, the Andrea Doria was the pride of the Italian fleet-- the same as the Costa Concordia was in this era.

The Andrea Doria was about a quarter the size of the Costa Concordia and carried a total of 1660 passengers including the crew. At about 11 in the evening on July 26, 1956, the Andrea Doria and Swedish passenger ship Stockholm collided in fog off the coast of Nantucket. The crash immediately killed 46 people on the Italian ship. Several more died on the Stockholm.

The Andrea Doria instantly began to list and because of this all the lifeboats on the port side (left) were not operational. Fortunately the ship stayed afloat long enough for all the survivors---including the Captain to leave the ship.
Similar to the Andrea Doria, the passengers on the Costa Concordia immediately knew that they were in trouble. Their ship crashed into a reef and like the Doria, their vessel began to list. Because of this many of their lifeboats were not operational. Almost immediately like the Doria, the passengers began to panic.

If we compare what happened on the Titanic we find a different set of circumstances. The immediate contact with the iceberg was not a traumatic event for the majority of the over 2000 passengers. Most took little notice of the lethal contact. Most of the people who were up when contact was made with the iceberg were happy and excited about the event. It was enjoyable to slide on the ice and the collision was a real novelty. It took two hours and forty minutes for the Titanic to sink and for the first hour most passengers thought that they were still safe and secure.

The Titanic did not list after the encounter with the berg so the lifeboats on both the port and starboard sides were operational. This is contrary to what happened with the Concordia and the Doria where so many of the lifeboats were not functional.

If Titanic had, had enough lifeboats almost everyone would have been saved. Unfortunately, there were only enough of these craft to save half of the passengers and because the first boats were not filled to their capacity about two thirds of the passengers on the Titanic went to their demise.

Captain Smith
of the Titanic went down with his ship. Captain Calamai of the Andrea Doria was the last to leave his ship. Captain Schettino of the Costa Concordia ignored the rules of the sea and was not the last survivor to leave.

I think that why the passengers compared the Costa Concordia tragedy to the Titanic motion picture was because in both instances there was total panic. On the Concordia passengers were immediately frightened and on the Titanic the horrible feeling of terror began as a small seed and geometrically exploded as the ship met her final demise at 2:20 am on April 15, 1912

                         Titanic Article About This Book 

What Really Happened Aboard the Titanic?

By Jill Cueni-Cohen

Slip between the pages of “The Sinking of the Titanic,” and you’ll be transported back in time to 1912. 

Just weeks after the infamous sea disaster occurred, early 20th Century author Logan Marshall was the first to compile survivor accounts and turn them into a contemporary book that continues to captivate generations nearly a century later.

Author, editor, and speaker Bruce M. Caplan of Redmond, Washington has been a Titanic aficionado since he was a child. But when he first read a tattered copy of Marshall’s once popular book in 1981, he was stunned by the details it revealed -- details that were virtually ignored by historians and storytellers in the decades that followed.

“I was about ten years old when the first movie about the Titanic  -- came out in 1953. It starred Barbara Stanwick, Clifton Webb and Robert Wagner,” recalled Caplan. “I also had a school teacher in the 5th grade who told us about the Titanic and said that after they slammed the iceberg the passengers didn’t realize they were in danger. This made me want to find out more about the details of what happened.”

Caplan became enthralled with Marshall’s description of the Titanic disaster, which was originally titled “The Sinking of the Titanic and Great Sea Disasters.” And in 1996, he became the first to edit and re-issue the book.

Like its predecessor, the new, re-edited edition of “The Sinking of the Titanic” is embellished with a collection of artists’ renderings and actual photographs as Marshall lets the survivors tell their own tales of what it was like to live through the disaster. His writing also provides a matter-of-fact description of early 20th Century society as he interjects the views of the day with journalistic loquacity.

Marshall’s edition was the first of many “Titanic Instant Disaster” books that were produced in the days before film, radio, and television provided mass communication capabilities. According to Caplan, a salesman would travel through neighborhoods, distributing the first chapter of the book to homes in the neighborhoods.  Later they would return and take orders for one dollar a volume. For this reason they were also known as “door-to-door” books.

Written with sparkling clarity and a flair for the drama that unfolded before the eyes of his sources, Marshall’s work continues to treat today’s readers to a thrilling adventure that exposes little-known facts about what really happened before, during, and after the RMS Titanic met her fate on a clear moonless April night.

“Logan Marshall’s book sold about a million copies in 1912, and was not  reprinted,” noted Caplan. “Nobody got rid of it, and it became a family heirloom. But everyone sees an original copy and thinks it’s rare -- it’s not.”

What is rare about Marshall’s account, though, is the documented fact that a raging coal fire was burning deep within the belly of the ship even before the Titanic left the port of Southampton on April 10th, bound for New York. The fire actually began in Belfast where the Titanic was built.

“The book I edited told about the fire in great detail, however, no other book told about the fire until 1986,” Caplan said, adding that present-day books about the Titanic usually do contain information about the coal fire.

It’s common knowledge that an iceberg was involved in sending the great ship to the bottom of the sea, but Marshall’s account of how officers commanded the coal stokers to keep mum about the fire raises more questions than it answers.

“My feeling is that White Star Line officials were very worried about having their insurance claims turned down after the demise of the ship, because it was illegal for the Titanic to have left port in that condition,” Caplan noted.  “I think that’s why no other volumes of 1912 discussed the fire.  A 1912 coverup?”

He contends that the fire probably contributed to ship’s sinking. “Would it have sank if the fire hadn’t weakened the metallurgy?” he asks, adding that prior to 1999, the consensus was that the sharp ice cut through the ship’s hull like a can opener. But further research and actual photos of the ship under water prove that slight random penetrations caused the fatal damage.

“The bottom of the ship contained 16 compartments,” Caplan explained. “Up to four of the  compartments could have been compromised, and the ship could have still stayed afloat. But once the fifth compartment gave way, the ship would surely sink.” The coal fire was located right between the fifth and sixth compartments.

“I like people to know about the real facts of the Titanic,” said Caplan, 62, who has traveled all over the country, educating people about little-known details that make the Titanic disaster more fascinating than any Hollywood film.

“Did you know that a nearby ship, The Californian, could have saved everyone on the Titanic? The radio on the Titanic was owned by the Marconi company,” explained Caplan, and it was set up to make money transmitting  wireless messages to and from the passengers. “The Marconi transmitter had broken down that day and they had to fix it.

When it was repaired several hours later, the Californian sent word to the Titanic’s operator that they had to stop for the night because of ice. However, the Titanic operator was upset because of the interruption and told the Californian operator to shut up so he could continue to send his backlogged messages. A few minutes later, the Titanic hit the iceberg, but by then the Californian operator had turned off his radio and gone to sleep.”

       Caplan delights in telling audiences that the collision went virtually unnoticed by most passengers, but those who were still awake that evening were actually pleased with this sudden turn of events. “It was a minor annoyance, and they weren’t hurt,” said Caplan, adding that when the engines stopped, passengers thought their vacation on the luxurious ship would be extended. “It was kind of exciting for the first 45 minutes to an hour.”

The slow realization by the passengers that the ship was actually sinking made the boarding of lifeboats seem like a mere formality, said Caplan. “The first ones departed almost empty.”

The book paints Titanic’s Captain John Smith as a hero, but Caplan pointed out that by sailing with a fire on board, Smith was negligent. “Had he prudently waited for about a week to extinguish the fire in the coal bin, and then sailed, the probability of the ship hitting the iceberg in the same place was a billion to one.”

Since it’s re-issue, Caplan has attended a multitude of book signings and has sold more than 40,000 copies of “The Sinking of the Titanic,” often donating the book’s proceeds to worthy causes.

Said Caplan, “I want people to have empathy for what the Titanic’s passengers went through by trying to get them to understand the many facets of what happened  93 years ago.”