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Every Man for Himself [Hardcover]

Beryl Bainbridge
2.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Hardcover, Jan. 30 1997 --  
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Book Description

Jan. 30 1997
This novel, told through the eyes of Morgan, nephew of the owner of the shipping line, recaptures the four fateful days of the Titanic's voyage before disaster struck. Beryl Bainbridge has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize three times and has won both the Guardian and Whitbread Prizes.

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Product Description

From Amazon

After taking on the ill-fated Scott expedition to the South Pole in her previous book, The Birthday Boys, the novelist tackles a much larger 1912 disaster: the sinking of the Titanic. The narrator, a 22-year-old named Morgan, brushes up against real-life victims such as John James Astor early in the voyage, while falling in love with the beautiful and unobtainable Wallis Ellery. The deadly maiden voyage of the world's largest ocean liner becomes a journey of self-discovery in this portentous, postmodern work, shortlisted for the 1996 Booker Prize. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Bainbridge, whose The Birthday Boys was an unforgettable rendition of Scott's fatal Antarctic expedition, has turned to another Edwardian tragedy for her new novel: the sinking of the Titanic. As Bainbridge admirers might expect, it is not the kind of version that would make a spectacular movie; rather, it is a meticulously observed account that almost offhandedly convinces the reader that this is exactly what it must have been like aboard the doomed liner. The story is told by a wealthy young American man-about-town, an adopted nephew of J. Pierpont Morgan, who in search of something to do has had a slight hand in the ship's design ("the specifications of bathtubs"). Once aboard, he drinks too much with his layabout friends; sees people like the Astors and Strauses; becomes infatuated with a girl who in turn falls for a mysterious and cynical stranger; and gets to know a young Jewish dress designer who is hoping to become a hit in New York. In a few deft strokes Bainbridge shows the gulf between the steerage passengers and the "nobs" while communicating the alternating servility and resentment of the crew. The book is nearly over before disaster strikes, but once again, the unnerving details seem just right: the careless self-confidence at the beginning, the gallantry quickly eroding to panic. Bainbridge's swift, economical novels tell us more about an era and the ways in which its people inhabit it than volumes of social history.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Icebergs Part II May 18 2001
Format:Paperback
This is the second Historically Based Novel I have read by Ms. Beryl Bainbridge, the first was, "The Birthday Boys". Of the two I believe the one based upon the Scott voyage to the Pole was much stronger, however the Author's writing is consistently good. I think this work suffered a bit in my reading as the movie, "Titanic", kept intruding. There were bound to be similarities in this maritime mess, however the screen version insinuating itself into the written work was a distraction.
"Every Man For Himself", takes place in virtually the same time frame as, "The Birthday Boys". The latter work was excellent in telling a story that became a metaphor for the time and its philosophies, the former does this again in a confined setting, and for this reader it was less interesting. Blind faith to the point of negligence in Technology of the unsinkable ship, and a list of passengers that would rate the top tier of Fortune's wealthiest certainly make for an interesting cast. However unlike the Scott work which spread itself across a wide range of people, this was more narrowly confined to the wealthiest cast, and finding empathy for these incredibly rich and generally pompous caricatures is hard. Our guide through most of the book is a member of The Morgan Clan, and even though his relation is tenuous his wealth makes him as boring as the rest.
The Author did introduce an event that was new to me, and even if it is not historically accurate (I don't know) it did make the story much more intriguing. If that plot line had been the main thread instead of more traditional love interests, and the preoccupation with scoring off of others to their detriment I think I would have enjoyed the work more.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully Written, Very English Oct. 24 2000
Format:Paperback
Beryl Bainbridge's story of the Titanic is different from any of the multitude of other accoungs, fictional or not, which are out there. And that is a very good thing.
One of the main joys of this novel is having history become personal. This is not a adventure story about the Titanic but rather a small novel of the personal lives of various people which gets interrupted by the disaster at sea. Those looking for big cinematic thrills are advised to look elsewhere. But those looking for a glimpse of a group of interesting characters just before a life changing event will enjoy this tale.
The other joy of this novel is the compact, effective writing. Dialogue and narrative are told with an elegant sparseness. A nice read.
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2.0 out of 5 stars hastily written Titanic saga.. June 15 2000
By lazza
Format:Paperback
Every Man for Himself chronicles the lives of a several wealthy passengers on the Titanic. The sinking of the Titanic, while making the end of the book a rather emotional read, does not compensate for the dreary, impersonal narration which characterizes most of the novel. The wealthy passenges involved are pretentious, insecure, and thoroughly unlikeable idiots. Similar emotional traumas have been played out in much better novels than this. Worse, Ms. Bainbridge focuses too much time on the dialogue between the main characters. For much of the novel you forget that they are on a ship, let alone on the Titanic.
Every Man for Himself is certainly not a bad novel. It's just very ordinary, .. a wasted opportunity.
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3.0 out of 5 stars It's not a Movie April 13 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Beryl is perfect. You collect all the swells, all the gentlemen, all those perfect graduates of all the right schools that at the end of the Edwardian Era believe themselves to be the best of the best. You add to that roster all the blatant goldiggers, the social parentheticals and all those female trollers in whom their mothers had all the best hopes. You put them all on a ship bound into the winter North Atlantic; and in just one Neptunian inhalation you sink the boat.
Never in the history of biology has fate and genetics so conspired to remove from our presence such a conceited and disgusting group. Beryl wrote this book with a sigh of relief and a chuckle; you should chuckle too. We are all better for the story and the biology.
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3.0 out of 5 stars It's not a Movie April 13 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Beryl is perfect. You collect all the swells, all the gentlemen, all those perfect graduates of all the right schools that at the end of the Edwardian Era believe themselves to be the best of the best. You add to that roster all the blatant goldiggers, the social parentheticals and all those female trollers in whom their mothers had all the best hopes. You put them all on a ship bound into the winter North Atlantic; and in just one Neptunian inhalation you sink the boat.
Never in the history of biology has fate and genetics so conspired to remove from our presence such a conceited and disgusting group. Beryl wrote this book with a sigh of relief and a chuckle; you should chuckle too. We are all better for the story and the biology.
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1.0 out of 5 stars POORLY WRITTEN TITANIC BOOK Jan. 31 1999
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
THIS IS BY FAR ONE OF THE WORST PIECES OF FICTION I HAVE EVER READ. SOME CHARACTERS APPEAR AND FLOAT ABOUT THE BOOK WITHOUT A PURPOSE. OTHER CHARACTERS APPEAR AND DISAPPEAR TO THE POINT THEY DO NOT EXIST. MOTIVATIONS ARE UNCLEAR OR VAGUE AT BEST. I WISH THE AUTHOR HAD RESEARCHED THE STORY BETTER.
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