Authors & Events
Jun 08, 2004
| ISBN 9780767909068
Dec 30, 2008
| ISBN 9780307490872
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Jun 08, 2004 | ISBN 9780767909068
Dec 30, 2008 | ISBN 9780307490872
There were few experienced swimmers among over 1,300 Lower East Side residents who boarded the General Slocum on June 15, 1904. It shouldn’t have mattered, since the steamship was chartered only for a languid excursion from Manhattan to Long Island Sound. But a fire erupted minutes into the trip, forcing hundreds of terrified passengers into the water. By the time the captain found a safe shore for landing, 1,021 had perished. Ship Ablaze draws on firsthand accounts to examine why the death toll was so high and how the city responded. Masterfully capturing both the horror of the event and the heroism of men, women, and children who faced crumbling life jackets and inaccessible lifeboats as the inferno quickly spread, historian Edward T. O’Donnell brings to life a bygone community while honoring the victims of that forgotten day.
The true story of one of the greatest tragedies in New York historyOn June 15, 1904, the steamship General Slocum was heading from Manhattan to Long Island Sound when a fire erupted in one of the storage rooms. Faced with an untrained crew, crumbling life jackets, and inaccessible lifeboats, hundreds of terrified passengers–few of which were experienced swimmers–fled into the water. By the time the captain found a safe shore for landing, more than 1000 people had perished. It was New York’s deadliest tragedy prior to September 11, 2001.The only book available on this compelling chapter in the city’s history, Ship Ablaze draws on firsthand accounts to examine why the death toll was so high, how the city responded, and why this event failed to achieve the infamy of the Titanic’s 1912 demise or the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire. Masterfully capturing both the horror of the event and heroism of men, women, and children aboard the ship as the inferno spread, historian Edward T. O’Donnell brings to life a bygone community while honoring the victims of that forgotten day.
Edward T. O’Donnell is an associate professor of history at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. He is the author of several books, including Visions of America and 1001 Things Everyone Should Know About Irish American History…. More about Ed O’Donnell
“A dramatic and compelling narrative of New York’s saddest tragedy before 9/11 . . . a fascinating probe into the inferno that killed hundreds of women and children . . . O’Donnell does a spellbinding job of making the calamity come alive.”—Clive Cussler“An impressively written account that effectively conveys the horror of New York’s second-worst disaster ever.”—Booklist“Compelling . . . O’Donnell’s story is a testament to the strength of a unique people in an equally unique city . . . Unforgettable.” —National Review
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