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Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage: The Titanic's First-Class Passengers and Their World Hardcover – March 27, 2012
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“Brewster’s nuanced account introduces us to a plutocracy frolicking in the sunset of England’s Edwardian era and America’s Gilded Age. He pushes past stereotypes to vividly describe the elite realm on deck”
– New York Times Book Review
“You needn’t be an avid Titanic scholar or enthusiast to find this story spellbinding. No fiction author could ever concoct a tale of greater tragedy, irony, pathos, ‘what ifs’ and ‘if onlys,’ heroism, cowardice, wealth and poverty.”
– Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star
“[A] brilliant account of the first-class passengers who went down with the ship, giving us a glimpse into a Gilded Age about to disappear forever….Brewster's method is simple and highly entertaining.”
-- Minneapolis Star-Tribune
"classy…delicious, wonderfully readable”
-- Christian Science Monitor
“A lively tour through the lives of a handful of noteworthy first-class passengers”
– San Antonio Express-News
“This is one of those rare books on the subject that provides information both new and relevant, in a scholarly but readable way. Highly recommended to anyone interested in the social history of the early 20th century.”
– Library Journal (starred review)
“[A]n impressive amount of information, often directly pulling from firsthand accounts. The author vividly renders the collision, the sinking, the chilling wail of unseen swimmers calling from the cold water and the shipwreck's aftermath....a welcome, interesting addition to Titanic-related literature.”
“Full of delicious details, from champagne flutes to the careless luxe of furs and satin, this is a spell-binding story, fresh, original and totally absorbing.”
--Marian Fowler, author of In a Gilded Cage
“Focuses on an area of the disaster that has long been overlooked ––that of the prominent people who were involved....a compelling account of who they were and how this select group of names came together in one enormous tragedy.”
–Don Lynch, author of Titanic: An Illustrated History and Ghosts of the Abyss
“A fascinating and engaging account of the Titanic disaster....a definite "must-read" for the centenary of the Titanic disaster, and I feel certain it will quickly be regarded as a standard work on the subject.”
--George Behe, author of On Board RMS Titanic and The Carpathia and the Titanic
About the Author
Hugh Brewster has twenty-five years of experience in creating books about the Titanic as an editor, publisher, and writer. He worked with Robert D. Ballard to produce the 1987 international bestseller The Discovery of the Titanic and oversaw the creation of Titanic: An Illustrated History, a book that provided inspiration for James Cameron’s epic movie. Brewster is also the author of Inside the Titanic, 882 1/2 Amazing Answers to All Your Questions About the Titanic, and Deadly Voyage and has written twelve award-winning books for young readers, including Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose, which was chosen as one of the best books of 2007 by the Washington Post. He lives in Toronto.
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Top customer reviews
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.