The Only Way To Cross
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The Only Way To Cross

4.38 of 5 stars 4.38  ·  rating details  ·  69 ratings  ·  11 reviews
This painstakingly researched volume chronicles the age of luxury transatlantic travel and the splendid, glittering steamships that thundered across the world's most dangerous ocean ferrying the world's wealthiest and most prominent passengers, from Mary Pickford and Sally Rand to Edward, Prince of Wales, between the U.S. and Europe during the first half of the century.
Hardcover, 434 pages
Published January 1st 1997 by Barnes & Noble
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Eric_W
The heyday for ocean liners was the period just prior to WW I. The ships grew in size and luxury. Emigration paid the way. The peak year, 1907, witnessed the departure from Europe of 1,300,000 new emigrants to the United States. Most traveled third class, steerage, in dormitory style bunks, with adequate food.

It was abuse of emigration that abetted its demise. The steamship lines tried all sorts of ways to persuade people to ship out on their ships. Their agents would often pay bureaucrats to...more
Mike Prochot
Extremely well written, filled with exhaustive detail and personal accounts. A broad but complete overview of the history of passenger travel on the Atlantic between Europe and America with an emphasis on the "Golden Era" of the great steamships.

Anyone who is interested in what it was like to book passage on one of the great liners should enjoy this.

Much technical information on the ships themselves and interesting insight to the workings of the passenger comfort aspects of the ships.

While I...more
Thomas
John Maxtone-Graham is an eminent authority on the history of passenger ships. This book, while certainly not new, gives a thoroughly lively and enjoyable account of the history of the great ships of the North Atlantic from the 1820s to 1971. If you are at all interested in the history of transport, this is a good one for you. The author does not bore the reader with endless statistics or technical details, yet the fundamentals of construction which made these great ships the marvel of their age...more
Elizabeth
Oct 29, 2010 Elizabeth marked it as to-read
Shelves: wishlist
I always imagined that it would be fun to travel on an ocean liner during their heyday--although not the Titanic. (Interestingly enough, my maternal great-great grandmother was slated to travel on that il-fated ship with her dear Colorado friend and partner in crime, Annie Oakley. After visiting the pope in Italy, great-great grams had a premonition and decided not to board the ship.)

Anyway, thank goodness for that, otherwise I wouldn't be around to imagine boarding a luxury liner with a whole b...more
Pat
A magnificent tome that takes a long and wonderful voyage through maritime history, "the Only Way To Cross" is a MUST read for those learning about the North Atlantic Ferry. Mr. Maxtone-Graham has you spellbound throughout this voyage, introducing ships and their inhabitants and leaving you as if they had always been part of your life.

At the end of this book, you yearn for more-something he delivers in other fine books-but that's for another review!

NB: I'm a long-time Mariner, and found many tha...more
Liam O'Shiel
Incredibly detailed and well-written saga of the great liners from the mid 19th to the mid 20th century. Though written in the 1970s, it has never been bettered, especially since the author crossed many times on the last generation of great ships. Imagine these titans like the United States cleaving the ocean at over 40 mph. They served throughout WWII as troop carries and not one was sunk. They were just too fast for the U-boats. Apparently each nation had its fortes, but the author tips his ha...more
Carrie
Avoided reading this for quite awhile mostly because its giant form factor didn't lend well to portability. Perhaps that's appropriate for a book about the leviathans of the Atlantic ocean, mostly focused on the earlier half of the last century.

It was a really enjoyable read, except where it delved a bit too deep into the technical. I suppose some people are interested in that, but there were points where I was like, "really, another page about coal?" All in all though a book that captures both...more
Tom Blumer


Having crossed the Atlantic too many times by plane to count, I wanted to better understand what it was like to cross during the age of the luxury ocean liner. The author does a good job of relating both the technical and social aspects of this journey. Although he sometimes wanders around in his narrative,the overall story is quite interesting. This is not a current book, so none of super ships that ply the Caribbean are discussed.
Daniel
I first read this book when it was published back in 1972. It was a Christmas gift from my father and certainly one of the best gifts I have ever received. I discovered the world of the atlantic ferry: the shipbuilders, the financiers, the social classes, the dreams of nations, the architectural achievements, the technology...It is considered a classic in every sense of the term. I have reread it a couple of times. A great book.
Ralph
A very good description of cruise ships evolution from truly luxury liners to (not up to today's version of cruise ships) their decline as preferred means of trans-Atlantic crossing. Lots of pictures, detailed accounts of amenities, etc.
Zach Majors
Loved it! Brought back my two crossings on the S.S. France
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John Maxtone-Graham has written numerous works, including The Only Way to Cross—“the bible of the ship buffs"—Normandie, and France/Norway. He spends six months lecturing aboard ships. Ashore, he lives in New York City.
More about John Maxtone-Graham...
Titanic Tragedy: A New Look at the Lost Liner Liners to the Sun Normandie: France's Legendary Art Deco Ocean Liner Safe Return Doubtful The Heroic Age Of Polar Exploration Queen Mary 2: The Greatest Ocean Liner of Our Time

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