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The Sultana Tragedy: America’s Greatest Maritime Disaster

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  47 ratings  ·  11 reviews
On April 27, 1865, the Sultana, a 260-foot, wooden-hulled steamboat, exploded on the Mississippi River near Memphis, Tennessee. More than 1,800 men died.
Hardcover, 312 pages
Published February 29th 1992 by Pelican
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Average rating 3.91  · 
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Tom Mathews
My great-great grandparents, Harvey and Ann Annis and their youngest daughter, Belle, were on the Sultana when it exploded. Harvey and Belle were lost. Ann was the only woman to survive the greatest maritime disaster in American history.
Sean Chick
Nov 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The research is wonderful and that alone gets this five stars. The account is thorough and fair. Yet, this is not a great read by any means, lacking flow and being dry as the Sahara. That said, it is not an awkward read. There are no random exclamation points or odd phrases. It is just direct and matter of fact. One thing that was powerful were the plentiful photographs of men who died or survived the disaster.
Sep 30, 2012 rated it liked it
I was stoked about this book for a long time before I purchased it. It really sounded like a great book and had high reviews on other sites. It was good. Only good. The print was bigger than the norm and the book was kind of short. The story about the events and things associated with the boat were well covered but the actual event of the boat exploding was fast paced. It told some details. I would have enjoyed a little more time on the events surrounding the actual sinking... not all the politi ...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
This was very dryly written, but the facts of the incident were so interesting that I was compelled to read anyway. This tragedy could easily have been avoided, had certain people not been so greedy. To think of all that these poor soldiers survived in the Confederate prisons, only to be subjected to a further nightmare. So many never made it home. So sad.
Jan 23, 2021 rated it really liked it
Well researched, good, detailed retelling of what happened. Author appears to have covered every angle of a true tragedy.
Jan 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Sultana Tragedy: America's Greatest Maritime Disaster by Jerry O. Potter is a thoroughly researched book that details the terrible tragedy of the explosion and sinking of the Sultana (a 260 ft wooden-hulled steamer) on April 27, 1865 outside of Memphis on the Mississippi River. Just days before, 2300 Union Soldiers on their way home from POW Camps in the south were boarded onto the Sultana in Vicksburg, although the steamer only had a legal carrying capacity for 376. It seems that this tragi ...more
Roger Taylor
Oct 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
This was the best of the Sultana books that I read in order to prepare a presentation on the topic to a Civil War Roundtable group in my home town. Potter provides a great deal of background on the soldiers who boarded the doomed boat and on the officials who were responsible for overloading the Sultana. He also points out how these men were neglected and poorly treated even after the tragedy by the Federal government who would not even build a monument to the victims. One is left with the impre ...more
Reynolds S
Jan 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing
An excellent book about a forgotten aspect of war, what to do with repatriated soldiers. The level of incompetence on boths prior to the tragedy is astounding but typical of people in a situation they do no or will not understand. The heroism of the survivors and actions of rescuers is a testament to the will will to live and the overarching desire to help others.
Paul Andrews
May 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Takes you through an engrossing, thoroughly researched account of America's most forgotten, yet worst maritime disaster. Lost in the details at the end of the Civil War when Lee had surrendered and Lincoln was shot. No one noticed 2000 lives lost when an overcrowded riverboat exploded on the Mississippi. Kudos to Jerry Potter for not letting this be forgotten. Remember the Sultana! ...more
Renee' Viness
Jan 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this book! Well-written!
Edward Sullivan
A thoroughly documented and impressively researched chronicle though the narrative can be a bit dry at times.
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