All Standing

The Remarkable Story of the Jeanie Johnston, The Legendary Irish Famine Ship

By Kathryn Miles
(Simon & Schuster, Paperback, 9781451610154, 256pp.)

Publication Date: January 14, 2014

Other Editions of This Title: Hardcover

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Description

The enthralling, true tale of a celebrated “coffin ship” that ran between Ireland and America in the 1840s: “By turns harrowing and heartwarming…All Standing salvages the treasure of a history lost at sea” (J.C. Hallman, author of The Devil Is a Gentleman).

Desperate for a new beginning, countless Irish unsettled by famine in the 1840s braved the treacherous voyage to Canada and the United States in crowded ships that claimed more than 100,000 lives. But unlike every other “coffin ship,” the Jeanie Johnston never lost a passenger. In All Standing, Kathryn Miles resurrects this extraordinary ship, its heroic crew, and the epic forces against which they struggled in a time of momentous and devastating change.

In eleven voyages, the Jeanie Johnston’s crew—Munn, Donovan, Attridge, and Blennerhassett—delivered some 2,500 individuals to the New World. Why did these four men succeed when so many others failed? What prompted them to act when so many preferred to do nothing—or worse? Using newspaper accounts, rare documents, and her own experience sailing as an apprentice aboard the recently re-created Jeanie Johnston, Miles tells a tale of courage, ingenuity, and bravado, of a very human struggle to endure in the face of unimaginable hardship. But just as compelling as the myriad personal stories that Miles brings to life are the bigger, historic narratives: the colonial exploitation of people and natural resources, a wholly preventable epidemic that exterminated countless lives, and the dangers of an unregulated economy. Combined, they build a complex and fascinating account that spans continents and epochs—and one whose effects still reverberate today.

Hailed as “well written and thoroughly researched” by James L. Nelson, author of With Fire and Sword, this innovative new look at the horrors of the Irish Potato Famine is narrative history at its finest.




About the Author

Kathryn Miles is a professor of environmental writing at Unity College. She is the author of Adventures With Ari and dozens of articles that have appeared in publications, including Alimentum, Best American Essays, Ecotone, Flyway, Meatpaper, and Terrain. She lives—and sails—in Belfast, Maine.




NPR
Sunday, Mar 17, 2013

In the mid-19th century, more than a million Irish fled the potato famine in search of a better life. But the fate they met aboard so-called "coffin ships" headed to the New World was often as bad as what they left behind. Not so for those lucky enough to find their way onto one ship. Kathryn Miles tells the story in her book, All Standing. More at NPR.org

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Praise For All Standing

"An enchanting and dedicated historian, Kathryn Miles takes us on a journey from lore to science and back again. By turns harrowing and heartwarming, All Standing salvages the treasure of a history lost at sea." -- J.C. Hallman, author of The Devil is a Gentleman and Wm & H'ry and In Utopia

eoeAll Standing illuminates a dire period in history I knew little about. Through Kathryn Milese(TM) crisp writing and meticulous research, I gained understanding and insight into this humanitarian crisis, but also was felt as if I was a passenger on the harrowing trans-Atlantic crossing of the Jeanie Johnston. Bravo to the author for bringing the story to life and illuminating the best and worst of the people involved.e -- Michael Tougias, author of A Storm Too Soon, Fatal Forecast, and Overboard!

"Well-researched and engagingly written, Kathryn Miles' All Standing is full of compelling characters--including the Jeanie Johnston herself. The ship becomes a beacon of hope in an age Miles paints with vigor as beset by famine, disease, political callousness and cruelty." --Ginger Strand, author of Killer on the Road and Inventing Niagara

"Kathryn Miles illuminates the true horror of the Irish Potato Famine in the way that only well written and thoroughly researched narrative history can, presenting the story in every instance through the eyes of the people who lived it, making it all the more palpable, the suffering and the glimmers of hope all the more immediate. This is a very well done book about one of the most brutal and shameful episodes in the past three hundred years of Western history." --James L. Nelson, author of With Fire and Sword: The Battle of Bunker Hill and the Beginning of the American Revolution

"Kathryn Miles illuminates the true horror of the Irish Potato Famine in the way that only well written and thoroughly researched narrative history can, presenting the story in every instance through the eyes of the people who lived it, making it all the more palpable, the suffering and the glimmers of hope all the more immediate. This is a very well done book about one of the most brutal and shameful episodes in the past three hundred years of Western history." --James L. Nelson, author of With Fire and Sword: The Battle of Bunker Hill and the Beginning of the American Revolution

eoeThis is the story of the miraculous Jeanie Johnston, a ship that defied all odds crossing the Atlantic--but Kathryn Miles delves much deeper, weaving through it the larger stories of deadly sea-faring, rampant epidemic disease, and the disastrous, mass displacement of the Irish. With expert attention to detail and seamless writing, Miles takes you aboard the 'coffin ships' and into the lives of the shipbuilders, captains, maritime physicians, Irish refugees and those remarkable individuals who managed to survive.e ---- Molly Caldwell Crosby, author of The Great Pearl Heist and The American Plague

"From moldering black potatoes in the fields of mid-19th Ireland, to hostile eoeIrish need not applye signs cropping up across American cities, the story of the great potato blight is neither simple nor direct. Kathryn Miles makes this sweeping, often overwhelmingly sad story both lucid and accessible as she tells the tales of captivating characters, including Quebec shipbuilder John Munn, Irish ship surgeon Richard Blennerhassett, and Reillys, a beleaguered family of immigrants. Miles puts faces on one of historye(TM)s greatest calamities." --Wayne Curtis, author of And a Bottle of Rum: A History of the New World in Ten Cocktails

"The authore(TM)s solid research and use of newly available material exposes the truth of the Potato Famine, the barbaric policies that exacerbated it and the incredible will of the Irish people." --Kirkus Reviews

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