The story of the Morro Castle covers everything and anything to do with disaster at sea arson, sabotage, murder, corruption, and the horrifying reality of callous capitalism in the face of hundreds of deaths Brian Hicks masterfully weaves politics, first hand accounts, and looming conspiracies into decades of investigation and unanswered questions Highly recommend for lovers of history, maritime disaster, and stories so unbelievable you have to read it. The shipwrecks I read about are usually age of sail affairs that follow the survivors struggle against their environment and occasionally each other But the wreck of the Morro Castle involves than just the fire, the crew s response, and the rescue efforts The author presents historical context, personal accounts, and a heaping pile of evidence against one arson suspect, all delivered in an organized, cohesive way.The story itself is unnerving There was unrest among the crew, and the captain died shortly before the ship burned The fire started in one of the few areas that didn t have an automatic fire detection system Orders to abandon ship or call for help were delayed by poor communication Many of the lifeboats either burned or launched with only a few people aboard, leading those who couldn t reach them to jump into the ocean and hope they d get picked up One of the ship s design features helped to spread the fire, and rough weather made rescue difficult But the author makes a credible case that the 135 deaths were ultimately the responsibility of radio operator George White Rodgers.Right after the wreck, Rodgers was called a hero for getting the SOS out before the ship s equipment failed The last third of the book explores his history of erratic behavior and later crimes, including an attempt to kill a coworker with a homemade bomb Rodgers went to prison after being convicted of two murders, where he teased reporters about new information on the Morro Castle.The book is primarily about the ship and the crew member who may have burned it, but it also brings to life a time when ship owners feared communist infiltration and New York tourists cruised to Havana It was compelling and written well, but the author doesn t address any other theories about the cause of the fire, even to argue against them It was also difficult to get through than it should have been, because somebody decided to get creative and set it in a tall, narrow typeface I was interested in the story and am not even that prone to eyestrain, but I had to keep putting it down. There are usually three types of crime layouts for books 1 The author decides he she knows what was in a criminal s head and spends the entire book spinning the spin.2 The author writes a thesis but neglects to keep the reader involved due to the fact that it s really just a thesis.3 The author throws everything at the reader from the beginning, so the rest of the book is a letdown.Thankfully, this book is none of the above Brian Hicks crafts a tale that leads the reader into a just one page even though it s 2AM spellbinding journey to discover the cause behind one of the greatest maritime disasters of the 20th century Hicks has done his research homework, to the point where he even throws off newspaper facts from the 19th century, all to support his findings on the psychopath who is really the center of the story.We don t know this, of course, because we think we re going to read a book about a ship, but it s so much than that I love authors who do their homework and don t just guess, and that s why this book merits the highest marks Engrossing and gruesome.Book Season Autumn because that s when the nuts thrive The Morro Castle was a luxury liner which sailed from New York City to Havana, Cuba during the early thirties Although its primary function was to transport mail between the two cities, the ship also had a decent passenger business despite the ever worsening depression taking tourists to Gay Havana which at the time was still a wild party town On the Labor Day cruise in 1934, the ship mysteriously caught fire and sunk, killing than half the passengers and crew aboard This book tells that story, but also tells the story of George Rogers, a radio operator who was convicted of murdering two elderly neighbors as well as attempting to kill a friend with a bomb The connection between those two stories is that George Rogers was the radio operator on the Morro Castle, and many believe he was responsible for setting the fire, and possibly also for murdering the ship s captain before the fire began.The author of the book, Brian Hicks, has obviously done painstaking research, and although the book tends to be a novelization, it is comfortable with inserting facts as well as their sources into the story The main voice we hear from during the parts of the story which take place on the Morro Castle is Tom, a young man who was working on the ship that summer Hicks had a chance to interview Tom who was roughly 84 at the time Hicks met him and get a lot of details not just about the fire itself, but also about the way the ship ran and about the tensions and problems among the crew leading up to the disaster.Hicks follows an extensive description of the disaster itself with coverage of the various trials held to attempt to get to the truth about the matter with regards to fault and blame The aggregious errors made by the replacement captain and the crew are brought to light by the combined efforts of the U.S District Attorney s office, the department which would soon become the FBI, and the board that dealt with issues of the sea After that, Hicks continues on to follow George Rogers, and the case quietly being built against him as far as the Morro Castle was concerned.This book is well written and includes a lot of interesting, gripping details It has a certain feeling of being a detective story without getting totally side tracked, never forgetting what the story is REALLY about The author ties his strings together well, and in general I found the book to be a fascinating read. In the summer of 1934, off the coast of New Jersey, the Morro Castle, a well known luxury liner returning from a Labor Day cruise to Havana, caught fire during a tropical storm just hours after its captain was found dead in his cabin The ship was incinerated, some 134 passengers died, and the rest forced to jump into the sea to survive Based on recently declassified FBI files, thousands of pages of investigation notes, testimony, and new interviews, Hicks provides a fast paced account exploring the mystery of what exactly happened on the Morro Castle seven decades ago. Fascinating story of a disaster I had never heard of It started off a little slow, but after the 2nd death the first being of an anecdote , it took off and I couldn t stop reading Like most large catastrophes, lots of small acts lead up to a big freaking disaster An inexperienced leader, 2 huge storms in the Atlantic, a crew and passengers not properly trained in evacuating a ship, a floating pile of fuel and excellerants, and maybe, just maybe, a madman capable of setting it all ablaze It doesn t end the night the ship ran aground, because someone that diabolical, that evil, doesn t just stop He relished the attention and decimated anyone who got in his way It s all circumstantial, mind you, but there s a hell of a lot of circumstances. I thought the book was incredibly researched but I didn t find it as gripping as I thought I would I had never heard of the Morro Castle disaster so I was intriqued I did though find myself gasping here and there reading what all Rogers had done and gotten away with for so long Too bad there was never any conclusive evidence against him for justice sake. I enjoyed this historical true crime story It was well researched and talked about an historical event that I hadn t heard about before My two favorite things history and mystery It was also well indexed, which I appreciated I wish there had been a list of characters and their jobs because so many people are referenced, I ended up making my own list as I read along. I had wanted to read this book for quite a while I hadn t read much about the Morro Castle disaster before this I was enjoying the book for a bit, but the author started going on about various conspiracy theories, and how this person was poisoned, this person left passengers to die on purpose, etc It got old about halfway through, and I gave up at 90% Hopefully, I can find another book about this disaster to read. During The Dark Days Of The Great Depression, Thousands Of Weary Souls Escaped Their Bleak Lives For A Week Of Paradise Aboard The Ward Line S Glamorous Cruise Ship, The Morro Castle It Was The Most Famous Passenger Liner Of Its Day, Lightning Fast, Elegantly Appointed It Was Also A Ticking Time Bomb It Was The Summer Of Two Sailors Joined The Morro Castle Crew, One A Teenager On His First Job Away From Home, The Other A Dangerous Psychopath Within Two Months, They Would Witness The End Of The Party In A Single Night Of Death, Killer Storms, And Catastrophic Fire And That Was Only The Beginning Of A Twenty Year Long StoryIn When The Dancing Stopped, We Too Walk Up The Gangplank To That Art Deco Liner And, At First, Enjoy The Glamour And The Sultry Havana Nights With Mounting Suspense, We Also Witness The Launch Of A Mystery That Mesmerized The Nation And Then, In The Midst Of Troubled Times, Faded Away Award Winning Author Brian Hicks, Using Newly Declassified FBI Files, Thousands Of Pages Of Investigation Notes, Testimony, And New Interviews, Takes The Reader On A Mid Century Cruise Through History, Revealing A Cold Case File That Had Been, Until Now, Left Unsolved For History And, As He Relates In This Work Of Masterful Storytelling, It All Began With The Last Cruise Of The Morro Castle One Of Those Two Men, Thomas Torresson Jr First Sailed On The Cruise Ship As A High School Senior Recovering From Serious Illness And Soon Found A Love That Would Endure His Entire Life Within Months, He Would Join The Crew For George Rogers, A Gifted Radio Operator With A Secret Past, The Ship Was Merely The Latest In A Long Line Of Jobs Their Paths Would Crossseveral Times On The Way To Their Destiny, And The Disaster Would Affect The Two In Very Different Ways One Would Become Famous, The Other Scarred ForeverIn The Grand Tradition Of The Devil In The White City, Hicks Details A Desperate Investigation And The Search For What May Be The Modern Era S First Serial Killer Through The Tragic Backdrop Of A Country Suffering Through Depression And A Buildup To War With Cameos By J Edgar Hoover, Franklin D Roosevelt, And Ernest Hemingway, When The Dancing Stopped Is The Captivating True Story Of Two Men Irrevocably Bound By History A True American Hero And A Dangerous Killer Masquerading As One More Than That, There Is The Larger Cast Of Characters Crew Members And Passengers, Investigators, Scoundrels, And, Yes, Additional Victims For The Story That Began On That Storm Tossed Night Off The Coast Of New Jersey Continued, As We Now Learn, For Decades To Come
Is a well-known author, some of his books are a fascination for readers like in the When the Dancing Stopped: The Real Story of the Morro Castle Disaster and Its Deadly Wake book, this is one of the most wanted Brian Hicks author readers around the world.
- 345 pages
- When the Dancing Stopped: The Real Story of the Morro Castle Disaster and Its Deadly Wake
- Brian Hicks
- 07 January 2019 Brian Hicks