Eggleston ’61 Publishes “Fire on the Water, The General Slocum Disaster”
Michael Eggleston ’61 has published the new book, Fire on the Water, The General Slocum Disaster. Over a thousand people died in less than ten minutes when the Paddle Steamer General Slocum caught fire in the East River of New York City. This history tells the story of the disaster, minute by minute from the time the fire started until the Slocum was beached on North Brother Island in the East River. The consequences of the disaster are explained. This was the deadliest inland maritime disaster in New York history and nationally it is second only to the Civil War incident, the Sultana. This book is organized to tell the story of the disaster followed by the immediate aftermath in terms of the impact on survivors and lastly the causes and consequences for those at fault. One report included in this history stands out among other references. The government established a commission to investigate the General Slocum disaster. The result of commission hearings produced findings and recommendations that were sent to President Theodore Roosevelt. He, in turn, issued directives designed to prevent such a tragedy from happening, again. This was all done in record time but one should bear in mind that 1904 was an election year and Roosevelt needed to demonstrate decisive action. Theodore Roosevelt won reelection to the Presidency. The reader will find in this history 70 maps, sketches and photographs that help understand the events and the people that influenced them.