Ships of the World: An Historical Encyclopedia

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9780395715567: Ships of the World: An Historical Encyclopedia
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Ships have always played an important role in shaping human destiny, and this comprehensive and very readable encyclopedia covers more than one thousand of the world's best-known and most significant vessels of every size and type. Each ship is described in a vivid short essay that captures its personality as well as its physical characteristics, construction, and history, from the drawing board to the scrap yard or museum. Even fictional ships and boats, such as the African Queen, are included. Two hundred illustrations show the grandeur and grace of oceangoing vessels, maps help the reader follow the tracks of the great seafarers and naval campaigns, and time lines offer a chronological perspective on archaeological sites, naval warfare, technology, exploration, and disasters at sea. Ships of the World is not only an invaluable reference but fascinating reading for anyone who has the slightest interest in history or who simply likes messing about in boats, whether on the water or from a comfortable chair at home.

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Review:

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.

About the Author:

Lincoln P. Paine, formerly editor of Sea History magazine and director of the Schooners Foundation, is a member of the national advisory board of the American Sail Training Association. He lives by the sea with his wife, Allison, and two daughters, who bare the names of famous ships. He currently lives in Portland, Maine.

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