12 Great Reads on Trans-Atlantic Travel

Sun, 08/28/2016 - 1:37pm -- lwhite

The late nineteenth and early twentieth century was the golden age of transatlantic travel. With the onset of the steam powered engine, these ships would become larger and faster eventually leading to the construction of the luxary liners, such as the Queen Mary, and the Normandie. Find out more about this fascinating age by checking out one of the books below!



    Transatlantic: Samuel Cunard, Isambard Brunel, and the Great Atlantic Steamships by Stephan Fox

     During the nineteenth century, the roughest but most important ocean passage in the world lay between Britain and the United States. Bridging the Atlantic Ocean by steamship was a defining, remarkable feat of the era. Over time, Atlantic steamships became the largest, most complex machines yet devised. They created a new transatlantic world of commerce and travel, reconciling former Anglo-American enemies and bringing millions of emigrants who transformed the United States.







    Grand Luxe: the Transatlantic Style by John Malcolm Brinnin & Kenneth Gaulin

   This book is a museum between covers tracing the development of the ocean greyhounds of the nineteenth century and floating palaces of the twentieth.  Grand Luxe shows in a hundred ways how a modest demand for comfort at sea turned into an appetite for luxury without limit.







    Food at Sea: Shipboard Cuisine From Ancient to Modern Times by Simon Spalding

    Food at Sea traces the preservation, preparation, and consumption of food at sea, over a period of several thousand years, and in a variety of cultures. The book traces the development of cooking aboard in ancient and medieval times, through the development of seafaring traditions of storing and preparing food on the worlds seas and oceans. Following a largely chronological format, Simon Spalding shows how the raw materials, cooking and eating equipment, and methods of preparation of seafarers have both reflected the shore side practices of their cultures, and differed from them. The economies of whole countries have developed around foods that could survive long trips by sea, and new technologies have evolved to expand the available food choices at sea.           







     The Sway of the Grand Saloon:  a Social History of the North Atlantic by John Malcolm Brinnin

     The Glorious Age of passenger ships on the ocean has ended. Here, splendors and miseries together, is a whole marvelous story. It begins on a January morning in 1818 when, frosted with snow, a creaking little New York packet ship starts for Liverpool with Six passengers. It ends 150 years later on a September night when the mighty Queens Elizabeth and Mary blast valedictory salutes to one another and start for oblivion






     A Man and His Ship: America's Greatest Naval Architect and His Quest to Build the SS United States by Steven Ujifusa

     At the peak of his power, in the 1940’s and 1950’s, William Francis Gibbs was considered America’s best Naval Architect. His quest to build the finest, fastest, most beautiful ocean liner of his time, the S.S United States, was a topic of national fascination. When competed in 1952, the ship was hailed as a technological masterpiece at a time when “made in America” meant the best.







     Great passenger ships, 1920-1930 by William Miller

     Celebrating the majestic passenger liners of the twenties, Great Passenger Ships 1920-1930 looks at well- loved ships such as Majestic, Olympic, Berengaria, Viceroy of India, and Rawalpindi, alongside lesser known but still fascinating vessels. This series follows ships all over the world rather than just the famed Atlantic liners, with personal anecdotes of the ships and their voyages from passengers and crew alike. 






    The American Line 1871-1902 by William Henry Flayhart III

    The American Line tells the story of the first successful American steamship line after the Civil War to rival the great European transatlantic companies- an important and glorious chapter in the history of the American Merchant Marine.

     Mauretania, Ile de France, Bremen, Queen Mary. The very names evoke an era of glamour and excitement od  bon voyage parties, promenades around the deck, lazy afternoon dozing in the sun or playing shuffle board, the elegant evenings dancing in the grand saloon. It was the era cut short by modern mass jet transport, when the Atlantic was measured in days, not hours, and when getting there as indeed half the fun. It was an era when the Atlantic crossing was made by everybody who was anybody and by a lot of people who weren’t. It was also the era where millions of emigrants who voyaged across the Atlantic to change two continents forever. 
          Ships of the World by Lincoln Paine                                                 
        You don't have to be a maritime history buff--or even a sailor--to find Lincoln Paine's Ships of the World fascinating. Certainly no scholar or student of the history of ships will want to be without it: it consists of more than 1,000 alphabetical entries describing individual ships' histories and fates. Yet because of the author's flair for language and the skill with which he has made his selections, the book is a browser's delight--almost a short-story collection. Look up an entry on any celebrated vessel--the Titanic, the Monitor, the Lusitania--and you'll find an admirably concise history of the boat and the events that made it famous. But browsing turns up countless unexpected pleasures, from the story of the Politician (a freighter that ran aground in the Outer Hebrides, where its cargo of Scotch was efficiently plundered by locals) to that of Jacques Cousteau's Calypso. The hundreds of well-chosen black-and-white illustrations help bring the tales alive. 
           When Luxury Went to Sea by Douglad Philip-Birt     

           In the late 1890s with the development if the North Atlantic passenger routes well under way, luxury liners began to appear in the leading merchant fleets- designed to satisfy the demands of aricher and predominantly American travelling public who believed that "how you travel is who you are".

 The Only Way to Cross by John Maxtone-Graham

    Though we call them luxury liners, they are more accurately described as express liners - splendid, glittering steamships connecting the old world and new across the North Atlantic. Long before jets (and jet lag), these floating superlatives thundered on bruising schedule across the world's most dangerous ocean. The Only Way to Cross transports readers to that bygone maritime era, when dozens of liners steamed in and out of New York, accommodating the rich on lavish upper decks and hordes of immigrants deep within their holds. For those in first class, comfort, luxury, and privilege were endemic. Armchair travelers will relish anecdotes about the famous and infamous, the rich and eccentric. Royalty, financial barons, con artists, crooked gamblers, and stowaways rub shoulders within these evocative pages. But all is not rarified glitz. Beneath paneled veneer lies reassuring steel. Maxtone-Graham documents not only the vessels' engineering and architectural marvels, but also the perilous storms and fogs as well as the lives of the liners' permanent inhabitants; we encounter stewards, sailors, stokers, and the gruff, austere warmth of their masters on the bridge. The pages are immeasurable enriched by 200 archival photographs.

     Liners to the Sun by John Maxtone-Graham               
  Maxtone-Graham focuses his sharp eye on cruising's timeless world. He recounts the delights of the luxury cruises of yesteryear- the Victoria Luise's 1913 voyage to the nearly completed Panama Canal and the fabled Normandie's 198 Rio cruise. He chronicles a mouth-watering crossing aboard today's sybaritic Sea Goddess, with its small, lavish cbins and its exquisite service and he anticipates voyages on the ships of tomorrow, which lie just over the horizon.