Heroine of the Titanic: The Real Unsinkable Molly Brown

by Elaine Landau

Published by Clarion Books

132 pages, 2001

Age Level: 9-12 


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A Spirit of Titanic Proportion

Reviewed by Lynne Remick

 

No matter what life threw in her way -- poverty, lack of education, being a woman, or a disaster of Titanic proportions -- Margaret Tobin Brown proved unsinkable. When life as the child of Irish immigrants presented a dead end, Margaret moved west to pave the way for her family. Even without an education, Margaret got a job at a dry goods store and didn't end up cleaning houses or working in a saloon like many other women. And, when the Titanic sank to the bottom of the ocean that fateful April 15, 1912, Margaret Brown and her iron will stayed afloat.

... Margaret's account of the Titanic tragedy was still loudly heard .... At last, she had a forum from which to argue for the social causes in which she believed, and many women and children profited from her efforts.

In Heroine of the Titanic, Elaine Landau presents a fascinating look at the woman behind the nickname "Molly Brown." Starting off with the Titanic tragedy itself, Landau draws the reader into the life and times of Margaret Brown. From that point, we follow in Margaret's strong and determined footsteps, from her impoverished youth in Hannibal, Missouri, where she was born on July 18, 1867 to her death in New York City on October 26, 1932.  

Although written for ages 8-to-12, this biography certainly reaches a far larger audience because of the broad appeal of its subject matter. Even those who believe they already know this unsinkable character, may have only seen the surface of the rough waters that are Margaret Brown. Landau presents documented facts that dispel many of the rumors that have created the "Molly Brown" persona and provides information that demonstrates Margaret's drive -- she was a suffragist and one of the first women to run for U.S. Congress -- and deep love for charity and humanity -- she was a champion for rights of the underprivileged.

Aside from being a captivating read, Heroine of the Titanic proves a valuable resource. Telling photographs placed on many pages enhance the biographical text and serve to bring Margaret's story alive for the reader. Such photographs include: Edward Smith, Captain of the RMS Titanic; Hannibal resident Mark Twain; Titanic passengers John Jacob and Madeleine Astor; a handwritten account of the Carpathia's rescue efforts; Titanic memorials; Tobin and Brown family portraits; home and vacation snapshots; and more. In addition, Landau provides a Chronology, Endnotes, Bibliography and extensive Index of references. Margaret Tobin Brown may have died in 1932, but her spirit lives on in Elaine Landau's inspiring book. | July 2001

 

An avid reader, established reviewer and writer of poetry, non-fiction, fiction, historical romance and children's books, Lynne Remick can always be found with a book in her hand. She lives in New York with her fiancé Michael, her son Kevin, her Schipperke Dante, a feral cat named Sahara and a spoiled hedgehog named Nike. There, in a little house once owned by her great grandparents, she reads, writes stories, book reviews, writing columns and poetry.