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About Walter Lord
Walter Lord's A Night to Remember is a minute-by-minute account of the Titanic's final hours. Lord wrote 12 books, honing an eye-witness approach to history whether it was Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor (Day of Infamy) or the defense of the Alamo (A Time to Stand) or the Battle of Midway (Incredible Victory). In The Way It Was, he tells his own story, about his life and books.
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At first, no one but the lookout recognized the sound. Passengers described it as the impact of a heavy wave, a scraping noise, or the tearing of a long calico strip. In fact, it was the sound of the world’s most famous ocean liner striking an iceberg, and it served as the death knell for 1,500 souls. In the next two hours and forty minutes, the maiden voyage of the Titanic became one of history’s worst maritime accidents. As the ship’s deck slipped closer to the icy waterline, women pleaded with their husbands to join them on lifeboats. Men changed into their evening clothes to meet death with dignity. And in steerage, hundreds fought bitterly against certain death. At 2:15 a.m. the ship’s band played “Autumn.” Five minutes later, the Titanic was gone. Based on interviews with sixty-three survivors, Lord’s moment-by-moment account is among the finest books written about one of the twentieth century’s bleakest nights.
Walter Lord’s A Night to Remember was a landmark work that recounted the harrowing events of April 14, 1912, when the British ocean liner RMS Titanic went down in the North Atlantic Ocean, a book that inspired a classic movie of the same name. In The Night Lives On, Lord takes the exploration further, revealing information about the ship’s last hours that emerged in the decades that followed, and separating myths from facts.
Was the ship really christened before setting sail on its maiden voyage? What song did the band play as water spilled over the bow? How did the ship’s wireless operators fail so badly, and why did the nearby Californian, just ten miles away when the Titanic struck the iceberg, not come to the rescue? Lord answers these questions and more, in a gripping investigation of the night when approximately 1,500 victims were lost to the sea.
The Solomon Islands was where the Allied war machine finally broke the Japanese empire. As pilots, marines, and sailors fought for supremacy in Guadalcanal, Bougainville, and the Slot, a lonely group of radio operators occupied the Solomon Islands’ highest points. Sometimes encamped in comfort, sometimes exposed to the elements, these coastwatchers kept lookout for squadrons of Japanese bombers headed for Allied positions, holding their own positions even when enemy troops swarmed all around. They were Australian-born but Solomon-raised, and adept at survival in the unforgiving jungle environment. Through daring and insight, they stayed one step ahead of the Japanese, often sacrificing themselves to give advance warning of an attack.
In Lonely Vigil, Walter Lord, the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of A Night to Remember and The Miracle of Dunkirk, tells of the survivors of the campaign and what they risked to win the war in the Pacific.
In just two hours and forty minutes, 1,500 souls were lost at sea when the RMS Titanic succumbed to the icy waters of the North Atlantic. Based on interviews with sixty-three survivors, A Night to Remember tells the story of that fateful night, offering a meticulous and engrossing look at one of the twentieth century’s most infamous disasters. In The Night Lives On, Lord revisits the unsinkable ship, diving into the multitude of theories—both factual and fanciful—about the Titanic’s last hours. Was the ship really christened before setting sail on its maiden voyage? How did its wireless operators fail so badly, and why did the nearby Californian, just ten miles away when the Titanic struck the iceberg, not come to the rescue? Together for the first time, Lord’s classic bestseller A Night to Remember and his subsequent study The Night Lives On offer remarkable insight into the maritime catastrophe that continues to fascinate and horrify a full century later.
Though remarkable in their own right, the first fifteen years of the 1900s had the misfortune of being sandwiched between—and overshadowed by—the Gilded Age and the First World War. In The Good Years, Walter Lord remedies this neglect, bringing to vivid life the events of 1900 to 1914, when industrialization made staggering advances, and the Wright brothers captured the world’s imagination. Lord writes of Newport and Fifth Avenue, where the rich lived gaily and without much worry beyond the occasional economic panic. He also delves into the sweatshops of the second industrial revolution, where impoverished laborers and children suffered under unimaginable conditions. From the assassination of President McKinley to the hot and lazy “last summer” before the outbreak of war, Lord writes with insight and humor about the uniquely American energy and enthusiasm of those years before the Great War would forever change the world.
From the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of Incredible Victory and Day of Infamy, this is an “informative and entertaining” journey through an often-overlooked period of history at the beginning of the twentieth century (The New York Times).
On March 1, 1909, only 413 miles of formidable ice separated Robert E. Peary from realizing his lifelong dream of becoming the first man to set foot on the North Pole. On that dark morning on Canada’s Ellesmere Island, it was cold enough to freeze a bottle of brandy. The ice looked solid enough, but it sat atop seawater—and shifted violently according to the whims of the ocean below.
Peary was used to the conditions—he’d barely survived them just three years before when he first tried, and failed, to reach the earth’s northernmost point. But this time around, no amount of peril could dissuade Peary and his party from their expedition. With a cry of “Forward, march!” the journey of a lifetime began.
Written with thrilling detail and heart-pounding suspense by the author of Day of Infamy and other bestselling histories, Peary to the Pole is the definitive account of one man’s trek through some of the world’s most treacherous terrain, in search of adventure, discovery, and immortality, a classic for readers of books like In the Kingdom of Ice or The Last Place on Earth.
On the morning of June 4, 1942, doom sailed on Midway. Hoping to put itself within striking distance of Hawaii and California, the Japanese navy planned an ambush that would obliterate the remnants of the American Pacific fleet. On paper, the Americans had no chance of winning. They had fewer ships, slower fighters, and almost no battle experience. But because their codebreakers knew what was coming, the American navy was able to prepare an ambush of its own.
Over two days of savage battle, American sailors and pilots broke the spine of the Japanese war machine. The United States prevailed against momentous odds; never again did Japan advance. In stunning detail, Walter Lord, the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of Day of Infamy and A Night to Remember, tells the story of one of the greatest upsets in naval history.
“Graphic and realistic . . . not an impersonalized account of moves on the chessboard of war, [but] a story of individual people facing crucial problems.” —The New York Times
The Day of Infamy began as a quiet morning on the American naval base at Pearl Harbor. But as Japan’s deadly torpedoes suddenly rained down on the Pacific fleet, soldiers, generals, and civilians alike felt shock, then fear, then rage. From the chaos, a thousand personal stories of courage emerged. Drawn from hundreds of interviews, letters, and diaries, Walter Lord recounts the many tales of heroism and tragedy by those who experienced the attack firsthand. From the musicians of the USS Nevada who insisted on finishing “The Star Spangled Banner” before taking cover, to the men trapped in the capsized USS Oklahoma who methodically voted on the best means of escape, each story conveys the terror and confusion of the raid, as well as the fortitude of those who survived.
In May 1940, the remnants of the French and British armies, broken by Hitler’s blitzkrieg, retreated to Dunkirk. Hemmed in by overwhelming Nazi strength, the 338,000 men gathered on the beach were all that stood between Hitler and Western Europe. Crush them, and the path to Paris and London was clear.
Unable to retreat any farther, the Allied soldiers set up defense positions and prayed for deliverance. Prime Minister Winston Churchill ordered an evacuation on May 26, expecting to save no more than a handful of his men. But Britain would not let its soldiers down. Hundreds of fishing boats, pleasure yachts, and commercial vessels streamed into the Channel to back up the Royal Navy, and in a week nearly the entire army was ferried safely back to England.
Based on interviews with hundreds of survivors and told by “a master narrator,” The Miracle of Dunkirk is a striking history of a week when the outcome of World War II hung in the balance (Arthur Schlesinger Jr.).
At the dawn of the nineteenth century, the great powers of Western Europe treated the United States like a disobedient child. Great Britain blocked American trade, seized its vessels, and impressed its sailors to serve in the Royal Navy. America’s complaints were ignored, and the humiliation continued until James Madison, the country’s fourth president, declared a second war on Great Britain.
British forces would descend on the young United States, shattering its armies and burning its capital, but America rallied, and survived the conflict with its sovereignty intact. With stunning detail on land and naval battles, the role Native Americans played in the hostilities, and the larger backdrop of the Napoleonic Wars, this is the story of the turning points of this strange conflict, which inspired Francis Scott Key to write “The Star-Spangled Banner” and led to the Era of Good Feelings that all but erased partisan politics in America for almost a decade. It was in 1812 that America found its identity and first assumed its place on the world stage.
By the author of A Night to Remember, the classic account of the sinking of the Titanic—which was not only made into a 1958 movie but also led director James Cameron to use Lord as a consultant on his epic 1997 film—as well as acclaimed volumes on Pearl Harbor (Day of Infamy) and the Battle of Midway (Incredible Victory), this is a fascinating look at an oft-forgotten chapter in American history.
In May 1940, the remnants of the French and British armies, broken by Hitler’s blitzkrieg, retreated to the beach at Dunkirk. Prime Minister Winston Churchill ordered an evacuation on May 26, expecting to save no more than a handful of his men. But Britain would not let its soldiers down. Hundreds of fishing boats, pleasure yachts, and commercial vessels streamed into the Channel to back up the Royal Navy. The Miracle of Dunkirk is a striking history of a week when the fate of Britain—and the World—hung in the balance.
On the morning of June 4, 1942, doom sailed on Midway. Hoping to put itself within striking distance of Hawaii and California, the Japanese navy planned an ambush that would obliterate the remnants of the American Pacific fleet. On paper, the Americans had no chance of winning. But because their code breakers knew what was coming, the American navy was able to prepare an ambush of its own. In Incredible Victory, Walter Lord recounts two days of savage battle, during which a small American fleet defied the odds and turned the tide of World War II.
December 7, 1941, began as a quiet morning on the American naval base at Pearl Harbor. But as Japan’s deadly torpedoes suddenly rained down on the Pacific fleet, soldiers, generals, and civilians alike felt shock, then fear, and then rage. From the chaos, a thousand personal stories of courage emerged. Drawn from hundreds of interviews, letters, and diaries, Walter Lord’s Day of Infamy recounts the many tales of heroism and tragedy of those who experienced the attack firsthand.
These three acclaimed war chronicles showcase Walter Lord at the top of his game as a narrative nonfiction master.