Book review: The Tragic Story of the Empress of Ireland

Book review: The Tragic Story of the Empress of Ireland

LiQ_Mag_Cover_July2014This review first appeared in the July 2014 issue of Life in Québec Magazine.
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The Tragic Story of the Empress of Ireland
By Logan Marshall
Priced $18.00
Published by Penguin
ISBN 9780425273548

Review by Job Patstone

It’s now 100 years since the Empress of Ireland sank in the Gulf of St Lawrence, on May 29th of this year which makes the reprinting of this book, at this time, rather significant.

It was a dramatic and dreadful event costing the lives of some 1,012 people that was grossly overshadowed by the Titanic disaster just two years before.

In this book Marshall covers the whole story in specific detail, including diagrams and pictures, with statements from both witnesses and survivors alike.

He covers the facts of the collision with the Norwegian collier Storstad, the damage caused, the rescue attempts, and the court battle that followed.

Who to blame was an important factor in the whole inquiry as both captains had different versions of what happened on that foggy night in 1914.

The Empress of Ireland was Canada’s worst maritime disaster ever but, few people are aware of its significance, and the ship still lies at the bottom of the river easily attainable by divers off the coast of Rimouski, Québec.

Despite some redundancy, the book makes several comparisons to the Titanic catastrophe and the consequences of maritime disasters in general, and how rescue operations can be confusing and difficult.

About Author

Job Patstone

Job Patstone was born in Hamilton, ON. and has lived in Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer AB. He is presently living in Quebec City, with his wife. He worked for Xerox for 26 years and was an ESL teacher for another ten.

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