Courage, Folly, and Lies in the White Star Line's Worst Disaster Before Titanic
The long-awaited, definitive, shocking history of SS Atlantic, the worst shipwreck in Nova Scotia’s history, authored by the vessel’s recognized authority.
In the pre-dawn hours of April 1, 1873 – as the lookouts looked, the steersman steered, and the captain slept – something was happening to the SS Atlantic. The tide had quietly carried the White Star Line ocean liner twelve miles off course, and land was closer than anybody realized? or was willing to believe.
The wreck of the SS Atlantic would become the worst transatlantic passenger ship disaster before Titanic, and although it happened almost 150 years ago, there are still many unanswered questions.
That is changing.
Ten years after co-authoring the most celebrated book to date on Nova Scotia’s worst shipwreck, author Bob Chaulk has uncovered never-reported information that answers the question historians have been grappling with for over a century: why a state-of-the-art steamship, with all equipment in perfect working order, in good weather, and commanded by officers of the world’s leading seafaring nation, ended up striking rock outside Halifax and sinking, resulting in some 550 deaths.
Over a five-year period, Chaulk tracked down many descendants of those on the scene and aboard the ship, patiently piecing their stories together to reveal a shocking conclusion.
This richly illustrated work, featuring maps and colour photos, includes many firsthand accounts from passengers, crew, officers, and local rescue people.
Robert G. Chaulk is the historian for the SS Atlantic Heritage Park, and the recognized authority on the SS Atlantic disaster. He is the author of five books about Atlantic Canada's marine history. With Greg Cochkanoff, he co-authored SS Atlantic: The White Star Line's First Disaster at Sea, which won three literary awards. An avid scuba diver, Bob has done more than fifty dives on the wreck of the Atlantic, which gives him a unique perspective on this important piece of Canadian history.