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April 2012 marked the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, yet the haunting story of the doomed liner has lost none of its allure. Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage is a fresh take on this everpopular subject through the prism of the lives of the Titanic's first class passengers - woven into a gripping account of the ship's short life. The ship has often been called a microcosm of the Edwardian era - this has never been more true than it is presented in this book. In other accounts of the Titanic the ship is the protagonist and those on board merely bit part players. Here, its leading characters are moved into the foreground and their stories intertwined with the powerful narrative arc of the doomed voyage. The book probes into the lives of those on board in a way that no other account has done. Here we find some of Britain's and America's leading society figures engaged in illicit homosexual relationships, flaunting extra-marital affairs and openly risking scandal in the ballrooms of the world's most famous ship, oblivious of the disaster that lay in the seas ahead.
“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
“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