Gilded Lives, Fatal Voyage Secondary Title

In 701 B.C. the Assyrian empire was in its ascendancy. It had already vanquished the kingdom of Israel to the north including the capital at Samaria. It then prepared an assault on Judah and its capital at Jerusalem.

But in one of those significant events that changes the course of world history, Assyria was repelled. Jerusalem was saved until 586 B.C. when the Babylonians sacked the city, forcing its leadership class into exile.

Henry Aubin, in a major feat of scholarship, determines that Jerusalem was aided by a Kushite army from Africa which had marched northeast from the Nile valley. While the Bible attributes the Assyrian retreat to an angel and secular commentators cite pestilence, Aubin, in a meticulously documented work, demonstrates that an alliance with the African nation of Kush bolstered Jerusalem’s defences.

Kush, also known as Nubia, was located in what is now southern Egypt and northern Sudan. A monarchy that existed for more than 1000 years, from 900 B.C. to A.D. 350, Kushites held sway over Egypt from 712 B.C. to about 660 B.C. Of Egypt’s 31 dynasties, this, the 25th Dynasty, is the only one that all scholars agree, was black.

The commander of the Kushite expeditionary force was Taharqa (or as the Bible calls him Tirhakah). This Kushite prince, who had his own interests in halting Assyrian expansion, likely caught the aggressors by surprise as they prepared their siege of Jerusalem.

Aubin offers a thrilling military history and a stirring political analysis of the ancient world. He also sees the event as influential over the centuries.

The Kushite rescue of the Hebrew kingdom of Judah enabled the fragile, war-ravaged state to endure, to nurse itself back to economic and demographic health, and allowed the Hebrew religion, Yahwism, to evolve within the next several centuries into Judaism. Thus emerged the monotheistic trunk supporting Christianity and Islam.


Hugh Brewster has collaborated with Robert Ballard, the discoverer of the Titanic’s wreck on The Discovery of the Titanic and Titanic: An Illustrated History, which provided the inspiration for James Cameron’s epic movie Titanic. His 2007 book Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose: The Story of a Painting was chosen as one of the ten best books of the year by the Washington Post and was nominated for two of Canada’s top literary awards. 

HarperCollins Canada 2012
Crown/Random House US 2012
Gawsewitch France 2012
Piemme Italy 2012
Mondadori/Random House Spain 2012
Robson Press UK 2012
Wydawnictwo Literackie Poland 2013 

Gilded Lives,
Fatal Voyage

The Titanic’s First Class Passengers and Their World

The wealthy and glamorous passengers who boarded the Titanic, history’s most famous ship, provide “an exquisite microcosm of the Edwardian era.” But in most books about the doomed voyage, their stories are incidental to the ship’s collision with an iceberg on April 14, 1912.

Hugh Brewster, who created several bestselling books on the Titanic, here uses original research to intertwine, for the first time, their lives within the powerful arc of the ship’s dramatic demise.

The cast includes artist and writer Frank Millet, the Director of Decorations for the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair; White House aide Archie Butt; John Jacob Astor and Benjamin Guggenheim; and Lady Lucile Duff-Gordon, a leading couturiere, among others. Through these vivid characters, we gain insight into the arts, politics, culture, and sexual mores of a world both distant and near to our own.

All  converge on the boat deck of the Titanic during the ship’s final hours and we become witnesses to a heartbreakingly poignant scene where some survive and some do not. 

The final chapters recount the rescue of the passengers in lifeboats by the Carpathia and the trip back to New York with only 705 of the more than 2,200 on board.  Some men who survived lived under a cloud of cowardice. Others left a remarkable legacy that leads us to art collector Peggy Guggenheim whose father died when the Titanic sank, or to philanthropist Brooke Astor, daughter-in-law of John Jacob Astor, and how the circumstances of her recent death became “the last Astor scandal.” 

The Titanic is one of the most enduring stories of all time. The focus on it will be intensified for the 100th anniversary of its sinking on April 14/15, 2012 for which hundreds of commemorative events are being scheduled.

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