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All Standing: The Remarkable Story of the Jeanie Johnston, The Legendary Irish Famine Ship Hardcover – January 8, 2013
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The exodus from the Irish famine of the 1840s prompts Miles’ contribution to the literature of Eire’s trauma. It chronicles the 10-year existence of a sailing ship that embarked refugees for North America. Named the Jeanie Johnston, a reconstruction of which is today displayed in Dublin, the ship was purpose-built for the emigration trade by a shipwright, with a captain and a doctor whom Miles portrays as humanitarians; she writes distinctly less enthusiastically of the entrepreneur in the port of Tralee, Ireland, who financed the ship. No matter who merits the credit for the Jeanie Johnston’s career, credit there was, for her voyages were distinguished for not losing any passengers; Irish immigrants died in droves on other ships. Offering great detail about the Jeanie Johnston’s nautical characteristics, Miles exemplifies the Irish immigrant’s transatlantic experience in one family who endured the crossing, passed through quarantine inspection in Canada, and settled in the U.S. Chronicling the Johnston’s further journeys and sinking in 1858, Miles, who follows occasional tangents like Queen Victoria’s visits to Ireland, ably regales her central story of a remarkable vessel. --Gilbert Taylor
"An enchanting and dedicated historian, Kathryn Miles takes us on a journey from lore to science and back again. By turns harrowing and heartwarming, All Standing salvages the treasure of a history lost at sea." -- J.C. Hallman, author of The Devil is a Gentleman and Wm & H'ry and In Utopia
“All Standing illuminates a dire period in history I knew little about. Through Kathryn Miles’ crisp writing and meticulous research, I gained understanding and insight into this humanitarian crisis, but also was felt as if I was a passenger on the harrowing trans-Atlantic crossing of the Jeanie Johnston. Bravo to the author for bringing the story to life and illuminating the best and worst of the people involved.” -- Michael Tougias, author of A Storm Too Soon, Fatal Forecast, and Overboard!
"Well-researched and engagingly written, Kathryn Miles' All Standing is full of compelling characters--including the Jeanie Johnston herself. The ship becomes a beacon of hope in an age Miles paints with vigor as beset by famine, disease, political callousness and cruelty." --Ginger Strand, author of Killer on the Road and Inventing Niagara
"Kathryn Miles illuminates the true horror of the Irish Potato Famine in the way that only well written and thoroughly researched narrative history can, presenting the story in every instance through the eyes of the people who lived it, making it all the more palpable, the suffering and the glimmers of hope all the more immediate. This is a very well done book about one of the most brutal and shameful episodes in the past three hundred years of Western history." --James L. Nelson, author of With Fire and Sword: The Battle of Bunker Hill and the Beginning of the American Revolution
“This is the story of the miraculous Jeanie Johnston, a ship that defied all odds crossing the Atlantic--but Kathryn Miles delves much deeper, weaving through it the larger stories of deadly sea-faring, rampant epidemic disease, and the disastrous, mass displacement of the Irish. With expert attention to detail and seamless writing, Miles takes you aboard the 'coffin ships' and into the lives of the shipbuilders, captains, maritime physicians, Irish refugees and those remarkable individuals who managed to survive.” ---- Molly Caldwell Crosby, author of The Great Pearl Heist and The American Plague
"From moldering black potatoes in the fields of mid-19th Ireland, to hostile “Irish need not apply” signs cropping up across American cities, the story of the great potato blight is neither simple nor direct. Kathryn Miles makes this sweeping, often overwhelmingly sad story both lucid and accessible as she tells the tales of captivating characters, including Quebec shipbuilder John Munn, Irish ship surgeon Richard Blennerhassett, and Reillys, a beleaguered family of immigrants. Miles puts faces on one of history’s greatest calamities." --Wayne Curtis, author of And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails
"The author’s solid research and use of newly available material exposes the truth of the Potato Famine, the barbaric policies that exacerbated it and the incredible will of the Irish people." --Kirkus Reviews
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As we flew, I reflected:
-Delta leaving Dublin and arriving 8 ½ hours later in Atlanta. (seven hours crossing the Atlantic) two meals on the plane.
-The average "famine ship"... 3 ½ months after leaving Tralee, 50% of passengers have died and been jettisoned. The rest are ambulatory, maybe a dozen able to walk off the ship.
I was led to the book by a chance encounter in Dublin. Walking through St. Stephen's Green, we edged into a group on tour being lectured to. (Caught our attention so much we ended up giving the leader a tip) we started listening when gathered around a statue of the men on horseback depicting the 1700s - when "Ireland was flush".
Fifty yards away was a group of statues depicting famine 100 years later. The next day I walked down to the river Liffey where a replica "Jeannie Johnson" ship is moored as a museum. Unfortunately, she was in drydock undergoing maintenance. I did witness the famine sculpture remembrance on the bank of the river. Haunting.
While in Dublin, we were able to take a guided tour of the replica ship of the Jeanie Johnston. To say that the ship's below deck quarters for the emigrants were cramped is markedly understated, especially after one has actually been there in the replica.
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Due to the potato famine, more that a million Irish immigrants fled their homeland.Read more