Wait, they have a book about the musicians that were onboard Titanic? That was my thought exactly when I stumbled upon The Band That Played On on Amazon.
Not going to lie here that there are plenty of books out there that talk about Titanic. Heck, I even have one of the books too.
But a book that is focusing solely on the musicians? This is the only one that I came across so far.
Well, at least the book that is focusing on all musicians that were on Titanic instead of one.
Strangely enough, I end up getting another book about Titanic when I was still in the middle of reading The Band That Played On.
What can I say? The only thing that I know about Titanic is from the Titanic movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.
Just to let you know that I’m not having Titanic fever or anything. It’s just that things related to Titanic is piquing my interest for some reason.
What The Band That Played On is all about
Here’s the book description that I got from Amazon.
“They kept it up to the very end. Only the engulfing ocean had power to drown them into silence. The band was playing ‘Nearer, My God, to Thee.’ I could hear it distinctly. The end was very close.” —CHARLOTTE COLLYER, TITANIC SURVIVOR
The movies, the documentaries, the museum exhibits. They often tell the same story about the “unsinkable” Titanic, her wealthy passengers, the families torn apart, and the unthinkable end. But never before has “that glorious band”—the group of eight musicians who played on as the Titanic slipped deeper and deeper into the Atlantic Ocean—been explored in such depth. Steve Turner’s extensive research reveals a fascinating story including dishonest agents, a clairvoyant, social climbers, and a fraudulent violin maker. Read what brought the band members together and how their music served as the haunting soundtrack for one of modern history’s most tragic maritime disasters.
What got me to pick this book
It’s not unusual to come across books that talk about Titanic in general.
But a book that is focusing on the musicians that were onboard Titanic? Well, that was something different.
Well, we don’t know much about these musicians anyway since the movie itself is about the romantic endeavor between Jack and Rose. It’s a different story if one of the characters in the movie was having a fling with any of these musicians, though.
So yes, I’m only picking this book because I was curious.
And the fact that the book was on a discount on Amazon at that time got me excited about the book even more.
What makes The Band That Played On worth reading
I love how the book doesn’t just focus on each musician’s education and family background and also their musical experience prior to Titanic.
But the book also talks about the company that was responsible for their contract with Titanic and provides a brief history about Titanic too.
Unless you read many books related to Titanic prior to reading this book, then you probably don’t know much about Titanic.
If you did, you may feel like skipping the first few chapters of the book because you’re already familiar with Titanic history. But I suggest you not to do that since the history of the Titanic will tie back to the company who contracted these musicians to Titanic and also what made these musicians agreed to play on Titanic in the first place.
I have yet to read other books about Titanic so I can’t comment on how detailed is the story about Titanic included in this book.
But I will say that the detail itself should be enough for us to see how the company and these musicians relate together.
Another thing that I like about this book is that you get to see the lifestyle in that era through these musicians’ life.
Okay, I get that some of you may not find it fascinating. But hey, it sure does feel like a trip to the memory lane to me.
What I didn’t expect when I read the book
I won’t deny that writing a book whether it’s fiction or nonfiction book is hard. And it’s even harder to write when it’s a historical book where the historical sources aren’t that easy to locate.
The author of the book, Steve Turner, did say that it wasn’t easy to gather information related to these musicians since most of them don’t even have a direct ascendance.
So, the only way for him to dig more information about these musicians is to trace back anyone who knew these musicians in person. He also tried to get the information through the institutions that these musicians used to associate themselves with during their early life.
Heck, even tracing back through these institutions are no easy feat considering that they didn’t keep much of a record about these musicians.
Same goes for the close family members and friends who knew these musicians too. They didn’t have much of a record of these musicians other than one or two pictures of them.
Reading about how hard it is to compile historical information for the writing process makes me appreciate a historical book like this even more.
Well, this is something I should expect. But I never thought how hard it is until I read about the process myself.
Another thing that I don’t expect is these musicians were treated like a hero upon their death. Yes, that was a given because of their selfless act.
But to think that some of them even have a statue or any form of memorial to commemorate their act makes me feel amazed.
They may only be a musician on Titanic. But what they did to their last breath left a lasting impact to those who were there and to many people who learned about them years in the future.
Who should read this book
If you enjoy reading a historical book related to Titanic and music, then you’ll certainly enjoy reading this book.
And of course, if you’re someone who is curious about the life of someone who pursued music during that era will find this book a fascinating read too.
I’m not going to spoil you with details. But suffice to say that these musicians were lucky to have a family who was supportive of what they do.
If only they weren’t under a company with a shady contract deal.
Where to buy The Band That Played On
As always, you can buy the book in digital or in print on Amazon. If you’d like to get the book, you can get it in whichever format you prefer right here:
Can’t buy the book on Amazon? You can also buy the book in print on Wordery. I highly recommend you to buy books on Wordery because they offer free worldwide shipping.
You can get the book right here:
Over to you
What do you think about The Band That Played On? Are you interested in giving this book a try after reading about it on my blog? Let me know in the comment below.
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