In 1996 Caplan was urged to edit and re-issue 20th Century journalist Logan Marshall’s book titled, “The Sinking of the Titanic and Great Sea Disasters”, published within weeks of the ship’s sinking. Caplan shortened the title to “The Sinking of the Titanic.”
Bruce M Caplan has spoken throughout our country about some of the disaster’s lesser-known particulars, including the fact that from the moment the great ship left Southampton there was a raging coal fire in bunker number 6. He contends that this fire could have contributed to Titanic’s sinking.”
Caplan has spoken about Titanic to school children throughout our nation. Most recently he was in Las Vegas for Nevada Reading Week. During the 1980’s Bruce was a hospital comedian cheering up children suffering from leukemia. For two years on a weekly basis, he went room to room telling jokes and stories to the kids.
During the past two years he’s been lecturing on a dozen cruises where he has related all the aspects of the fascinating saga that unfolded almost a century ago. Caplan loves his audience and he delights in educating them about his favorite subject – the Titanic!
Bruce M. Caplan is the author of two books about the Titanic. In addition to his editing and updating of the original Logan Marshal Sinking of the Titanic, Caplan, along with Ken Rossignol, edited the Marshal classics and created a new volume which explores the sinking of the Titanic and the Lusitania, and the book is actually three books in one, as it also includes an explanation of the lead-in to World War I, which is pretty fuzzy to most folks alive today. In addition to the Titanic and the Lusitania sinking’s; along with this great summary of WWI, are a collection of war posters from both England and America. These posters were created to encourage young men of both lands to join the armed services and defeat the aggression of the cruel Kaiser as Germany marched across Europe and sank civilian shipping on the high seas.
Author, editor, and speaker Bruce M. Caplan of Redmond, Washington has been a Titanic aficionado since he was a child. For the past decade, he has lectured at scores of schools and on a dozen cruises about the facts regarding the demise of the Titanic.
Caplan’s book, The Sinking of the Titanic, is now in its18th printing. “I like people to know about the real facts of the Titanic,” said Caplan, who has traveled all over the country, educating people about little-known details that make the Titanic disaster more fascinating than any Hollywood film.
“Did you know that a nearby ship, The Californian, could have saved everyone on the Titanic? The radio on the Titanic was owned by the Marconi company,” explained Caplan, and it was set up to make money transmitting wireless messages to and from the passengers. “The Marconi transmitter had broken down that day and they had to fix it.
When it was repaired several hours later, the Californian sent word to the Titanic’s operator that they had to stop for the night because of ice. However, the Titanic operator was upset because of the interruption and told the Californian operator to shut up so he could continue to send his backlogged messages. A few minutes later, the Titanic hit the iceberg, but by then the Californian operator had turned off his radio and gone to sleep.”
Caplan delights in telling audiences that the collision went virtually unnoticed by most passengers, but those who were still awake that evening were actually pleased with this sudden turn of events. “It was a minor annoyance, and they weren’t hurt,” said Caplan, adding that when the engines stopped, passengers thought their vacation on the luxurious ship would be extended. “It was kind of exciting for the first 45 minutes to an hour.”
The slow realization by the passengers that the ship was actually sinking made the boarding of lifeboats seem like a mere formality, said Caplan. “The first ones departed almost empty.”
The book paints Titanic’s Captain John Smith as a hero, but Caplan pointed out that by sailing with a fire on board, Smith was negligent. “Had he prudently waited for about a week to extinguish the fire in the coal bin, and then sailed, the probability of the ship hitting the iceberg in the same place was a billion to one.”
Since it’s re-issue, Caplan has attended a multitude of book signings and has sold more than 40,000 copies of “The Sinking of the Titanic,” often donating the book’s proceeds to worthy causes.
Said Caplan, “I want people to have empathy for what the Titanic’s passengers went through by trying to get them to understand the many facets of what happened 100 years ago.”
Most recently he was the opening author at the new Titanic Museum in Pigeon Forge Tennessee. In addition to the Titanic, he can speak about two other famous nautical catastrophes, The Andrea Doria and The Lusitania.