Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Heroine of the Titanic: The real unsinkable Molly Brown

Heroine of the Titanic: The real unsinkable Molly Brown

Elaine Landau
For ages 12 and up
Clarion, 2001   ISBN: 978-0395939123

Her name was one of the many which became famous on the night of April 14th-15th 1912 when the great ocean liner, the Titanic, sank on her maiden run. She was affectionately called Unsinkable Molly Brown and many wanted to erect a statue in her honor because she had shown such courage, such kindness, and such determination to do the right thing in the midst of so much horror and tragedy. Books were written about her, songs were sung about her, movies were made to describe her escapades on the Titanic and yet much of content of these stories was fiction. The real Margaret Brown was a splendid person, a person who fought for women’s rights, who defended the rights of those who had no one to speak for themselves, and who did what she could to make “her life count. She not only showed great courage during the Titanic crisis but she stuck her neck out for the second and third class survivors, many of whom were immigrants and who desperately needed financial aid. She made sure that they were provided for that they someone was there to look after them.

Margaret was the daughter of Irish immigrants who had settled in Hannibal, Missouri. Her family did not have much but they were close and happy and when some her siblings went to Colorado to seek their fortunes Margaret followed them there. Just a year after arriving in Leadville Margaret married J.J. Brown and though he was just a simple miner when they married, he did very well for himself and by the late 1890’s they were very wealthy indeed living in a grand house in Denver. Margaret’s life as a grand dame had begun and she became a big philanthropist and political player. She was never afraid to tell people what she thought and if the high brow high society people in Denver did not like her style she couldn’t care less. Margaret did what she thought was right and she did not care what other people thought.

This fascinating book tells the story of a truly extraordinary woman who was clearly born ahead of her time. She valued education for education’s sake and she wasn’t willing to take no for an answer. The author has taken great care to do justice to this very special lady setting to rest the many tall tales that have been told about her, and writing a fitting tribute to her which young readers and adults will both appreciate.