A Rare Titanic Family

A Rare Titanic Family : How the Caldwells Survived the Sinking and Traveled the World

3.83 (163 ratings by Goodreads)

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Of the families that boarded the `unsinkable` Titanic in 1912, only a fourth stayed together during the sinking and arrived safely in New York. Albert and Sylvia Caldwell and their 10-month-old son, Alden, were one of those rare Titanic families. Author Julie Williams draws on first-person accounts from her great-Uncle Albert and extensive research to tell the fascinating story of the young family who were saved by a combination of luck, pluck, Albert's outgoing nature, Sylvia's illness, and Alden's helplessness. Their detailed story of the short life of the Titanic and their lucky rescue aboard the ill- starred Lifeboat 13 has never been fully told in Titanic literature. A Rare Titanic Family includes a photo taken of them on deck an unusual surviving souvenir sent to them after the disaster. But the trip on the Titanic was only one part of a bigger nightmare for the Caldwells. Albert and Sylvia, idealistic young Presbyterian missionaries from the American Midwest, had set out to B
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Product details

  • Paperback | 208 pages
  • 152.4 x 226.06 x 25.4mm | 340.19g
  • Montgomery, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • illustrations
  • 1588382826
  • 9781588382825
  • 753,958

Review quote

"A Rare Titanic Family is a one-of-a-kind biography of a rarely heard story of that sinking ship." --Midwest Book Review
"Cleanly written and well-researched, this book is recommended as another way to experience the human face of the Titanic tragedy." --Dustin Kaczmarczyk, German Titanic Society
"Williams' book is a compelling page turner and a first-hand account that will keep the reader ensconced." --Knoxville Journal News
"Williams presents a warm biography of her great-uncle by marriage, his first wife, and their son--one of the few families to escape intact from the sinking of Titanic. Related with obvious affection for her great-uncle, the author also gives a good sense of the difficulties in piecing together family histories and how even close relatives might not know the whole story. In addition to Titanic buffs, genealogists and missionary history readers will like this." --Library Journal
"A Rare Titanic Family, by Julie Hedgepeth Williams, is the gripping story of the survival of the Caldwell family during the tragic sinking of the Titanic. It is beautifully told by Albert Caldwell's great-niece Julie Williams." --Lee Thursby, Christian Science Monitor, reader recommendation
"A work of familial devotion with historical value, Williams' account of the Caldwells' travails and triumphs adds valuable context to the annals of the world's most famous maritime disaster." --Richmond Times-Dispatch
"A Rare Titanic Family is a rare work indeed. Ms. Williams has taken a seemingly ordinary family and not only describes in detail their experiences in the worst sea disaster of their era, but also describes the fascinating and unusual circumstances which led them to be on board the Titanic, carefully analyzing any variations in her sources. She then follows up with an equally interesting study of their lives afterward and how they were personally affected by the sinking. This is an unusual look at the private lives of three people who faced death on the North Atlantic, and survived to tell the tale." --Don Lynch, Former Vice President of the Titanic Historical Society and author of Titanic: An Illustrated History and Ghosts of the Abyss
"Written with sensitivity and meticulously researched, this book is an important addition to the Titanic canon." --George Behe, Author of On Board RMS Titanic
"Julie Williams has an uncanny ability to take your hand and make you fly with her to times past as you read her prose. You hear the music in church, you hear the rustle of the dresses shown in numerous original photographs, you feel the chilly air on your face when she describes the night setting on the doomed ship. More, much more than just a survival story, A Rare Titanic Family is a gem." --Roger-Wilco
"A hauntingly beautiful [story]. A wonderful book." --Sandra Stiles, The Musings of a Book Addict
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Rating details

163 ratings
3.83 out of 5 stars
5 31% (51)
4 33% (54)
3 25% (41)
2 9% (14)
1 2% (3)

Our customer reviews

Reason for Reading: I've always been intrigued with the Titanic and I am participating in a Titanic Reading Challenge this year. This is a fascinating story that read like a novel for me. My first time sitting down with the book I almost read halfway through. I've always enjoyed missionary stories and I found the first part of the book on Sylvia and Albert's early life and time spent in Siam just as interesting as the rest of the book which focuses on the Titanic sinking and the effect it had on their future lives. The author has a compelling storyteller's voice which is easy and addictive to read, making this an entertaining and unusual story to read. Because of the author's personal involvement with Albert and this being her own family history there are times when one wonders at the veracity of some of the events presented, but the author does fully admit that in light of lack of proof and hearsay in certain circumstances she has had to make educated guesses at times. She does have extensive proof from research which is fully documented online for Titanic historians that show her devotion to finding the facts behind this interesting family story. This is all to say that the book is completely believable in its research and facts but when the author pieces her logic together to make educated guesses, the reader may beg to differ. However, I just loved Albert and Sylvia both and thank Ms. Williams for bringing their personal story to the public with all its controversial sidestories put out there for the world to ogle. So many books are about the ship itself and the facts of what happened that night that it is imperative to read a story like this that reminds us about the people that were on board those few days. We think of all those who perished but what of those who survived. This book let's readers know it wasn't all over for the survivors once they drove away from the dock. Men especially had a hard time simply because they had survived and babies later became the last living survivors, whom the media were always after for interviews and yet they remembered nothing. This book brings home the personal side of the Titanic sinking and through one family's very personal story the reader gets an inside look into the sinking and the aftermath that a "just the facts" book can never provide. A riveting, fast, read profusely illustrated with family & contemporary photographs. A joy to read.show more
by Nicola Mansfield
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