Arthur Henry Rostron was the captain of Carpathia, the ship that came to the rescue of the distressed Titanic, defying the ship's limitations to reach the site and rescue 706 survivors. Following the rescue, Rostron became the most celebrated and decorated master mariner of his generation, winning, among other awards, a Congressional Gold Medal. Following the Titanic rescue, Rostron served throughout the First World War, captaining the Cunard liner Mauretania, first as a hospital ship and then as a troop ship.
Using original documents, newspapers, contemporary publications, and secondary sources, Captain of the Carpathia considers Rostron's life and seafaring in his era, from his early days rounding Cape Horn in sail to his retirement as commodore of the Cunard Line. The book explores Rostron's seafaring life, using it as a platform to discuss the wider history in which he was involved, including the evolution of the transatlantic passenger trade and some of the celebrated ships on which he served and commanded.
Captain Rostron was able to navigate the Carpathia to the exact spot where they found the survivors of the Titanic. They did not have to look for the survivors in a giant ocean, but reached the Titanic lifeboats as soon as was humanly possible because of the training and experience of Captain Rostron.
The RMS Carpathia made her maiden voyage for Cunard on May 5, 1903. She was on a Mediterranean route, New York, Gibraltar, Genoa, Naples, Trieste, and Flume when the Carpathia radioman received the distress call from the Titanic. The Carpathia was almost 60 miles away and it took her four hours to reach the survivors.
The Titanic was one of the three premiere liners built for the White Star Line's fleet. J. Bruce Ismay, White Star's Chairman, decided these liners would be the biggest and most luxurious of any ocean liner. Titanic's maiden voyage was a great social event and 346 of the richest people in the world sailed on her first and only voyage.
Eric Clements is professor of history at Southeast Missouri State University. The Atlantic liners were his earliest historical interest, an interest that led him to serve an enlistment in the U.S. Coast Guard and to write Captain of the Carpathia. His unpublished research projects include writing a history of the Second World War-era, U.S. Coast Guard cutter Mohawk for his master's thesis and two vessel histories for the "Historic American Engineering Record."
He is also the author of After the Boom in Tombstone and Jerome, Arizona: Decline in Western Resource Towns (University of Nevada Press, 2003, reissued 2014), and of numerous articles and book reviews about the history and historic preservation of the American West.
From CNN: Titanic Survivor's letter: 'Disgraceful' treatment after rescue (2015)
From Smithsonian: Why the Titanic Still Fascinates Us (2012)
From YouTube: Scenes from Capathia's arrival in New York, 18 April 1912 (2014)
From History Channel: 5 Things You May Not Know About Titanic's Rescue Ship (2012)
From NUMA: Wreck of the Carpathia, Titanic's Rescuer, Found (2000)