Edge of Seat Account

Collision Course: The Classic Story of the Collision of the Andrea Doria and the Stockholm - Alvin Moscow

Disclaimer: ARC via Netgalley.


                I’m not sure when I first heard of the Andrea Doria.  I think it was a series on the History Channel or National Geographic.   There was some series about famous shipwrecks that was pretty awesome. That’s where I first heard about this accident that occurred in the 1950s.


                The Andrea Doria was the ship of Italy. It was a flagship, a queen, an empress of the seas.  She was the Titanic without the term “unsinkable” and the proper number of lifeboats.   It sank hours after it was struck by the ship Stockholm.  The reason for the collusion was the subject of court and lawyers. 


                Moscow’s account of the accident, republished in this edition by Open Road Media, traces the events leading up to the collusion as well as the successful rescue that occurred afterwards.   While the writing is edge of your seat, even though you know what is going to happen, Moscow is even handed and fair in his reporting.  And it is reporting.  


                While the focus is primary on those responsible for the two ships as well as the passengers (in other words, the crew of each ship), Moscow does relate the experiences of passengers from every class of the Doria as well as the experiences of some of those on the Stockholm and even the ships that arrived to rescue Doria passengers.  Moscow does so in a way that is not melodramatic, and is all the more powerful because of that.   From the then mayor of Philadelphia, Dilworth and his wife, to the 13 year old boy looking for his parents, to the three women sleeping au natural and finding themselves thrown around without clothes on - while not milked for the drama, the stories do not lack for impact.  This is particularly true about Camille Cianfarra, a foreign correspondent whose was traveling on the ship with his family.


The viewpoints, or considerations, of some the captains on the rescue ships – ships who left their routes to come to the aid of the stricken Doria.   This is particularly true with the ship Ile de France.  


This edition includes updated information, including that about safety issues as well as the history of diving the wreck, including accounts from various divers.   Moscow does debate the ethics of retrieving from the wreck (though he is careful to note that the many of the divers pass along “souvenirs” to souvenirs), for that would be outside the scope of his book. Yet, the section can give a rather disquieting feel to it.  Also included are pictures, including the photo series by Harry A. Trask that won the Pulitzer Prize.