GILDED LIVES, FATAL VOYAGE
The Titanic's First-Class Passengers and Their World
The wealthy and glamorous passengers who boarded the Titanic, history's most famous ship, provide “an exquisite microcosm of the Edwardian era.” But in most books about the doomed voyage, their stories are incidental to the ship's collision with an iceberg on April 14, 1912.
Hugh Brewster, who created several bestselling books on the Titanic, here uses original research to intertwine, for the first time, their lives within the powerful arc of the ship's dramatic demise.
The cast includes artist and writer Frank Millet, the Director of Decorations for the 1893 Chicago World's Fair; White House aide Archie Butt; John Jacob Astor and Benjamin Guggenheim; and Lady Lucile Duff-Gordon, a leading couturiere, among others. Through these vivid characters, we gain insight into the arts, politics, culture, and sexual mores of a world both distant and near to our own.
All converge on the boat deck of the Titanic during the ship's final hours and we become witnesses to a heartbreakingly poignant scene where some survive and some do not.
The final chapters recount the rescue of the passengers in lifeboats by the Carpathia and the trip back to New York with only 705 of the more than 2,200 on board. Some men who survived lived under a cloud of cowardice. Others left a remarkable legacy that leads us to art collector Peggy Guggenheim whose father died when the Titanic sank, or to philanthropist Brooke Astor, daughter-in-law of John Jacob Astor, and how the circumstances of her recent death became "the last Astor scandal."
Hugh Brewster has had twenty-five years of experience with the story of the Titanic and has edited, compiled or written fifteen books about the great liner.
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