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Random House LLC
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Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage: The Titanic's First-Class Passengers and Their World Kindle Edition
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This book profiles many of the prominent and wealthy first class passengers, providing background information as well as the reason for their being on the Titanic. For many, they were returning to the United States following a grand tour of the capitals of Europe or returning after stays in their second homes (a practice favored by many Americans of wealthy circumstances). The names that popped up on the passenger list were either legendary or would become so. Astor and Strauss are among the most prominent, while J. Pierpoint Morgan managed to avoid the Titanic only to die the next year. Margaret Brown, a Denver socialite, became known as unsinkable and "Molly". There are interesting and often gossipy stories imbedded in the narrative. We find that Benjamin Guggenheim is booked on the Titanic with his newest mistress located a respectable distance down the hall. Writer Helen Candee is romantically involved with a younger scoundrel. They both survive, but her love interest soon moves on to a younger woman.
This book is loaded with great stories and small vignettes related to the sinking, the search for victims, and the fates of the living.
It also looks at the sinking as a harbinger of a world in flux; the gilded age would soon come to an abrupt end with the introduction of an income tax, the world would be at war, and a depression would greatly diminish personal fortunes.
The accounts of the sinking and the later recovery efforts are chilling and haunting and stand in stark contrast to the golden lives of the first class passengers.
Despite the fact that little is mentioned regarding the third class passengers who had little to no chance of survival or the reasons why the unsinkable sunk so quickly and without mercy, this is an interesting book that delivers on what is promised: gilded lives and a fatal voyage.