J. Kent Layton has been fascinated with the Titanic since childhood, when he picked up his father’s copy of the 1976 Illustrated Edition of A Night to Remember and read it so many times that it fell apart; as a child, he also grew up watching A Night to Remember, S.O.S. Titanic, and Raise the Titanic. He has spent his entire life researching the Titanic and other Atlantic liners. In 1996, when he became aware that James Cameron was filming a movie about the Titanic, he embarked on creating a manuscript book about his favorite ship; by the time the book was ready, however, the market was glutted with Titanic books marked at “bargain” prices on store shelves, and editors declined left and right with polite thanks.
In 2005, he self-published his first book, Atlantic Liners: A Trio of Trios, which he followed with another self-published book, Lusitania: An Illustrated Biography of the Ship of Splendour. By 2010, his fast-rising reputation secured him a book deal with a publisher in England, with the result that his Lusitania book was revised, expanded, and reformatted for release as Lusitania: An Illustrated Biography.
In 2012, his most famous work, co-authored with Tad Fitch and Bill Wormstedt, was published: On A Sea of Glass: The Life & Loss of the RMS Titanic. This volume has garnered praise as one of the finest, best-researched Titanic books ever published, with countless references to original source material, and an emphasis on destroying old myths and returning a study of Titanic’s history to a scholarly endeavor, without emotional attachments to preconceived ideas, or the cherry-picking of evidence.