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Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage by Hugh Brewster

The Titanic’s First-Class Passengers and Their World

Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage by Hugh Brewster
  • On sale: January 1, 1970
  • Price: $
  • ISBN: 9780307984708
Contact: Annsley Rosner

“[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.” –Kirkus Reviews

“Full of delicious details, from champagne flutes to the careless luxe of furs and satin, this is a spellbinding story, fresh, original and totally absorbing.” –Marian Fowler, author of In a Gilded Cage
“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


On April 15, 2012, the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic will be commemorated around the world. A host of high-profile events will take place during the centenary year––among them James Cameron’s release of a 3D version of his film Titanic, a Julian Fellowes TV miniseries, and a cruise ship excursion that will retrace Titanic’s route for relatives of those lost on the original voyage.

GILDED LIVES, FATAL VOYAGE: The Titanic’s First-Class Passengers and Their World (Crown; March 27, 2012) is the story of history’s most famous ship told through the lives of some of its most fascinating passengers. Through artist and writer Frank Millet, a man with an uncanny gift for being where things were happening, we connect to Mark Twain, Henry James, J. Pierpont Morgan, and John Singer Sargent. Millet was the man who, as Director of Decorations for the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair, made the White City white. His close friend Archie Butt, military aide to the White House, takes us into the heart of Washington political and social life during the administrations of Theodore Roosevelt and William Taft. The personal histories of John Jacob Astor and Benjamin Guggenheim chart the rise of two of America’s greatest fortunes. Lady Duff-Gordon, a leading couturiere, escorts us into a world where high fashion and the English aristocracy commingle.

Through these vividly drawn 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 heartbreakingly poignant scenes in which some survive and others do not. The final chapters recount the rescue of the passengers in lifeboats by the Carpathia and the trip to New York with only 712 survivors from the 2,209 who had been on board. Waiting for them onshore was a press frenzy as newspapers competed for firsthand accounts of the disaster that had “stirred two continents as they had not been stirred in a century.” Even today, its fascination is undimmed and the lost liner remains our most potent modern parable, our most-cited metaphor for human arrogance and folly. The unsinkable story sails on.

GILDED LIVES, FATAL VOYAGE re-creates the intimate atmosphere onboard history’s most famous ship as never before, as Hugh Brewster seamlessly interweaves personal narratives of the lost liner’s passengers with a haunting account of the fateful maiden crossing.



Historian, writer, and editor Hugh Brewster conceived and produced some of the biggest bestsellers about the Titanic, with cumulative sales of more than 10 million copies, including The Discovery of the Titanic by Robert D. Ballard, its discoverer, and Titanic: An Illustrated History, which provided inspiration for James Cameron’s epic movie. He is also the author of Inside the Titanic, Deadly Voyage, The Other Mozart, and twelve award-winning books for young readers.

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