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The Ship of Dreams: The Sinking of the Titanic and the End of the Edwardian Era

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  103 ratings  ·  55 reviews
“Gareth Russell has chosen a handful of passengers on the doomed liner and by training a spotlight on every detail of their lives, he has given us a meticulous, sensitive, and at times harsh picture of the early 20th century in Britain and America. A marvelous piece of work.” —Julian Fellowes, creator of Downton Abbey

A riveting account of the Titanic disaster and the
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published November 19th 2019 by Atria Books (first published March 21st 2019)
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4.5 Stars.


2 hours and 40 minutes from collision to disappearance----water temperature just under -2 degrees.

This informative work of non-fiction begins with a detailed introduction of various passengers and crew, some I had heard of from previous Titanic reads and movies, some not....including Jenny the cat who "prowled the halls after delivering a litter of kittens."

Lots of secrets....addiction, affairs, hidden illegitimate children. Lots of fabrication by passengers and Lots

Nov 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have read multiple books about the Titanic. I've read many, many facts and tales about the building of the ship, the White Star Line and its leaders, the race to build bigger and faster passenger ships in the early 1900s, the passengers, causes of the sinking, the trial and aftermath of the accident, etc. All that reading, and this book still provided details and information I had not read before! Gareth Russell digs down into the Edwardian Era and the people/time that created the Titanic and ...more
Apr 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Over the years, I have read many books about Titanic and this is, certainly, one of the best. (I know many who consider themselves experts on the ship, dislike it referred to as, ‘the’ Titanic, but the subtitle does so: ‘The Sinking of the Titanic and the End of the Edwardian Era).

With so many books about Titanic available, there is always the question of whether it adds anything new. I think it does – it is meticulously researched, with incredible detail, and puts events into historical
Patricia Romero
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Gareth Russell has done his research. Uncovering previously unpublished sources and including photographs. Russell tells the story not just of the sinking of the Titanic, but of six well-known and well-heeled passengers and the role they played in history.

He is a gifted writer and puts the event in context with what was going on in the world. Especially the Americans and the British. With the Edwardian Era ending, war on the horizon and changes in the social norms, technology, politics, Irish
The author highlights several first class passengers, telling the reader about their background, and their ultimate fate. There is an English countess, a naval architect, a movie star, an American railroad executive and his son, and a Jewish couple, former immigrants who owned Macy's. It’s interesting how each reacts to the shocking circumstances: from shallow and selfish to heroic. The author also proposes that this was the end of the Edwardian era, and the predecessor of more horrors to come ...more
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An exceptionally thorough and fascinating account of the Titanic first and only ill-fated voyage.

Though it is not without (minor) flaws, I found this to be the best nonfiction account of the Titanic that I have encountered. Russell’s depth and breadth of research on the subject is exceptional, his über-complete narrative beginning with the backstory of many of those on the ship and the ship’s construction, progressing to a day-by-day account of the journey and eventual sinking, and leading
Adrienne Dillard
Mar 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2019
In the century since her tragic demise, Titanic’s story has been told time and again. From books (both fiction and non) to movies and television series, we’ve heard the tale so many times it’s hard to believe there is anything new to discover. Are there any more stones to uncover? Acclaimed historian, Gareth Russell, set out to unearth those very stones, and in his gripping new work he polishes them to a shine. In doing so, Russell manages to accomplish the impossible: a fresh perspective on the ...more
Maura Heaphy Dutton
Terrific book -- well written, and very thoroughly researched. This is a must for anyone interested in Titanic, and the people who sailed on her.

This book jumped to the top of my TBR list for two reasons -- ok, three reasons, the first one, which hardly needs saying, being hey, a new book about Titanic!! Because, yes ladies and gentlemen, I am a bona fide, died in the wool, incorrigible Titanic addict. I can even tell you the exact moment that my obsession was born: the day my Mom took me to see
Helen Carolan
Jul 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
An interesting read. Not so much about the sinking itself, as about the impact it made on five upper class passengers. Many had seen their fortunes begin to dwindle due to agricultural reforms and now a new breed was replacing them. The self-made business man. This book follows both aristocrats and newly rich to see how the Titanic's sinking sinking impacted even further on their lives.
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Ship of Dreams is a lovingly written and researched volume that centers on the sinking of the Titanic, but also encompasses the history of the society that invented her.

Gareth Russell focuses on just a few of the passengers, and lets us look into their lives and family histories. The author delved into these surrounding histories with a completeness that I must admit surprised me. It wasn't at all the book I was expecting.

One of the passengers Russell introduces us to is The Countess of
Jill Meyer
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"The Ship of Dreams", by Irish author Gareth Russell, is the latest, and one of the best books about the Titanic. Built in 1912, the ship didn't survive it's maiden voyage between LeHarve and Hoboken. It entered history with all the fervor of a "myth"; a myth of "unsinkability" and "endless luxury". However, the truth was that as large and powerful as the Titanic was, it would soon be superceded by larger, faster, and even more beautiful ships. But like a beautiful woman killed in her prime, the ...more
J. F.
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Book Review: The Ship of Dreams: The Sinking of the Titanic and the End of the Edwardian Era by Gareth Russell
(Published by Atria Books)

On 14 April 1912 at 11:40 p.m., on her maiden voyage, White Star's RMS (Royal Merchant Ship) Titanic, also known as "The Unsinkable Ship" and "The Ship of Dreams" hit an iceberg.

The transatlantic passenger liner sank 2 h 40 min later on 15 April 1912. Over 1,500 perished; 705 survived.

Gareth Russell's thorough and encyclopedic narrative covers macro and micro
Debra Pawlak
Nov 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
I received an advance reading copy (ARC) of this book from in return for a fair review. Much has been written about the ill-fated Titanic over the years, but this book takes an interesting approach. The author, Gareth Russell, chose six first class passengers and their families who were on board at the time of the sinking and details their lives before, during, and after the tragedy. Among those he depicted were a silent screen actress, a British aristocrat, a maritime architect, a ...more
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 stars

I have been a follower of all things Titanic for many years and found this book to be a welcome addition to my collection. Mr. Russell manages to put the ship and its passengers into a complete historical perspective. He shows that we are all “victims” of our social class and of the time in which we live.

This book is a very good re-telling not only of the Titanic tragedy, but also Mr. Russell includes brief but very detailed biographies of some of the famous personages included in his
Nov 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The sheer amount of detail Russell exhibits in this book is simply astounding.

Focusing on a small number of people aboard the Titanic (their respective fates withheld until the sinking, if you weren't already in the know), the stage is set by including this varied and interesting set of people, their histories laid out in impressive detail. One may get the feeling they get when thumbing through The Begats at first, but take heart, as Russell's work picks up and rewards the reader.

You get to
Christina Dudley
Nov 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you love your shipwrecks with a side of history, this is the Titanic book for you. Russell follows a smaller group of passengers and crew, using them as a lens through which to view the end of an era. Which means the ship doesn't go down until you're quite a ways through.

I confess to skimming some bits, like when too many names from history piled up in too short a time, but generally this was a great read. I appreciated when Russell took the time to debunk some Titanic conspiracy theories and
Niki (nikilovestoread)
I have been fascinated by the Titanic for years. As soon as I saw The Ship of Dreams by Gareth Russell was coming out, I couldn't wait to read it. The author chose to expand upon the actual events by hypothesizing that the sinking also heralded the ending of the Edwardian era. It was very interesting to learn about how social changes were coming about and how they led up to the time period when the Titanic sailed. While the sinking itself did not mark the end of the Edwardian era (those changes ...more
The book is a detailed reminder of the lifestyles of people on both sides of the Atlantic before and after the sinking. I truly geek history, so the intensive research was definitely a big plus. It is made more real and more manageable by using only a handful of the glitterati as focus persons. Very interesting whether one is afflicted by Titanic Madness or not. I really enjoyed this different take on a subject peripherally known to most!
I requested and received a free ebook copy from Atria
Nov 06, 2019 rated it it was ok
A look at different people aboard the ship. Looks at the ship before it departed, during it time on the water and after it crashed. A look at what the survivors did after and mentions the film in the 1990s.
Jul 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I sometimes like to read a well-researched, factual historical book. This one is all of that. I found the individual stories very interesting. The fact that the author pulls in the world events during that period and after, makes it even better. It certainly gave me a greater understanding of the Titanic's fate and it's effects on a select group of survivors. It is well-written and worth your time.
Pat G.
Jul 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Ship of Dreams was a fascinating read. So much more to understand about the sinking of the Titanic and all the interesting people around and aboard at that time. Really enjoyed this book.
Jul 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I, like everyone else, have seen the movie but other than that I didn't know much about the titanic. I really enjoyed reading this and there was so much information about the ship and its times, not just the tragedy of the sinking.
Samantha Morris
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was absolutely honoured to receive a review copy of Russell's latest book, having read and utterly adored his book on Katherine Howard - so when I received this book I was seriously excited to get stuck in. I must admit it's taken me a while to get through it, but the fault is entirely my own thanks to that bothersome thing called real life getting in the way. When I did pick it up I found myself lost in the past, on board the Ship of Dreams as it set sail from Southampton and as it sank into ...more
Rachel Parham
One could make the argument there are too many Titanic books. This naysayer would proclaim, with bullhorn if I can allow my imagination to run away with me, there is nothing new to say about the tragedy, that everything we can learn about the appalling events of April 14-15, 1912 has been learned. The ship hit an iceberg, sank, and killed almost 1,500 people in the process. Move on to something else.

I, as an avid, passionate, probably borderline obsessive Titanic buff don't necessarily agree,
Anne Morgan
Nov 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Just when you think a subject has been studied to pieces, that nothing new can be written about it, along comes a book like Gareth Russell's The Ship of Dreams. Thanks to intense research, Russell brings readers into the lives of first class passengers Lucy Leslie, Countess of Rothes; Thomas Andrews; Ida and Isidor Straus and others: the American millionaire businessmen, British aristocrats, and glamorous movie stars who were among those who sailed on Titanic's maiden voyage. Readers are swept ...more
Aug 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed, first-reads
Much as people have been recently captivated by Downton Abbey, generations before us and since have been captivated by the unthinkable sinking of the luxury liner, The Titanic, she who was thought unsinkable. In 1912, before the world was shaken by WW I life was slow and simple. The world was dominated by England, whose empire was the one on which the sun never set. Industry was booming on both sides of the Atlantic and the hereditary nobility of Europe with its societal rules and great wealth ...more
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finished this book yesterday but I needed a day to mull over my review. I have read multiple books on the Titanic disaster, and I will say this is by far the best rendition of the events and the happenings of them all. The research the author did for this story is indeed meticulous. His descriptions were so realistic, I felt like I was standing there with Tommy Andrews next to the fireplace on the Titanic and I could see him throwing the chairs over the side to the passengers in the water, you ...more
Nov 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
Russell goes into exquisite detail in The Ship of Dreams: The Sinking of the Titanic and the End of the Edwardian Era. Sometimes that was good thing for me, and sometimes it wasn't so great. While being fully aware that in addition to being about the Titanic and its doomed journey this book is also about some of the first class passengers that traveled on the ship, the parts that covered extensive and somewhat excessive history about those individuals felt tedious at times. When the background ...more
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
When I saw this offered I debated a bit about requesting a copy because so much has been written about Titanic that the thought occurred to me about what could [possibly be new in this book. I'm glad I requested it because the answer is a resounding yes, there is more to learn about the Titanic. From the days of construction to her final hours, the point of view in this impressive and entertaining historical book, the reader follows various passengers on their voyage into history.
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