A Rare Titanic Family: The Caldwells' Story of Survival

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NewSouth Books, 2012 - Transportation - 208 pages
9 Reviews
Of all the families that boarded the doomed ocean liner Titanic together in 1912, only one fourth arrived safely in New York together. Albert and Sylvia Caldwell and their 10-month-old son, Alden, were one of those rare Titanic families. A Rare Titanic Family draws on first-person accounts from Albert and Sylvia to tell the fascinating story of the young couple who had no intention of getting off the "unsinkable" Titanic. It was, as Sylvia had been told, a ship that God Himself could not sink. They 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 Bangkok, Siam, on the very day of their wedding in 1909, eager to serve God and see the world. But things went awry. In the end, they fled Bangkok in what they described as a desperate journey around the world to save Sylvia's health. Fellow missionaries, however, believed that the couple had been plotting for some time to renege on their contract and contrive an excuse to go home early, at great financial loss to the church. The trip around the world thus developed into a grim game of cat and mouse, with the Caldwells as the prey. Not even the loss of the Titanic ended the hunt. A Rare Titanic Family follows all the true-life plot twists in the biographical account of a family who successfully fled aboard the Titanic but never could get out from under the shadow that the ship cast over them.
 

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User Review  - ElizaJane - LibraryThing

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 ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - skstiles612 - LibraryThing

April 12, 2012 will mark 100 years since the Titanic sank. Julie Williams is the great-niece of Albert Caldwell. Albert and his first wife Sylvia went to college together, accepted a mission to Siam ... Read full review

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Contents

OfThose in Peril on the Sea
3
As Far From the Sea as a Person Could Get
15
Caught in a maelstrom
33
Deliver Us from Seasickness
57
To the lifeboatsWomen and Children First
71
To See How the Sea FlapDragoned it
80
Pull for the Shore Sailor
96
Tossed on the Ocean of life
117
navigating new Waters
134
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About the author (2012)

Julie Hedgepeth Williams is a journalism professor at Samford University. She received a B.A. in English and history from Principia College in Elsah, Illinois, and a Masters in Journalism and a Ph.D in Mass Communications from the University of Alabama.

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