All Standing: The True Story of Hunger, Rebellion, and Survival Aboard the Jeanie Johnston

Kathryn Miles, Author
Kathryn Miles. Free Press, $26 (256p) ISBN 978-1-4516-1013-0
Reviewed on: 10/15/2012
Release date: 01/08/2013
Paperback - 238 pages - 978-1-4516-1015-4
Ebook - 256 pages - 978-1-4516-1016-1
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Having sailed on the recently recreated Jeanie Johnston, Miles, a professor of environmental writing at Unity College in Maine, is well-suited to tell the riveting tale of the only “coffin ship” to never lose a passenger during the great emigration from a famine-ravished Ireland in the mid-19th century. She relates the story of a man born on the Jeanie’s maiden voyage, and consequently named after the ship’s captain, medic, and entire crew: Nicholas Reilly (for very short). Interwoven with the story of Nicholas’s life in the U.S. (where he married, raised six kids, ran a business, and owned that holy grail of the American dream, “a house in the suburbs”) is a moving portrait of the Irish potato famine, a disaster exacerbated by logistical challenges plaguing relief efforts, religious schisms, and political tensions between the Crown and what was then a British colony. More than 100,000 immigrants perished during their attempts to escape their blighted homeland, and Miles pulls no punches in her portrayal of the waves of discrimination that crashed over those fortunate enough to survive the voyage. Nevertheless, Nicholas’s story and the flawless record of the Jeanie are morsels of hope amid the Great Hunger. Map. Agent: Wendy Strothman. (Jan. 8)
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