100 books like RMS Olympic

By Mark Chirnside,

Here are 100 books that RMS Olympic fans have personally recommended if you like RMS Olympic. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of A Night to Remember

Kathleen McGurl Author Of The Lost Sister

From my list on the ships Titanic and Carpathia.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a historical and dual timeline novelist, and I sometimes think I love the research phase more than the writing phase. For each novel I start with a vague idea, then buy or borrow books to read around the subject in the hope that a story will gradually emerge. I was lucky with The Lost Sister in that a chance remark of my brother’s sparked an idea, and he had a large collection of Titanic books which he let me borrow.

Kathleen's book list on the ships Titanic and Carpathia

Kathleen McGurl Why did Kathleen love this book?

This book is generally considered the definitive account of the events of 14th-15th April, 1912, covering what happened on both Titanic and Carpathia.

It was first published in 1955 when of course many of the survivors would still have been alive. It’s short, and written in a wonderful, easy-to-read style, and has never been out of print. Rightly so – it’s practically required reading for any novelist or filmmaker taking on the topic of Titanic.

And for anyone fascinated by the story of Titanic, there is no better book.

By Walter Lord,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked A Night to Remember as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'There is no danger that Titanic will sink. The boat is unsinkable and nothing but inconvenience will be suffered by the passengers.' - Phillip Franklin, White Star Line Vice-President

On April 15th, 1912, Titanic, the world's largest passenger ship, sank after colliding with an iceberg, claiming more than 1,500 lives. Walter Lord's classic bestselling history of the voyage, the wreck and the aftermath is a tour de force of detailed investigation and the upstairs/downstairs divide. A Night to Remember provides a vivid, gripping and deeply personal account of the 'unsinkable' Titanic's descent.

WITH A NEW FOREWORD BY JULIAN FELLOWES


Book cover of Titanic Survivor: The Newly Discovered Memoirs of Violet Jessop who Survived Both the Titanic and Britannic Disasters

Kathleen McGurl Author Of The Lost Sister

From my list on the ships Titanic and Carpathia.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a historical and dual timeline novelist, and I sometimes think I love the research phase more than the writing phase. For each novel I start with a vague idea, then buy or borrow books to read around the subject in the hope that a story will gradually emerge. I was lucky with The Lost Sister in that a chance remark of my brother’s sparked an idea, and he had a large collection of Titanic books which he let me borrow.

Kathleen's book list on the ships Titanic and Carpathia

Kathleen McGurl Why did Kathleen love this book?

I came across a mention of Violet Jessop in a Wikipedia article right at the start of my research into Titanic and her sister ships.

She worked on all three ships – Olympic, Titanic, and Britannic, and survived not one but two shipwrecks. Even after those harrowing events she went back to work on Olympic until the ship was retired in the 1930s.

Her autobiography was published posthumously, and makes for fascinating reading. I ended up including her as a minor character in my novel, and she’ll feature in my forthcoming novel too!

By Violet Jessop,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Titanic Survivor as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Violet Jessop's life is an inspiring story of survival. Born in 1887 in Argentina, the eldest child of Irish immigrants, at the age of 21 she became the breadwinner for her widowed mother and five siblings when she commenced a career as a stewardess and nurse on some of the most famous ocean going vessels of the day. Throughout her 40 year time at sea she survived an unbelievable series of events including the sinking of the TITANIC.

"One awful moment of empty, misty blackness enveloped us in its loneliness, then an unforgettable, agonizing cry went up from 1500 despairing…


Book cover of Titanic Voices: Memories from the Fateful Voyage

Kathleen McGurl Author Of The Lost Sister

From my list on the ships Titanic and Carpathia.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a historical and dual timeline novelist, and I sometimes think I love the research phase more than the writing phase. For each novel I start with a vague idea, then buy or borrow books to read around the subject in the hope that a story will gradually emerge. I was lucky with The Lost Sister in that a chance remark of my brother’s sparked an idea, and he had a large collection of Titanic books which he let me borrow.

Kathleen's book list on the ships Titanic and Carpathia

Kathleen McGurl Why did Kathleen love this book?

This book, which I also borrowed from my brother, is a collection of hundreds of snippets of letters, newspaper articles, diary entries, and other sources, the voices of people connected with the disaster.

Survivors, relatives of the lost, people who were involved with building the ship or who simply went to wave her off from Southampton. It also includes a lot of photographs, and as a novelist was so helpful to give me a sense of what it was like for people involved at the time, from so many different angles.

By Donald Hyslop (editor), Alastair Forsyth (editor), Sheila Jemima (editor) , John Lawrence (photographer)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Titanic Voices as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Including previously unpublished interviews with and letters written by survivors, along with forty-two color photographs, a book of memorabilia about the Titanic disaster presents the firsthand accounts of witnesses.


Book cover of Carpathia

Kathleen McGurl Author Of The Lost Sister

From my list on the ships Titanic and Carpathia.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a historical and dual timeline novelist, and I sometimes think I love the research phase more than the writing phase. For each novel I start with a vague idea, then buy or borrow books to read around the subject in the hope that a story will gradually emerge. I was lucky with The Lost Sister in that a chance remark of my brother’s sparked an idea, and he had a large collection of Titanic books which he let me borrow.

Kathleen's book list on the ships Titanic and Carpathia

Kathleen McGurl Why did Kathleen love this book?

The two previous books in this list had given me a little taste of Carpathia’s story, the ship that came to Titanic’s rescue and picked up all the survivors.

And then, after my book was published, a book blogger got in touch to say she’d been inspired by my book to find out more about Carpathia, and had bought this book by Jay Ludowyke which she recommended to me.

I bought it, read it, and realised there was another novel in this, one set mostly on Carpathia after the rescue… and so I wrote it. It’s to be published in November 2023!

Ludowyke’s book tells the whole story of Carpathia, not just that famous night. From how she was named, to how her wreck (she was torpedoed in the First World War) was discovered and identified, this book reads like a novel in itself, and I highly recommend it.

By Jay Ludowyke,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Carpathia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the early hours of 15 April 1912, the Cunard steamship Carpathia receives a distress call from the new White Star liner Titanic. Captain Arthur Rostron immediately turns Carpathia northwest and sails full speed through the dark night, into waters laden with icebergs, on a rescue mission that will become legendary.

Almost a century later, Carpathia's wreck has finally been located. She's over 500 feet down and only a few divers in the world can attain these depths. Among them is Englishman Ric Waring's team.

In this captivating and intensively researched story, we follow the dual narratives of Rostron and…


Book cover of RMS Mauretania (1907): Queen of the Ocean

John G. Sayers Author Of Secrets of the Great Ocean Liners

From my list on ocean liners and cruises.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a passionate, long-time collector of Ocean Liner material. I am recognized as a Member of the Board of The Ephemera Society of America, the Board of The Friends of Fort George, the Council of the British Ephemera Society and other historical and collector organizations. I was thrilled to be Recipient of the 2017 Award of Merit by The Ephemera Society of America, I was engaged by The Bodleian Library at Oxford University to author a book which captured some of the highlights of my extensive 60-year collection of Ocean Liner material which has been donated to the University. This book, sold globally, is the result of that work. 

John's book list on ocean liners and cruises

John G. Sayers Why did John love this book?

This is a biography but it’s about a famous ship, the Mauretania, rather than a famous person. Through her illustrious career the Mauretania—affectionately called the ‘Maurycarried passengers in speed and style across the Atlantic while holding the Blue Riband for more than 20 years. In service from 1907 to 1934, she spanned the era of the great luxurious liners.

Lots of textual material, which I like, although there’s enough photos to illustrate the various aspects of her life. If you like detail, this book has it. My only criticism is light coverage of her important role in the First World War. Read this in conjunction with the histories of her sister ship and running mate, the ill-fated Lusitania. They provided a rotating weekly service across the Atlantic for 8 years, and were equally luxurious, but their stories are far from identical.

By David Hutchings,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked RMS Mauretania (1907) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

FIVE YEARS in the making, RMS Mauretania and her sister the Lusitania represented a new era in British shipbuilding. Ostensibly built to compete against record-breaking German behemoths, the Mauretania was not only one of the first major ships to be turbine-driven or have four propellers - she was the largest moving structure ever to have been created by man at that time. And, soon enough, she would become the fastest as well. But the Mauretania wasn't just built for luxury. When war was declared in August 1914, she was pressed into service as a troop- and hospital ship. Where once…


Book cover of The Making of a Legionnaire: My Life in the French Foreign Legion Parachute Regiment

Jaime Salazar Author Of Legion of the Lost: The true experience of an American in the French Foreign Legion

From my list on the French Foreign Legion from someone who joined.

Why am I passionate about this?

In 1999, I followed my childhood dreams and enlisted in the French Foreign Legion. In 2005, I published my first work, Legion of the Lost, which chronicles my swashbuckling experience serving in the French Foreign Legion. This is my story. 

Jaime's book list on the French Foreign Legion from someone who joined

Jaime Salazar Why did Jaime love this book?

This tome was the size of a phone book but it has relevance even today. It's one of the slightly obscure classics but it speaks to the profound spiritual questions that transcend time. Parris was an idealist Englishman who served in the legion in the early 90s. but this was not a story of glory and medals. Parris saw action in Chad and had to spill blood. This chilling act never left him and he was haunted by his actions for years to come. The author passed from illness but dedicated the book to his son.

By Bill Parris,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Making of a Legionnaire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Penniless, divorced and AWOL from the British forces, Bill Parris volunteered for the French Foreign Legion in the early 1980s. Unlike many British volunteers to the Legion, Bill did not desert. He endured a horrendous training regime and, despite a fear of heights (!) joined the elite Foreign Legion Parachute Regiment. He discovered how women from all over the world flock to Corsica where the Legion is based - so his R&R was almost as exhausting as the jungle warfare school he was later sent to. This is more than a war story - it is a personal journey too,…


Book cover of Entertaining Mr. Pepys

Carol M. Cram Author Of The Muse of Fire

From my list on when you’re in the mood for a spot of Shakespeare.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve loved the theater ever since I first stepped on stage in a high school production of You Can’t Take It With You. I had one line and was hooked! And as for Shakespeare–I fell in love with the Bard when I was 13 and saw Franco Zeffirelli’s Romeo and Juliet. My best friend and I spent hours reciting the lines (I still remember whole speeches). So, when I was looking for an artsy subject (I love the arts) for my third novel, I naturally turned to the theater. I have a Master of Arts in Drama from the University of Toronto and when I’m not writing, I run Art In Fiction, a website showcasing 1700+ novels inspired by the arts.

Carol's book list on when you’re in the mood for a spot of Shakespeare

Carol M. Cram Why did Carol love this book?

Entertaining Mr. Pepys explores the world of British theater during a time when women were finally allowed on stage as actresses. I loved it because of how the author explored her main character’s fascination with acting, which reminded me very much of how Grace in my own book is captivated by the stage and willing to go to any lengths to become an actress. I have read several of Swift’s novels and credit them with inspiring me to write my own novels based on women in the arts.

By Deborah Swift,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Entertaining Mr. Pepys as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Perfect for fans of Philippa Gregory, Alison Weir, Anne O'Brien and Elizabeth Chadwick, Deborah Swift brings a unique period in history to vivid, fascinating life in her acclaimed Pepys trilogy.

'A remarkably beguiling read. It transported me to the glitter and filth of seventeenth century London' Martine Bailey, author of The Almanack

'The fusion of historical facts and fiction is so flawless that it is hard to know where reality ends and fiction begins' Readers' Favorite

London, 1666. Elizabeth 'Bird' Carpenter has a wonderful singing voice, and music is her chief passion. When her father persuades her to marry horse-dealer…


Book cover of In the Presence of the Enemy

Vee Kumari Author Of Dharma: A Rekha Rao Mystery

From my list on families disguised as mysteries.

Why am I passionate about this?

Being an immigrant from India, a culture that places family values above all else, I am drawn to books that explore family conflicts, secrets, and the triumph of love against all odds. When an author incorporates these themes into a mystery, the book becomes more than a simple formulaic whodunnit story that educates me about the complexities of our lives.

Vee's book list on families disguised as mysteries

Vee Kumari Why did Vee love this book?

Threat of exposure of a scandalous affair takes Lynley and his sidekick Havers from London into the countryside, where they reveal how a hidden past and the mistaken identity of a father by his son, led to murder. I love it for the writing style – George's later books became too big for me – the characters she creates with such clarity and passion, who are put into situations that threaten their lives, reputation, and ideals.

By Elizabeth George,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked In the Presence of the Enemy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As the editor of a popular left-wing tabloid, Dennis Luxford has made a career out of scandal. But this time the scoop involves his own daughter. To save the life of his child, Luxford must expose the girl's mother - Eve Bowen, now Under Secretary of State for the Home Office. And Eve refuses to involve the police, convinced that Charlotte's disappearance is just one more shabby tabloid ploy.

Only when events take an unbearable turn is New Scotland Yard brought in, in the guise of Inspector Thomas Lynley and his partner, Barbara Havers. And as their investigations move from…


Book cover of Communities of Resistance: Writings on Black Struggles for Socialism

Arun Kundnani Author Of The Muslims Are Coming: Islamophobia, Extremism, and the Domestic War on Terror

From my list on racism in Britain.

Why am I passionate about this?

Kundnani writes about racial capitalism and Islamophobia, surveillance and political violence, and Black radical movements. He is the author of The Muslims are Coming! Islamophobia, extremism, and the domestic War on Terror and The End of Tolerance: racism in 21st century Britain, which was selected as a New Statesman book of the year. He has written for the Nation, the Guardian, the Washington Post, Vice, and The Intercept. Born in London, he moved to New York in 2010. A former editor of the journal Race & Class, he was miseducated at Cambridge University, and holds a PhD from London Metropolitan University. He has been an Open Society fellow and a scholar-in-residence at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York Public Library.

Arun's book list on racism in Britain

Arun Kundnani Why did Arun love this book?

A. Sivanandan was a key intellectual of the Asian and African-Caribbean working-class movements in Britain during their insurgent heyday from the late 1960s to the late 1980s. The essays collected in this volume, written between 1982 and 1990, are about how those movements were disaggregated and undermined – laying the ground for today’s racist Britain. The son of a rural postal clerk from the hinterland of a minor colonial territory, Sivanandan fled Sri Lanka after the anti-Tamil pogroms of 1958 and arrived in London as a refugee. The socialism the book advocates is poetic, loving, joyful, and centered upon the experiences of Third World peoples. Not a single sentence of Communities of Resistance is clunky or lacking in feeling.

By A. Sivanandan,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Communities of Resistance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ambalavaner Sivanandan was one of Britain's most influential radical thinkers. As Director of the Institute of Race Relations for forty years, his work changed the way that we think about race, racism, globalisation and resistance. Communities of Resistance collects together some of his most famous essays, including his excoriating polemic on Thatcherism and the left "The Hokum of New Times".

This updated edition contains a new preface by Gary Younge and an introduction by Arun Kundnani.


Book cover of The Black Door: Spies, Secret Intelligence and British Prime Ministers

David P. Oakley Author Of Subordinating Intelligence: The DoD/CIA Post-Cold War Relationship

From my list on history, personalities, activities of intelligence.

Why am I passionate about this?

My fascination with intelligence studies is tied to my previous experience as a practitioner. While serving as a military officer and CIA officer, I became curious about how two organizations with a shared history could be so different. Exploring the “why” of the CIA/DoD differences led me to the broader interplay of organizational cultures, individuals, and missions in influencing the evolution of intelligence, its purpose, and its role. These five books will provide the reader a broader appreciation of how intelligence was used to help policymakers understand reality and how intelligence organizations have been used to try to change reality. You will not merely learn something about intelligence but will be entertained and engaged while doing so. 

David's book list on history, personalities, activities of intelligence

David P. Oakley Why did David love this book?

I am fascinated by how different countries approach intelligence, both from how they organize intelligence activities and how intelligence informs policymaking. These various approaches highlight there is not a common approach to intelligence and help explain why simple definitions of intelligence are insufficient at capturing various intelligence activities and organizations. The Black Door looks at how British Prime Ministers have used intelligence and their relationships with intelligence organizations over the past century. A well-written account by two thoughtful and prolific scholars, the reader will appreciate how British Prime Ministers have used intelligence to not only understand the world but to also act.  

By Richard J. Aldrich, Rory Cormac,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Black Door as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Black Door explores the evolving relationship between successive British prime ministers and the intelligence agencies, from Asquith's Secret Service Bureau to Cameron's National Security Council.

Intelligence can do a prime minister's dirty work. For more than a century, secret wars have been waged directly from Number 10. They have staved off conflict, defeats and British decline through fancy footwork, often deceiving friend and foe alike. Yet as the birth of the modern British secret service in 1909, prime ministers were strangers to the secret world - sometimes with disastrous consequences. During the Second World War, Winston Churchill oversaw a…


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