Stephen Fox's Transatlantic


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Oct 13, 2000
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while browsing on-line I came across another new liner anthology. the full title is Transatlantic: Samuel Cunard, Isambard Brunel and the Great Atlantic Steamships.

it is not really a Titanic book, and as a matter of fact covers the steamship industry only up through about 1910. but it seems to have a fair amount a White Star material. its focus is on the engineering advancements in the industry starting in the 1820's with the sailing ships, then the paddlewheelers, and finally the steamships. it also covers the personalities and the rivalries that drove the industry forward.

I don't have it yet, so I can't comment on the content. anyone else get a look at this book yet?

all the best, Michael (TheManinBlack) T
 
Jul 9, 2000
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I got it last week. I'm about halfway through it now. haven't had any time to do any fact checking, but overall, it seems a good general history...and very readable as well. Most refreshing after I tried and failed to struggle through Brinnin's The Sway of the Grand Saloon.
 
Oct 13, 2000
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this turned out to be the best maritime book I read all summer, even though it has NO Titanic content whatsoever. there's a lot of content on the shipping companies as well as the shipbuilders, although the focus is definitely on Cunard.

there was one glaring oddity, this book, by far, has the most biased, negative description of Thomas Ismay’s son Bruce that has ever seen print. The author describes J. Bruce Ismay as the senior Ismay’s “doofus son Bruce”. The younger Ismay is characterized as a bumbler, erratic in his behavior, and a lunatic. This is taking things a bit too far. There is no doubt that Bruce Ismay could be a difficult man, but he was skilled at running a large conglomerate. His appointment as President of the Morgan combine, the International Mercantile Marine would never have happened if he were the total incompetent that Fox makes him out to be. In a book where every other major player’s strengths and weaknesses are skillfully addressed, this aberration about Bruce Ismay is glaring.

aside from this moment I can highly recommend this book. I think it is particularly suited to people like me, who know a fair amount about Titanic, but not so much about the ocean liner industry that spawned it.

if you are interested in more details, my full review of the book is available here:

http://titanicbooksite.com/other%20books/fox_stephen.html

all the best, Michael (TheManInBlack) T
 
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