HMHS Britannic: The Last Titan, by Simon Mills

My Copy: 9780946184712 (image from abebooks.com)

If I recall correctly, my mother bought this for me back when I was a young shipwreck nut and wanted to learn everything I could about the Titanic disaster. She figured a sister was just as good, and yes–it was. I’ve read it a few times now, and have to say for a 25 year old, 56 page book, it’s still a good investment.

HMHS Britannic, The Last Titan may be thin, but very informative. The print is densely packed and perhaps a bit smaller than most people would be used to reading, but the dimensions are 8 1/2 x 11″ and the print is in two columns. Mr. Mills also chose to put plenty of photos to break up the text.

The third sister of the White Star Line’s great trio (Olympic 1st, Titanic 2nd), Britannic was meant to be a great ocean liner like the others. However, delays, finances, lessons learned from the Titanic disaster, and then World War, meant that the huge ship would have an entirely different purpose.

The book contains plenty of details, pictures, and even some theories and controversies that came about before and after her stint as a hospital ship. For instance, I didn’t realize that during WWI, there were accusations the British were using the Britannic and other hospital ships as troop transports, something that the Germans cried foul about for years.

I suppose that’s why it’s a small book, because there isn’t too much to say about a ship that didn’t get to sail very long, but it still served a purpose and had a rather interesting history.

Mr. Mills brings a ton of great information to light. I’ve noticed few books on the Britannic, but he seems to be a pretty good authority and I’ll be looking out for more (I think there’s one more online by him about it, full of deck plans–drool. I’m a naval engineering groupie).

This book is worth a look if you are a ship enthusiast and want to get or give some basic history about the Britannic.

I see it as decent proof that you don’t have to invest in 400 pages to get the gist of something. I’m tired of reading history that’s done in 100 pages with 300 of padding. This is just the right length with plenty of info.

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