Book Review – ‘RMS ‘Empress of Ireland’: Pride of the Canadian Pacific’s Atlantic Fleet’ by Michael R. Harrison

By Michael R. Harrison, published October 2020


The transatlantic liner Empress of Ireland is generally remembered for sinking in the early morning of 29 May 1914 after a collision with the Norwegian collier Storstad in the St Lawrence River. In a quarter of an hour, 1,012 passengers and crew died, mere hours after departing Quebec for Liverpool. Derek Grout’s short book, published to coincide with the disaster’s centenary, recounts the events of this tragedy and outlines the key aspects of its aftermath. Like many ocean liner titles from the History Press, the book is chiefly a vehicle for period images, which are framed and enlivened by the author’s brief chapter texts. Happily, Grout has been gathering sources on this ship for many years and has assembled an engaging and colourful picture of the vessel, its ports of call, and, most interestingly, its passengers and crew.

The book begins with a conventional chapter summarizing the ship’s genesis and providing a deck-by-deck description of the vessel. This is followed by the book’s most original contribution, a chapter of excerpts from personal accounts about travelling and working aboard the Empress of Ireland …

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Filed under: Atlantic
Subjects include: Manpower & Life at Sea | Merchant Marines | Ocean Liners & Passenger Craft

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