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The Ship of Dreams

The Sinking of the Titanic and the End of the Edwardian Era

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About The Book

This original and “meticulously researched retelling of history’s most infamous voyage” (Denise Kiernan, New York Times bestselling author) uses the sinking of the Titanic as a prism through which to examine the end of the Edwardian era and the seismic shift modernity brought to the Western world. “While there are many Titanic books, this is one readers will consider a favorite” (Voyage).

In April 1912, six notable people were among those privileged to experience the height of luxury—first class passage on “the ship of dreams,” the RMS Titanic: Lucy Leslie, Countess of Rothes; son of the British Empire Tommy Andrews; American captain of industry John Thayer and his son Jack; Jewish-American immigrant Ida Straus; and American model and movie star Dorothy Gibson. Within a week of setting sail, they were all caught up in the horrifying disaster of the Titanic’s sinking, one of the biggest news stories of the century. Today, we can see their stories and the Titanic’s voyage as the beginning of the end of the established hierarchy of the Edwardian era.

Writing in his signature elegant prose and using previously unpublished sources, deck plans, journal entries, and surviving artifacts, Gareth Russell peers through the portholes of these first-class travelers to immerse us in a time of unprecedented change in British and American history. Through their intertwining lives, he examines social, technological, political, and economic forces such as the nuances of the British class system, the explosion of competition in the shipping trade, the birth of the movie industry, the Irish Home Rule Crisis, and the Jewish-American immigrant experience while also recounting their intimate stories of bravery, tragedy, and selflessness.

This is “a beautiful requiem” (The Wall Street Journal) in which “readers get the story of this particular floating Tower of Babel in riveting detail, and with all the wider context they could want” (Christian Science Monitor).

About The Author

Photograph by Iona Wolff

Educated at Oxford University and Queen’s University, Belfast, Gareth Russell is a historian, novelist, and playwright. He is the author of nine books, including The PalaceThe Ship of DreamsYoung and Damned and FairThe Emperors, and Do Let’s Have Another Drink. He lives in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

About The Reader

Why We Love It

The Ship of Dreams follows six first class passengers, four Americans and two Brits, on their journeys on the Titanic. I read in awe as Gareth used these individual lives as springboards to present the larger picture: the class system was falling apart, the Industrial Revolution was creating new kinds of wealth, the newborn movie business was creating the first celebrities, and revolutionary fervor would lead to the Great War...While we all know the Titanic’s destiny, we don’t necessarily know the fates of each of these passengers, and Gareth’s moment-by-moment account of the ship’s sinking is absolutely riveting.” —Trish T., VP, Executive Editor, on The Ship of Dreams

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio (November 19, 2019)
  • Runtime: 12 hours and 35 minutes
  • ISBN13: 9781508296720

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Raves and Reviews

"Narrator Jenny Funnell's soft, elegant voice draws listeners into this account of the sinking of the TITANIC, that coincided with the end of the Edwardian era, a time of great change in British history. Focusing on six of the ship's first-class passengers, the author examines a way of life that would be gone forever by the time WWI ended. The story begins at Leslie House, where we meet aristocrat Noel Leslie, who pops up throughout this work. Funnell brings humanity to the devotion between Isidor and Ida Straus, who chose to die together on the ship rather than to have Ida board a lifeboat. Russell also brings in many other accounts of the sinking—from a movie made soon afterward by a surviving actress to James Cameron's computer simulations and exploratory dives."

– AudioFile Magazine

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