What's on the Bookshelf: All Standing

Wednesday, 17 April 2013 17:36 Written by  Alexandra Grabbe

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I bought All Standing, The Remarkable Story of the Jeanie Johnston, The Legendary Irish Famine Ship as a present for Sven after hearing a favorable review on NPR. 


All Standing begins with the potato famine in Ireland in the mid 1800s. Mass starvation drove the Irish to emigrate.  Over half a million people died and one million people escaped death by leaving their country.  The British were responsible for these trips and promoted Canada, then under British rule, as the main destination.  Author Kathryn Miles writes a narrative that keeps readers fascinated from beginning to end. “She is one of those writers who really knows her subject and can make history come alive,” Sven told me once he had finished the book.  The Irish crossed the Atlantic in “coffin ships.”  The death rate was incredible.  One third or more of the human cargo died.  One ship was the exception to this rule, no one died, even though the Jeanie Johnston made ten trips.  To find out why, read All Standing.  


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