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Alive on the Andrea Doria!: The Greatest Sea Rescue in History    by Pierette Domenica Simpson order for
Alive on the Andrea Doria!
by Pierette Domenica Simpson
Order:  USA  Can
Purple Mountain Press, 2006 (2006)
Hardcover, Softcover
* *   Reviewed by Anise Hollingshead

The luxury liner Andrea Doria sank at sea in 1956, following a collision with the Stockholm. Incredibly, only a small percentage of passengers died, due partly to the proximity of other ships in this crowded area outside of Nantucket, U.S.A., and also to the heroic efforts of the crews of all ships involved. Because this was now the age of television and transatlantic communications, the accident was well documented. However, the two companies involved reached a quick settlement amongst themselves in order to avoid high costs from customer lawsuits, so the facts of the case were never fully explained to the public. Pierette Simpson, a survivor of the Andrea Doria, has set out to discover these facts and present them to us.

Pierette Simpson was a young girl on the Andrea Doria in 1956, traveling with her grandparents from Italy to America, where she was to be reunited with her mother and her mother's new family. She remembers clearly incidents on the ship during and immediately after the collision. She wanted to know all of the facts, though, and decided to research the Andrea Doria's sinking. She has interviewed surviving crew members and passengers, and conducted research into the written evidence and papers from the time of the incident. Her conclusions are presented in this book.

Alive on the Andrea Doria is an account of the sinking of the liner, and is concerned with events immediately preceding the collision, people's actions afterwards, and the facts surrounding the collision that were discovered in investigations of the accident. These accounts are mostly survivors' personal recollections, combined with a lesser amount of actual transcripts from the inquiries. The first chapters of the book set the stage for the retelling of this dramatic tale, recounting the author's personal story of the journey and her life afterwards in America.

This is an intriguing account of a fairly recent tragedy, made more interesting by the current lack of knowledge of just who and what was ultimately to blame for the sinking. This book attempts to uncover this information and reach a logical conclusion about what led up to the accident. Though I found it an informative and entertaining read, I'm unfortunately not equipped to assess just how accurate these facts and conclusions actually are. They do sound plausible, though. It's a good read for historical buffs and anyone interested in tales of true disasters.

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