Bibliographic Citation: Brown, Don. All Stations! Distress!: April 15, 1912: The Day the Titanic Sank. New York: FlashPoint, 2008. 64p. ISBN: 978-1-59643- 2222.
ALSC Notable Book, 2002-2012
Don Brown’s fast-paced All Stations! Distress! tells the story of the tragedy of April 15, 1912, the day that the “unsinkable” Titanic sank.
Don Brown’s All Stations! Distress!: April 15, 1912: The Day the Titanic Sank is an incredibly fast-paced read. On the one hand, I feel the book’s pacing appropriately mirrors its subject matter. Barely three hours after the ship’s lookout Frederick Fleet spied an iceberg ahead, the colossal Titanic sank. The ship’s crew and passengers hardly had a moment to grasp the reality of the situation before they were thrown onto lifeboats (or, if they’d been in third class, left for dead) and thrust into the freezing ocean below. Readers of Brown’s book will be swept up in the details of the tragedy of the Titanic and before they know it, it will be over.
Though the swiftness of Brown’s book reflected the swiftness with which the Titanic sank, I felt as though something were missing while reading it. Much of the book read as a blow by blow account of what happened the morning of April 15, 1912, without much emotion behind these events. Because the book focused mainly on the sinking of the ship, readers aren’t given the chance to connect with any of its passengers. Allowing readers to connect more deeply with the victims would have made the book more poignant. However, this isn’t to say that the contents of All Stations! Distress! aren’t powerful. Details like the fact that the first lifeboat was lowered with only twenty-eight people aboard when it had room for sixty-five were unsettling and hinted at the fact that many of the more than 1,500 deaths could have been prevented. Though the book was somewhat lacking in personal details, the events it described are powerful enough to make an impact on their own. The book provides readers with a cursory overview of the tragedy of the Titanic, and will encourage further reading.