Australian author, Paula Astridge, was born in 1958 in the country town of Inverell (NSW). She worked for Rolling Stone Magazine and the newspaper industry before co-founding a successful advertising agency in Sydney. In 2001, she moved on to pursue her writing career on a full-time basis.
“I always had a profound interest in history,” Astridge said, “forever fascinated, as I am, by the psyche of the heroes and villains who made it.”
The best part of my job is that it knows no bounds. While the rest of the world pursues their frenetic globetrotting, I travel, at will, back in time to see and experience what’s infinitely more exciting.
Over the last ten years I’ve taken my readers to the bloodied battlegrounds of the American Civil War; I’ve run them through the rigours of both World Wars and put them on the deck of the Bounty to witness the mutiny. My last book flew them to the moon with Rocket Man, Wernher von Braun, so I thought it was time to take a wander around the Titanic.
DEEP SLEEP, however, is not just another about the famed ocean liner, but of the sturdy little steamship that went to its rescue – the SS Carpathia, and of the
SS Californian, condemned for having not.
The lives of those on the Titanic hinged on the tying of a shoelace and the taking of a nap — two tiny details that made all the difference and dictated the actions of those steamships’ respective captains — Arthur Rostron and Stanley Lord. One rushed to save those drowning, while the other, to his life-long dishonour, appeared to turn his back on the whole disaster. But nothing is ever what it seems and some said the shame rested with those who accused Captain Lord unfairly in deliberate defiance of the facts.
It is an astounding story that gets right to the bottom of the Titanic and beyond. I’ve pieced together the careers of these two captains to uncover who was to blame, who was to benefit, and to what depths some were prepared to sink when it came to cover-ups, cowardice and courage.
It gives me immense pleasure to bring these phenomenal people from the past back to life – to talk one-on-one with Titanic’s Captain Smith and with the much maligned Chairman of the White Star Line, Bruce Ismay, who was perhaps unfairly branded a coward for escaping at the expense of women and children.
Ever since seeing the movie “A Night to Remember” as a child, I’ve felt compelled to follow through on the story. I never got over the sight of the ship’s lights going out and of its mammoth black hull standing perpendicular to the sea before it sank. I always wondered what happened to those who survived and to the brave men who saved them. Now, at last, I’ve had the chance to pay tribute to the truth, laying to rest the lies, along with the sacred bones of those at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean.
DEEP SLEEP is available from all good bookstores, online, or simply by pressing the BUY button right here on my website. Please do take this nostalgic voyage with me and let me know what you think.
Baron Wernher von Braun is one of the most controversial men in history. While he was responsible for the V-2 missile which caused devastation and killed thousands during WW2, he is also celebrated as the man who flew us to the moon in Apollo 11. Was he good or bad? A very murky line still clouds the truth. Not helped by the fact that there was a very suspicious lack of documentation in regard to his wartime activities. Official paperwork which it is debated, he deliberately destroyed, that would have answered the question of whether he was, in fact, an active member of the SS who brutalized prisoners at the infamous Dora Concentration Camp or simply a scientist doing his duty who bore no direct responsibility for the horrors of the Third Reich. The issue has never been resolved, but either way, there is no doubt that America actively turned a blind eye to his possible war crimes to secure his services. There was post war evidence that well before war’s end, von Braun and his associates attempted to broker a deal with America’s GE Corporation with a view to offering them their expertise in regard to future rocketry. Von Braun’s switching of allegiance from one country to another proved to be a long, hard road. One fought in the desolated desert of New Mexico and against the dyed-in-the-wool prejudice of America’s deep South. He, however, had a relentless drive and fought with a passion to achieve his dreams of space and to sell them to the public. He was a brilliant, charming man, who had it all. Too much, those who were jealous of his worldwide celebrity and genius would say. In both Germany and America, theirs was an unremitting campaign to bring him down and von Braun forever had an uphill battle combating the malicious envy of others and the endless accusations of his Nazi past. The question remains: Was he guilty or innocent? And will this book’s intriguing new insights finally clear his name?
Branded a coward in WWII, Lieutenant Guy Barrington was dishonourably discharged from the British Army. To prove himself innocent of the charge, he joined Churchill’s Scallywags – the secret, civilian suicide squads whose purpose was to destabilize Nazi occupation of England by way of dirty tricks and sabotage. Their expected lifespan: 12 days!
Working with Naval Commander/author, Ian Fleming and his prototype for James Bond (the renowned White Rabbit), Barrington survived covert missions in France before being arrested, tortured by the Gestapo and sent to Buchenwald Concentration Camp.
He escaped by macabre means and made a desperate bid to reach Portugal in time to fly home on fated Flight 777 with his famous film star collaborator and propaganda specialist, Leslie Howard.
This is a harrowing, fact-based story of hate, horror, exemplary courage and the strange workings of the supernatural.
After the Bounty Mutiny, Fletcher Christian died on Pitcairn Island, or was this a lie? For how could he be dead when he was seen in England years later?
Captain Bligh was cleared of all responsibility for the ship’s uprising and the Rum Rebellion in New South Wales which followed. Was the controversy of both the reason why Christian’s rescue was kept secret? Or did Bligh and Australia’s famous sheep pioneer and politician, John Macarthur, perpetuate the myth for personal gain?
This is the story of these three remarkable men, of their love and loathing of each other and the fascinating part they played in the unsolved mystery of Christian’s fate.
Its fact-based solution will intrigue and astound.
THEY CAME FROM AUSTRALIA TO FIGHT THE AMERICAN CIVIL WAR
The prospect of being hanged, drawn and quartered made John Mitchel and Thomas Meagher question their Cause. A million of their fellow countrymen were dead, but why should they die too? What more could they possibly do to stop England from wiping their race off the face of the earth? Continue reading →
YOU’LL BE SHOCKED TO FIND SOME GOOD IN HITLER’S ‘BAD’
In her third work of fact-based fiction, Paula Astridge opens up a veritable Pandora’s Box on what went on behind the scenes of the Third Reich. Digging deep into the pit of Hitler’s evil, she has hit on an enormous amount of hidden ‘good’ which came from a remarkable source! Hers is a revelation about Hermann Goering and his brother Albert; of famous flying Ace Ernst Udet and of Wilm Hosenfeld – until recently, an unknown Captain of the German Wehrmacht. Continue reading →
In her second book to hit the market, Paula Astridge once again lifts the lid on what went on behind the scenes of the Third Reich. This time her focus is on Albert Speer and his unusual relationship with Adolf Hitler. Like a father, and perhaps far more, the Fuhrer singled Speer out as the not-so-brilliant young architect he was, and shot him up the ranks of the Reich to take on the powerful position as its Armaments and Munitions Minister. Continue reading →
Here is a story of supreme courage and stark terror – of two men’s bid to commit the perfect murder. Rear Admiral Wilhelm Canaris (Head of WW11 German Intelligence) and Count Claus von Stauffenberg (Military Officer and War Hero) were the two leading lights of the German conspiracy to assassinate Adolf Hitler. Continue reading →
The second-highest scoring German flying ace of World War I at the age of 22, he pursued a postwar career with the famed Flying Circus and in Hollywood movies. At the onset of WWII, he joined the Nazi Party and was placed in command of the Reich Air Ministry’s development wing. However, he could not cope with the bureaucracy and the intense pressure of Hitler’s demands led to his addiction to alcohol. Despite this, in 1939, he became Luftwaffe Director-General of Equipment. Internal conflicts and lack of raw materials for supply had him falter at his job and after the Luftwaffe’s defeat in the Battle of Britain, Reich Marshal Hermann Goering tried to deflect Hitler’s ire by blaming it on Udet. Hitler’s attack on the Soviet Union drove Udet to commit suicide on November 17, 1941. He shot himself in the head while on the phone with his girlfriend. He scrawled a suicide note in red ink that read: “Reich Marshal, you are responsible for my death.”
Originally a teacher, he joined the Wehrmacht in WWII. He helped to hide and rescue many Poles and Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland, and is most remembered for helping Polish-Jewish pianist and composer ,Władysław Szpilman, to survive, hidden, in the ruins of Warsaw during the last months of 1944. Hosenfeld was taken prisoner by the Russians at the end of the war and condemned to twenty years hard labour for having belonged to the German military unit which they believed was largely responsible for the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising. Despite the fact that many people who had benefitted from Hosenfeld’s help, petitioned on his behalf, the Russians were never to release him and he died of heart failure while still in captivity. In June 2009 he was posthumously recognized as a Righteous among the Nations by Yad Vashem.