Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage by Hugh Brewster

77%

13 Critic Reviews

Hugh Brewster’s colourful anecdotes...show how 1912 – with its love-hate affair with wealth and its fascination with celebrity, its romance with technology and contempt for the power of nature – sounds eerily familiar a century later.
-Globe and Mail

Synopsis

Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage takes us behind the paneled doors of the Titanic’s elegant private suites to present compelling, memorable portraits of her most notable passengers.  The intimate atmosphere onboard history’s most famous ship is recreated as never before. 

   The Titanic has often been called “an exquisite microcosm of the Edwardian era,” but until now, her story has not been presented as such. In Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage, historian Hugh Brewster seamlessly interweaves personal narratives of the lost liner’s most fascinating people with a haunting account of the fateful maiden crossing. Employing scrupulous research and featuring 100 rarely-seen photographs, he accurately depicts the ship’s brief life and tragic denouement, presenting the very latest thinking on everything from when and how the lifeboats were loaded to the last tune played by the orchestra. Yet here too is a convincing evocation of the table talk at the famous Widener dinner party held in the Ritz Restaurant on the last night. And here we also experience the rustle of elegant undergarments as first-class ladies proceed down the grand staircase in their soigné evening gowns, some of them designed by Lady Duff Gordon, the celebrated couterière, who was also on board.

      Another well-known passenger was the artist Frank Millet, who led an astonishing life that seemed to encapsulate America’s Gilded Age—from serving as a drummer boy in the Civil War to being the man who made Chicago’s White City white for the 1893 World Exposition. His traveling companion Major Archibald Butt was President Taft’s closest aide and was returning home for a grueling fall election campaign that his boss was expected to lose. Today, both of these once-famous men are almost forgotten, but their ship-mate Margaret Tobin Brown lives on as “the Unsinkable Molly Brown,” a name that she was never called during her lifetime. 

       Millionaires John Jacob Astor and Benjamin Guggenheim, writer Helen Churchill Candee, movie actress Dorothy Gibson, aristocrat Noelle, the Countess of Rothes, and a host of other travelers on this fateful crossing are also vividly brought to life within these pages. Through them, we gain insight into the arts, politics, culture, and sexual mores of a world both distant and near to our own. And with them, we gather on the Titanic’s sloping deck on that cold, starlit night and observe their all-too-human reactions as the disaster unfolds. More than ever, we ask ourselves, “What would we have done?”
 

About Hugh Brewster

See more books from this 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.
 
Published March 27, 2012 by Crown. 352 pages
Genres: History, Biographies & Memoirs, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction
Bookmark Counts:
3
Want to Read
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage
All: 13 | Positive: 10 | Negative: 3

Kirkus

Below average
Jan 15 2012

Although rich in historical detail, much of Brewster’s narrative is couched in speculative prose. . .at times stretching the reader’s credulity.

Read Full Review of Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage | See more reviews from Kirkus

NY Times

Excellent
Reviewed by Holly Morris on Apr 13 2012

He pushes past stereotypes to vividly describe the elite realm on deck. . .

Read Full Review of Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage | See more reviews from NY Times

Globe and Mail

Excellent
Reviewed by Doug Grant on Apr 06 2012

Hugh Brewster’s colourful anecdotes...show how 1912 – with its love-hate affair with wealth and its fascination with celebrity, its romance with technology and contempt for the power of nature – sounds eerily familiar a century later.

Read Full Review of Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage | See more reviews from Globe and Mail

Globe and Mail

Excellent
Reviewed by Doug Grant on Apr 06 2012

Hugh Brewster’s colourful anecdotes and telling details show how 1912. . .sounds eerily familiar a century later.

Read Full Review of Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage | See more reviews from Globe and Mail

Christian Science Monitor

Excellent
Reviewed by Robert Dotinga

But Hugh Brewster, an author who lives in Toronto, stays classy. . .

Read Full Review of Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage

Dallas News

Excellent
Reviewed by Michelle Jones on Apr 06 2012

Photos and illustrations enhance its scope.

Read Full Review of Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage

NJ.com

Excellent
Reviewed by Arthur Vanderbilt on Mar 25 2012

. . .by bringing us into the lives of these passengers, Brewster has brought the reader aboard the doomed ship for a white-knuckled read.

Read Full Review of Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage

Montreal Gazette

Below average
Reviewed by John Kalbfleisch on Apr 05 2012

Brewster’s gilded lives are captivating, no doubt, but the author’s focus allows scant attention to those on the lower decks.

Read Full Review of Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage

Fredericksburg.com

Excellent
Reviewed by Peggy Carlson

Whether you know a lot or a little about the Titanic, this book will make you want to read more.

Read Full Review of Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage

Quill & Quire

Good
Reviewed by Sarah Greene

Some of the segues are confusing and choppy, especially in the first few chapters, where Brewster introduces significant individuals and ideas.

Read Full Review of Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage

Chicks Dig Books

Good
Reviewed by Jen on Mar 20 2012

Rare photographs and hundreds of quotations help breathe life into these biographies.

Read Full Review of Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage

AmoXcalli

Good
Reviewed by Shannon Muir on Apr 15 2012

This book is recommended for people with an interest in this piece of history, whether casual or deep.

Read Full Review of Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage

Historical Fiction Notebook

Below average
Apr 03 2012

I felt that Brewster missed a golden opportunity to examine the last moments of a legendary means of travel and a time that was about to disappear with the first guns firing in World War One.

Read Full Review of Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage

Reader Rating for Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage
80%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 150 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


Rate this book!

Add Review

Reader reviews & activity

Karen Eckmann

Karen Eckmann 5 Sep 2013

Added the book to want to read list

Graeme

Graeme 5 Sep 2013

Added the book to want to read list

Chip Hanback

Chip Hanback 5 Sep 2013

Added the book to want to read list

×