In the best-selling tradition of The Devil in the White City, award-winning author Brian Hicks tells the explosive story of the Morro Castle, the elegant luxury ocean liner that burned off the coast of New Jersey on September 7, 1934. The captain of the luxurious Ward Line flagship died under mysterious circumstances seven hours before his ship caught. Much of the crew abandoned ship, leaving passengers to burn or jump into the sea as a hurricane approached and literally fanned the flames. The ship was incinerated, and 134 people perished. Using hundreds of previously classified FBI reports, first-person survivor interviews, and countless documents, Brian Hicks has written and solved a murder mystery that mesmerized the nation more than 70 years ago. Told with authentic period detail and true-crime excitement, Hicks determines that the ominous weather was not the cause for the ship's burning. From Hick's deeply researched epic, we can only conclude that the disaster was the work of a madman among the crew. Hicks creates a finely drawn portrait of Depression-era America. Perfect for history buffs and adventure enthusiasts, When the Dancing Stopped is nonfiction narrative at its best.More
"A suspenseful, highly satisfying listen." (Kirkus)
"The book is a riveting account of this tragedy and the man who apparently caused it." (Booklist)
"Hicks has done a lot of research, but it never weighs down the narrative, which draws the listener in from the get-go." (Publishers Weekly)
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The state of cruise ships, before the Titanic sank
Yes, if they are nonfiction.
Defiinitely. He was excellent, especially in bringing to life various characters.
This book, to me, read somewhat in a similar vein as the story of the Titanic, of which I have not read books, but did see the movie and have read what popular press articles I came across, but with the exception that it was not told from the perspective of a passenger, but a crew member whose father was a career person in the management of cruise ships. The son had a passionate love of cruise ships and everything about them.
Other than that, it was just another story of a horrifying lack of anything resembling safety features, crew training, cruise ship building standards... all subjects that came to light even bigger time, with the sinking of the Titanic. It did display interestingly the politics of cruise ship management, the turf battles and such. It also touched on the issue of labor unions or lack thereof, and the frequently brutal persecution of union advocates.
In this account, there was a fire on the ship that started just hours after the captain keeled over and died in suspicious circumstances. From that point, all hell broke loose and the staff did not worry about anything other than saving their own lives.
A few things were disappointing to me in the listening to this story. The first is that to me, it seemed to take much too long to get started! I was subjected to entirely too much history of cruise ship building in general, and the Morro Castle in particular, and also the biographies of the various characters. I could have done without a lot of that background, especially because it seemed quite dryly written. It was just to be endured, until the action started.
The other main disappointment was that, while a lot of suspicions were raised regarding the death of the captain, and the setting of the fire, nothing was resolved. I felt the author should have offered something firm about these events, even if the offerings were only his studied opinions. I didn't feel he offered as much detail and research into these two things as might have been available. He did not even offer much in the way of the speculations or opinions of the time, that might have been available.Surely there would have been endless newspaper articles. There just seemed to be a big hole towards the end of the book, with these matters left hanging and not any satisfying possibilities offered to ease the reader's mind. It was frustrating to keep looking for this during the last third, or fourth, of the book and then fearing that there would be no resolution, which turned out to be the case.
All of that said, this WAS a pleasant listen, it did hold my interest all the way through, once I got started on the action phase. The narrator was excellent and this book gave him plenty of opportunities to showcase his talents. But if it is very meaty, complete, historical type research results you are looking for, you will not find it here. You will find a pleasant pastime for driving or doing light chores around the house and probably will not be disappointed.
Real life murder mystery!
If I run out of books, which I doubt, I would listen again. There is a lot of information in this book and I'm sure I missed some important things.
I liked the stories of the people whose lives were changed because of this tragedy. The young purser, the high school girl on her first trip and the men in the radio room.
The fire and death of the Captain were extremely interesting and the author goes to great lengths to explain them without much speculation. That is why I like true crime books.
He is a good narrator for true stories that make them sound like potboilers and film noir. I enjoyed his work.
I was very angry that the person most likely responsible for the crime was never prosecuted for it but happy that he is dead and gone now. However, had he been caught, several people he hurt later would have been much better off.
- Kristi Richardson