Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Rare Titanic Family by Julie Hedgepeth Williams

 A Rare Titanic Family: The Caldwells' Story of Survival by Julie Hedgepeth Willams
Published: Spring 2012
208 pages - New South Books

        When Albert and Sylvia Caldwell decided to leave their mission work in
Siam and return to the United States, they never dreamed that they were in
for the journey of their lives. How could they ever imagine that the ship
they would be traveling on, the Titanic would forever be known as one of
the greatest disasters ever? Traveling with their 10-month-old son Alden,
the Caldwells set out on the voyage that would not only change their
lives, but history.
       In A Rare Titanic Family: The Caldwells’ Story of Survival,
Birmingham author Julie Hedgepeth Williams recounts the perilous
journey of the Titanic, but also the events that led up to the
Caldwells being on this infamous voyage. The author describes the
stories her great-uncle Albert told her and does her own extensive
research to piece together a harrowing account of survival, strength,
and courage. In one gripping moment, Albert must decide whether or
not to place his family on a lifeboat. This might seem like the
easiest decision in the world, knowing what we know now about
infamous night, but the passengers aboard the Titanic were told that
this was a ship that even God himself couldn’t sink. Also, the
circumstances of exactly how Albert ended up on a lifeboat, which was
strictly reserved for women and children, are quite suspenseful. A
Rare Titanic Family is not your ordinary Titanic book. Williams’
research reflects a new light on how the passengers on the Titanic
must have felt during this traumatic experience, but also the mania
that followed them after.

    Why I picked this book up? Word of mouth. My library happen to hear Ms. Williams speak at a function and was telling me about the book. Since April 2012 is the 100th anniversary of the Titanic sinking we wanted to incorporate the book somehow. We decided to host a program with Ms. Williams, along with have the book featured as the April read for the library's book group. I also happen to hear Ms. Williams speak previously at a SLIS function for her book  Wings Of Opportunity: The Wright Brothers In Montgomery, Alabama, 1910.


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