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

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  56 ratings  ·  16 reviews
A stirring narrative of the rapid development of the great transatlantic steamships, from paddle-wheelers to the sleek luxury greyhounds of the modern era -- and the men who designed and ran them.
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,
Hardcover, 512 pages
Published July 1st 2003 by Harper
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Average rating 4.23  · 
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 ·  56 ratings  ·  16 reviews

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Jeffrey Thiessen
Jul 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I can't believe I haven't read this book before now. Totally enjoyable and readable, Stephen Fox chronicles the dawn of transatlantic steam travel in the 19th century, the companies and men who built the ships and the rise of the technology that made it possible.
Rachel Parham
Dense. That is the word that comes to mind now that I have finished Stephen Fox's tome on the history of transatlantic shipping. And I don't mean dense as in stupid. I mean dense as in packed, stuffed, chock full of incredible information and astute detail.

It is the thoroughness in this detail that makes this book an incredible reference source. And a must-have on the shelves of anyone interested in the history of transatlantic ocean liners. I know I personally will consult this book
Aug 09, 2010 rated it really liked it
It's a pretty good history of the development of the transatlantic steamships from the mid-19th century to around 1910.

Let me get my rating out of the way: 4 out of 5 stars. Good, now I can nitpick. What happened after 1910? Why end the story there? When did airplane supplant steamships as the best way to cross the Atlantic? What were the social and political impacts of the reduced time for transatlantic crossing? (Fox does have one chapter on that topic, but I find that more intrigu
Nov 21, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
fascinating topic
Oct 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Indeed Stephen Fox has completely written a great book on the history of Transatlantic steamship travel from roughly the mid 19th century through 1910. I picked up this book for a mere .21 plus postage on Amazon and found it to be a surprisingly shiny gem. It's hard to add to what my fellow reviewers have written below, other then I completely agree with them. This is a dense book, packed with facts, figures, and exciting stories. And yes, we unfortunately no longer have these grand Victorian li ...more
Richard Jespers
Dec 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Richard by: Publisher's Weekly
Stephen Fox tells the story of steamship travel on the Atlantic Ocean, 1850-1915. Very interesting, particularly Fox's vivid descriptions of the horrible conditions people tolerated to cross the ocean on a steamer:

"The second phase of the voyage began when the ship stopped hugging the shore and steamed out to sea . . . in the main saloon, waiters set out the table guards: strips of wood three inches high arranged around the edges and across each place setting, to keep plates and glasses fr/>
Mar 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed Stephen Fox's recreations of some of the human side of what could've been another hull listing chronology.
I was interested in how new fields of technology got established, such as the Naval Architects Institute. It must have been daunting to work in a highly technical field in the early days of steam engines and yet, be considered a "clever" machinist.
NOTE: I am currently rereading this to review the class system at play during the 1880's thru the 1890's, since my mother's famil
Mike Prochot
Mar 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
We take much for granted when we board a ship for a vacation cruise. This book takes you through the age of the steamship from it's beginnings to the glory years of oceanic travel. The cutthroat business end shows through but does nothing to tarnish the romance of the days when crossing the Atlantic in a luxury liner was the dream of a lifetime.

You get a great range of perspective from the ship owner, builder, first class pasenger and ship steward to the bloke booking a run in steerage. Very in
William Barr
Oct 27, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Terrific, ticks all the boxes for me, history, transport, engineering etc.
Well written and exhaustively researched held my attention almost all the way through except for some of chapter 14, Anglo-Americans, which induced a hint of mild tedium, only a hint mind you.
Why do publishers give a book one name in the USA and another in the UK? Transatlantic should have sufficed for all editions in English but instead we have The Ocean Railway in the UK, perhaps it is a nod to Brunel and his
May 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
A more precise but less catchy title: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Steam Travel Across the Atlantic but Didn't Know You Wanted to Ask. Very well written; you may find yourself regaling your friends with steamship trivia they never asked for. Lots of good information on well-known figures such as Cunard and Brunel, but without neglecting lesser-known inventors. However, seems overfond of describing shipwrecks in detail.
Stephen Bishop
May 20, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Absorbing narrative of an age now long gone when trans-Atlantic passenger ships were once the fashionable way to travel. The dangers of this transport, particularly in the pre and early steamship era are graphically set out showing that the Titanic disaster (which is only mentioned in passing) was actually only one of many loses. This book provides informed coverage of an aspect of modern history which is generally neglected.
Jun 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
Enjoyable read about the development and challenges of early steamboat travel. The Titanic tragedy was only the tip of the iceberg in terms of shipwrecks and fatalities during the first 100 years of steamship travel. Sadly, the bottom of the North Atlantic is littered with the remains of tens of thousands who perished along their voyage.
Jan 05, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful. Really captures the perils, adventures, and joy of transatlantic travel. I could picture myself in the early 20th century(part of the period the book is about).

I realized that some aspects of transatlantic travel haven't changed at all
Becca Murray
Nov 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book has been really interesting and an excellent read. My only complaint is that the authors views has a tendency to color his writing but overall an excellent read if you are interested in this topic.
Jul 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
An absorbing story which has taught me a lot about a subject I thought i knew reasonably well. A great read for anyone remotely interested in 19th century engineering and the rapid pace of change.
Jan 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
very interesting, full of facts and historical clues as to what the gold age of ocean going was. gripping!
Giulia Torre
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