The Titanic Plan by Michael Bockman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Review of The Titanic Plan by Michael Bockman
A well-researched and finely-detailed historical novel, principally of the era 1907-1912, “The Titanic Plan” covers economics, politics, government; culture and society; immigration; and the closing years of America’s Gilded Age, an era whose powers-that-be strove mightily to extend. The novel presents quite an original perspective on this period and especially on the sinking of that “unsinkable” ocean liner on its maiden voyage in April 1912, the Titanic-that icon of history, legend, superstition, and myth-making so dear to the American heart.
The major protagonist of this novel is Captain-later Major-Archie Butt of Augusta, GA, descendant of many Confederate officers and a staunch veteran of the United States Army, who served in the Spanish-American War and then became Military Aide to first, President Theodore Roosevelt, and then to Teddy’s successor, William Howard Taft. Finding himself intertwined in an intrigue fomented on him by the new Director of the Bureau of Investigation (later the FBI), Captain Butt is reintroduced to a former friend and Army comrade, Mick Shaughnessy, a man who may or may not be in the company of anarchists, but who introduces Archie to the likes of Emma Goldman and Big Bill Haygood (the former an anarchist of Russian descent, the latter a former Idaho silver miner who became president of the International Workers of the World, nicknamed “Wobblies”). Archie also is led to contact with-conscription by-certain upper-class society businessmen, specifically John Jacob Astor and George Vanderbilt, and hence into “The Plan,” conceived initially by King Camp Gillette as a Niagara Falls Utopia, modified by Astor and Vanderbilt, propelled by the notorious corporate baron J. Pierpont Morgan.
I don’t wish to give away the original nature of the plot, but I will add that there are serious repercussions which mirror some of the theories most prevalent today, and in my perspective, lend credence to those theories as entirely possible, perhaps probable.
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