ME Other Non-Fiction

There are many books written about Merchant Ships during the World Wars and in Modern Times. This section lists some of them.

List View

Author :: Tad Fitch, J. Kent Layton & Bill Wormstedt
First Published by :: Amberley Publishing
Format :: HC
Date :: 22 March 2012
ISBN-10 :: 1848689276
ISBN-13 :: 9781848689275

In the early morning hours of Monday, April 15, 1912, the brand-new, supposedly unsinkable Titanic sank on her maiden voyage after ramming an iceberg. Of the 2,208 people on board, only 712 were saved. The remaining 1,496 either drowned or froze to death in the icy-cold waters of the North Atlantic. The disaster became the most infamous tragedy in maritime history. Yet a century after the liner's sinking, the history of the Titanic is still shrouded in misinformation and mystery.

The authors bring the tragedy to life through a thrilling narrative. They follow the ship's life from design and construction through to the maiden voyage, using rarely-seen accounts of the sinking from passengers of all classes and crew alike. They tell the dramatic stories of lives lost and people saved, of the rescue ship Carpathia and of the aftermath of the sinking. The narrative is supported through scholarly research, and hundreds of end notes cite original source material. Numerous appendices focus on some of the most controversial aspects of the disaster and presents rarely-considered evidence on the subjects.

The book also features an introduction by George Behe, a former Vice-President of the Titanic Historical Society. Profusely illustrated with over 300 images (50 in colour), including many rare and unique views of the ship, this is as accurate and gripping a telling of the story of the White Star Line's Titanic and her sinking as you will read anywhere.

On A Sea of Glass: The Life and Loss of the RMS Titanic

Author :: Tad Fitch & Michael Poirier
First Published by :: The History Press
Format :: PB
Date :: 1 February 2015
ISBN-10 :: 0752497111
ISBN-13 :: 9780752497112

A poignant look at the most vivid, dramatic transatlantic crossings of World War I.

As World War I loomed, the transatlantic passenger trade was at its peak, and as the enormity of the conflict grew, liners were conscripted into service. In an attempted blockade to cut off supplies, Germany began sinking Allied merchant vessels until by war's end just 351 U-boats sank more than 5,000 merchant ships, killing 15,000 sailors. This book recounts what it was like for both the military and civilians to experience a transatlantic voyage in a time of war and uncertainty, at risk from any number of dangers, including U-boats, mines, and enemy surface vessels. Attacks were frequent and tragedy all too common. This little-known chapter of the 20th century is explored here with engrossing narrative and a large quantity of rare and unpublished first-hand accounts, illustrations, and photographs.

Into the Danger Zone: Sea Crossings of the First World War

Author :: Erik Larson
First Published by :: Doubleday
Format :: HC
Date :: 12 March 2015
ISBN-10 :: 0857521810
ISBN-13 :: 9780857521811

On 1 May 1915, a luxury ocean liner as richly appointed as an English country house sailed out of New York, bound for Liverpool. The passengers - including a record number of children and infants - were anxious. Germany had declared the seas around Britain to be a war zone. For months, its submarines had brought terror to the North Atlantic.

But the Lusitania's captain, William Thomas Turner, had faith in the gentlemanly terms of warfare that had, for a century, kept civilian ships safe from attack. He also knew that his ship - the fastest then in service - could outrun any threat. But Germany was intent on changing the rules, and Walther Schwieger, the captain of Unterseeboot-20, was happy to oblige. Meanwhile, an ultra-secret British intelligence unit were tracking Schwieger's U-boat...but told no one. As U-20 and the Lusitania made their way towards Liverpool, forces both grand and achingly small - hubris, a chance fog, a closely-guarded secret and more - converged to produce one of the great disasters of 20th century history.

It is a story that many of us think we know but don't, and Erik Larson tells it thrillingly, switching between hunter and hunted. Full of glamour, mystery, and real-life suspense, Dead Wake brings to life a cast of evocative characters, including the US President Wilson, a man lost to grief, dreading the widening war but also captivated by the prospect of new love. Gripping and important, Dead Wake captures the sheer drama and emotional power of a disaster that helped place America on the road to war.

Dead Wake: The Last Crossing of the Lusitania

Author :: Peter Padfield
First Published by :: Hodder and Stoughton
Format :: HC
Date :: 1965
ISBN-10 :: 024610578X
ISBN-13 :: 9780246105783

‘The night was clear and the sea was smooth. When she first saw the rockets the Californian could have pushed through the ice to the open water... and so have come to the assistance of the Titanic. Had she done so she might have saved many if not all of the [more than 1,500] lives lost.’

This damning censure was handed down to Captain Lord of the Californian by the British Court of Inquiry into the loss of the Titanic. Lord was refused an appeal and was never charged under the Merchant Shipping Act for such a clear dereliction of duty, so never had an opportunity to defend himself.

This book, first published in 1965, two years after Lord’s death, was the first to question his censure. The evidence given in Court had convinced the author, Peter Padfield, that the Californian was never close enough to the Titanic to recognise her distress signals or attempt rescue. Twenty years later he was vindicated by the discovery of the wreck of the Titanic some 20 miles from the Californian’s logged position that night.

He remains convinced that the Inquiry was ‘rigged’ and Lord scapegoated to preserve the reputation of British liner companies and the responsible government department, the Board of Trade.

The Titanic and the Californian

Author :: Peter Padfield
First Published by :: Peter Davies
Format :: HC
Date :: 1959

The book opens with an account of a life-changing voyage Peter Padfield made in 1957 as a mariner in the replica 17th century bark, Mayflower II, to commemorate the Pilgrim Fathers voyage to America.

The narrative takes us from Brixham, Devon, where the ship was built, across the Atlantic to Plymouth, Massachusetts, where she is now preserved, and brings alive the wonderfully diverse group of officers and men selected by her captain, Alan Villiers. It is illustrated with sketches made during the voyage, the originals of which can be found on the author’s website.

Returning to the P&O line, Padfield next describes a conventional steamship voyage; but the Mayflower had spoilt him for 20th century sailoring. Leaving P&O, he worked his passage on a violently uncomfortable harbour tug to New Zealand; and the final chapters see him in the Solomon Islands in the Pacific taking part in the search for a missing government steamer, panning for gold in the hills and sailing round the islands hunting salt water crocodiles by night.

The Sea is a Magic Carpet

Taken for granted as the natural order of things, peace at sea is in fact an immense and recent achievement―but also an enormous strategic challenge if it is to be maintained in the future. In Maritime Strategy and Global Order, an international roster of top scholars offers historical perspectives and contemporary analysis to explore the role of naval power and maritime trade in creating the international system.

The book begins in the early days of the industrial revolution with the foundational role of maritime strategy in building the British Empire. It continues into the era of naval disorder surrounding the two world wars, through the passing of the Pax Britannica and the rise of the Pax Americana, and then examines present-day regional security in hot spots like the South China Sea and Arctic Ocean. Additional chapters engage with important related topics such as maritime law, resource competition, warship evolution since the end of the Cold War, and naval intelligence.

A first-of-its-kind collection, Maritime Strategy and Global Order offers scholars, practitioners, students, and others with an interest in maritime history and strategic issues an absorbing long view of the role of the sea in creating the world we know.

Maritime Strategy and Global Order: Markets, Resources, Security

© 2008-2017 David Hayes (Astrodene)