Author: Gordon Thomas, Max Morgan-Witts
Publisher: Open Road Media
Edgar Award Finalist: A gripping account of one of the most spectacular disasters off the coast of New York—but was it a terrible accident, or arson? In the early morning hours of September 8, 1934, the luxury cruise liner Morro Castle, carrying 316 passengers and 230 officers and crew, caught fire a few hours out of the New York harbor on a return voyage from Havana. The fire spread with terrifying swiftness, transforming the ship into a blazing inferno. One hundred thirty-four people died that night—was it an accident? Writers Gordon Thomas and Max Morgan Witts prove that the disaster was no accident, but was planned, meticulously and deliberately, by an officer of the Morro Castle. His name: George White Rogers, chief radio officer. They also prove that Rogers was responsible for the death of the captain, who was poisoned several hours before the fire broke out. Shipwreck is a spellbinding moment-by-moment account of the Morro Castle’s last voyage, and one of the most spectacular disasters to stir the Atlantic Ocean. Through interviews with survivors, rescuers, and investigators, the authors detail a desperate investigation and the search for a mass murderer. Against the backdrop of the Great Depression and the buildup of World War II, Shipwreck is a sweeping tale of personal heroism, tragedy, and murder.
The Country Music Reader
Author: Travis D. Stimeling
Publisher: Oxford University Press
In The Country Music Reader Travis D. Stimeling provides an anthology of primary source readings from newspapers, magazines, and fan ephemera encompassing the history of country music from circa 1900 to the present. Presenting conversations that have shaped historical understandings of country music, it brings the voices of country artists and songwriters, music industry insiders, critics, and fans together in a vibrant conversation about a widely loved yet seldom studied genre of American popular music. Situating each source chronologically within its specific musical or cultural context, Stimeling traces the history of country music from the fiddle contests and ballad collections of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries through the most recent developments in contemporary country music. Drawing from a vast array of sources including popular magazines, fan newsletters, trade publications, and artist biographies, The Country Music Reader offers firsthand insight into the changing role of country music within both the music industry and American musical culture, and presents a rich resource for university students, popular music scholars, and country music fans alike.
Asbestos and Fire
Author: Rachel Maines
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
For much of the industrial era, asbestos was a widely acclaimed benchmark material. During its heyday, it was manufactured into nearly three thousand different products, most of which protected life and property from heat, flame, and electricity. It was used in virtually every industry from hotel keeping to military technology to chemical manufacturing, and was integral to building construction from shacks to skyscrapers in every community across the United States. Beginning in the mid-1960s, however, this once popular mineral began a rapid fall from grace as growing attention to the serious health risks associated with it began to overshadow the protections and benefits it provided. In this thought-provoking and controversial book, Rachel Maines challenges the recent vilification of asbestos by providing a historical perspective on Americans’ changing perceptions about risk. She suggests that the very success of asbestos and other fire-prevention technologies in containing deadly blazes has led to a sort of historical amnesia about the very risks they were supposed to reduce. Asbestos and Fire is not only the most thoroughly researched and balanced look at the history of asbestos, it is also an important contribution to a larger debate that considers how the risks of technological solutions should be evaluated. As technology offers us ever-increasing opportunities to protect and prevent, Maines urges that learning to accept and effectively address the unintended consequences of technological innovations is a growing part of our collective responsibility.
Author: John R. Stilgoe
Publisher: University of Virginia Press
The fire extinguisher; the airline safety card; the lifeboat. Until September 11, 2001, most Americans paid homage to these appurtenances of disaster with a sidelong glance, if at all. But John Stilgoe has been thinking about lifeboats ever since he listened with his father as the kitchen radio announced that the liner Lakonia had caught fire and sunk in the Atlantic. It was Christmas 1963, and airline travel and Cold War paranoia had made the images of an ocean liner’s distress—the air force dropping supplies in the dark, a freighter collecting survivors from lifeboats—seem like echoes of a bygone era. But Stilgoe, already a passionate reader and an aficionado of small-boat navigation, began to delve into accounts of other disasters at sea. What he found was a trunkful of hair-raising stories—of shipwreck, salvation, seamanship brilliant and inept, noble sacrifice, insanity, cannibalism, courage and cravenness, even scandal. In nonfiction accounts and in the works of Conrad, Melville, and Tomlinson, fear and survival animate and degrade human nature, in the microcosm of an open boat as in society at large. How lifeboats are made, rigged, and captained, Stilgoe discovered, and how accounts of their use or misuse are put down, says much about the culture and circumstances from which they are launched. In the hands of a skillful historian such as Stilgoe, the lifeboat becomes a symbol of human optimism, of engineering ingenuity, of bureaucratic regulation, of fear and frailty. Woven through Lifeboat are good old-fashioned yarns, thrilling tales of adventure that will quicken the pulse of readers who have enjoyed the novels of Patrick O’Brian, Crabwalk by Günter Grass, or works of nonfiction such as The Perfect Storm and In the Heart of the Sea. But Stilgoe, whose other works have plumbed suburban culture, locomotives, and the shore, is ultimately after bigger fish. Through the humble, much-ignored lifeboat, its design and navigation and the stories of its ultimate purpose, he has found a peculiar lens on roughly the past two centuries of human history, particularly the war-tossed, technology-driven history of man and the sea.
Graveyard of the Lakes
Author: Mark L. Thompson
Publisher: Wayne State University Press
A historically accurate, well-rounded picture of shipwrecks on the Great Lakes.
The Day the World Ended
Author: Gordon Thomas, Max Morgan-Witts
Publisher: Open Road Media
The true story of a horrifying natural disaster—and the corruption that made it worse—by the New York Times–bestselling authors of Voyage of the Damned. In late April 1902, Mount Pelée, a volcano on the Caribbean island Martinique, began to wake up. It emitted clouds of ash and smoke for two weeks until violently erupting on May 8. Over 30,000 residents of St. Pierre were killed; they burned to death under rivers of hot lava and suffocated under pounds of hot ash. Only three people managed to survive: a prisoner trapped in a dungeon-like jail cell, a man on the outskirts of town, and a young girl found floating unconscious in a boat days later. So how did a town of thousands not heed the warnings of nature and local scientists, instead staying behind to perish in the onslaught of volcanic ash? Why did the newspapers publish articles assuring readers that the volcano was harmless? And why did the authorities refuse to allow the American Consul to contact Washington about the conditions? The answer lies in politics: With an election on the horizon, the political leaders of Martinique ignored the welfare of their people in order to consolidate the votes they needed to win. A gripping and informative book on the disastrous effects of a natural disaster coupled with corruption, The Day the World Ended reveals the story of a city engulfed in flames and the political leaders that chose to kill their people rather than give up their political power.
“Titanic meets Tom Clancy technology” in this national-bestselling account of the SS Central America’s wreckage and discovery (People). September 1875. With nearly six hundred passengers returning from the California Gold Rush, the side-wheel steamer SS Central America encountered a violent storm and sank two hundred miles off the Carolina coast. More than four hundred lives and twenty-one tons of gold were lost. It was a tragedy lost in legend for more than a century—until a brilliant young engineer named Tommy Thompson set out to find the wreck. Driven by scientific curiosity and resentful of the term “treasure hunt,” Thompson searched the deep-ocean floor using historical accounts, cutting-edge sonar technology, and an underwater robot of his own design. Navigating greedy investors, impatient crewmembers, and a competing salvage team, Thompson finally located the wreck in 1989 and sailed into Norfolk with her recovered treasure: gold coins, bars, nuggets, and dust, plus steamer trunks filled with period clothes, newspapers, books, and journals. A great American adventure story, Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea is also a fascinating account of the science, technology, and engineering that opened Earth’s final frontier, providing “white-knuckle reading, as exciting as anything . . . in The Perfect Storm” (Los Angeles Times Book Review). “A complex, bittersweet history of two centuries of American entrepreneurship, linked by the mad quest for gold.” —Entertainment Weekly “A ripping true tale of danger and discovery at sea.” —The Washington Post “What a yarn! . . . If you sign on for the cruise, go in knowing that you’re going to miss meals and a lot of sleep.” —Newsweek
Author: Joseph Wambaugh
Publisher: Open Road Media
The hunt forthe most prolific American arsonist of the twentieth century—in this Edgar Award–winning true crime story that’s “stranger than fiction” (The New York Times). From Joseph Wambaugh, the #1 New York Times–bestselling author of such classics as The Onion Field and The Choirboys, comes the extraordinary story of the chase for the “Pillow Pyro,” led by one ambitious firefighter. Growing up in Los Angeles, John Orr idolized law enforcement. However, after being rejected by both the LAPD and LAFD, he settled for a position with the Glendale Fire Department. There, he rose through the ranks, eventually becoming a fire captain and one of Southern California’s best-known and most respected arson investigators. But Orr led another, unseen life, one that included womanizing and an insatiable thirst for recognition. While Orr busted a slew of petty arsonists, there was one serial criminal he could not track down. Nothing was safe from the so-called Pillow Pyro’s obsession. Homes, retail stores, and fields of dry brush all went up in flames. His handiwork led to millions of dollars worth of property damage and the deaths of four innocent bystanders. But after years of evading the police, he made a mistake—one that would turn Orr’s life upside down. The Washington Post raves, “When [Joseph Wambaugh] talks about the culture of cops versus the culture of firemen, we get no speculation, only hard-earned details.” Based on meticulous research, interviews, case records, and thousands of pages of court transcripts, Fire Lover is Wambaugh at his best.
Author: Alvin Moscow
Publisher: Open Road Media
The definitive New York Times–bestselling account: “One of the most intriguing and thought-provoking books about shipwreck since A Night to Remember” (The Detroit News). One of the largest, fastest, and most beautiful ships in the world, the Andrea Doria was on her way to New York from her home port in Genoa. Departing from the United States was the much smaller Stockholm. On the foggy night of July 25, 1956, fifty-three miles southeast of Nantucket in the North Atlantic, the Stockholm sliced through the Doria’s steel hull. Within minutes, water was pouring into the Italian liner. Eleven hours later, she capsized and sank into the ocean. In this “electrifying book,” Associated Press journalist Alvin Moscow, who covered the court hearings that sought to explain the causes of the tragedy and interviewed all the principals, re-creates with compelling accuracy the actions of the ships’ officers and crews, and the terrifying experiences of the Doria’s passengers as they struggled to evacuate a craft listing so severely that only half of its lifeboats could be launched (Newsweek). Recounting the heroic, rapid response of other ships—which averted a catastrophe of the same scale as that of the Titanic—and the official inquest, Moscow delivers a fact-filled, fascinating drama of this infamous maritime disaster, and explains how a supposedly unsinkable ship ended up at the bottom of the sea. In the New York Times Book Review, Walter Lord, author of A Night to Remember, said of Collision Course: “More than a magnificent analysis of the accident and sinking; it is a warmly compassionate document, full of understanding for the people on each side.”
Into the Raging Sea
Author: Rachel Slade
ONE OF JANET MASLIN’S MUST-READ BOOKS OF THE SUMMER A NEW YORK TIMES EDITOR'S CHOICE ONE OF OUTSIDE MAGAZINE’S BEST BOOKS OF THE SUMMER “A powerful and affecting story, beautifully handled by Slade, a journalist who clearly knows ships and the sea.”—Douglas Preston, New York Times Book Review “A Perfect Storm for a new generation.” —Ben Mezrich, bestselling author of The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook On October 1, 2015, Hurricane Joaquin barreled into the Bermuda Triangle and swallowed the container ship El Faro whole, resulting in the worst American shipping disaster in thirty-five years. No one could fathom how a vessel equipped with satellite communications, a sophisticated navigation system, and cutting-edge weather forecasting could suddenly vanish—until now. Relying on hundreds of exclusive interviews with family members and maritime experts, as well as the words of the crew members themselves—whose conversations were captured by the ship’s data recorder—journalist Rachel Slade unravels the mystery of the sinking of El Faro. As she recounts the final twenty-four hours onboard, Slade vividly depicts the officers’ anguish and fear as they struggled to carry out Captain Michael Davidson’s increasingly bizarre commands, which, they knew, would steer them straight into the eye of the storm. Taking a hard look at America's aging merchant marine fleet, Slade also reveals the truth about modern shipping—a cut-throat industry plagued by razor-thin profits and ever more violent hurricanes fueled by global warming. A richly reported account of a singular tragedy, Into the Raging Sea takes us into the heart of an age-old American industry, casting new light on the hardworking men and women who paid the ultimate price in the name of profit.
The Caliban Shore
Author: Stephen Taylor
Publisher: Faber & Faber
The 'Grosvenor' was one of the finest East Indiamen of her day, a grand three-masted square-rigger of 741 tons bristling with 26 cannon. When she ran aground on the treacherous coast of south-east Africa, an astonishing number of her crew and passengers, including women and children, reached the shore safely. But the castaways were hundreds of miles from the nearest European outpost - and utterly ignorant of their surroundings and the people among whom they found themselves. Stephen Taylor pieces together this extraordinary saga with tremendous narrative flair. Drawing upon much new research, he sifts the myths that became attached to the 'Grosvenor' from a reality that is no less gripping. Taking the reader to the heart of what is now the Wild Coast of Pondoland, The Caliban Shore reveals the misunderstandings that led to tragedy, tells the story of those who escaped and unravels the mystery of those who stayed.
4th of July, Asbury Park
Author: Daniel Wolff
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
When Bruce Springsteen called his first album Greetings from Asbury Park, he introduced a generation of fans to a fallen seaside resort town that came to represent working-class American life. Starting with the town's founding as a religious promised land, music journalist and poet Daniel Wolff plots a course through Asbury Park's 130 years of entwined social and musical history, in a story that captures all the allure and heartbreak of the American dream.
Island of the Lost
Author: Joan Druett
Publisher: Algonquin Books
Describes how the crews of two different vessels became shipwrecked on opposite ends of the same deserted island and the very different experiences of the two groups--one of which through sheer determination and fortitude overcame the challenges of their environment, while the other descended into complete anarchy.
Author: Ethan Rarick
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Drawing on fresh archeological evidence, recent research on topics ranging from survival rates to snowfall totals, and heartbreaking letters and diaries made public by descendants a century-and-a-half after the tragedy, Ethan Rarick offers an intimate portrait of the Donner party--ninety pioneers who became stranded in the Sierra Nevada mountains in the winter of 1846-47-- and their unimaginable ordeal.