Historical Events & Topics

Maritime History Books

  • ARIJY
    Jonathan Mayo
    • £7.19
    • RRP £8.99
    • Save £1.80
    At 2.20am on 15th April 1912, the Titanic was plunging 12,000 feet to the ocean floor. Machinery, coal, crystal goblets, pianos and jewellery all tumble through the dark water. Hundreds of passengers and crew remain trapped below decks - hundreds more will perish on the surface. This is the definitive chronology of the Titanic's final hours, told in fascinating detail and offering a real-time experience of one of the greatest dramas of twentieth century history.
  • BMPBQ
    • £56.00
    • RRP £70.00
    • Save £14.00
    The Richard Perkins warship identification albums form one of the most detailed studies ever undertaken of the changes to the appearance of Royal Navy ships.As a result of collaboration with the National Maritime Museum, the publication of this monumental work in a superbly produced multi-volume edition that captures all thequalities of the original. Every page is reproduced at full size, making the extensive handwritten annotation readable, while the fine-line drawings retain all the colors thatPerkins used to denote appearance differences and alterations.The sixth volume of the series covers all submarines up to 1939, the diverse types of gunboat (from masted gun vessels through coastal `flat-irons' to river patrol craft), and sloops of various descriptions-small masted cruisers, convoy and minesweeping sloops of the Great War era, and interwar escort vessels.
  • ALVDK
    • £40.00
    • RRP £50.00
    • Save £10.00
    For most of the seventeenth century the Netherlands constituted the most important maritime power in the world, with by far the largest merchant fleet and a dominance in seaborne trade that other countries feared and envied. Born out of an 80-year struggle against Spain for independence, the Dutch republic relied on naval power to guarantee its freedom, promote its trade and defend its overseas colonies. The Dutch navy was crucial to its survival and success, yet the ships that made up its fleets are among the least studied of any in the age of sail. The reasons for this include a decentralised administration of five separate admiralties, often producing ships of the same name at the same time, the widespread co-opting of merchantmen into naval fleets, and competing systems of measuring ships, all of which leads to confusion and error. The most significant contribution of this book is to produce the first definitive listing of all Dutch fighting ships - whether purpose-built, purchased, hired or captured - from the heyday of the United Provinces, complete with technical details and summaries of their careers. It also provides an appreciation of the administrative, economic and technical background, and outlines the many campaigns fought by one of the most successful navies in history. With its unique depth of information, this is a work of the utmost importance to every naval historian and general reader interested in the navies of the sailing era.
  • AYQFU
    • £40.00
    • RRP £50.00
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    In the inter-war years Richard Perkins, a keen amateur photographer and avid collector, amassed one of the world's largest personal collections of warship negatives. This he eventually bequeathed to the National Maritime Museum, where it still forms the core of the historic photos naval section. While he was actively acquiring photos, he found that many were neither identified nor accurately dated, so he began to compile an album of his own drawings, which incorporated as much detail as possible on individual ships that could be amended as he discovered more information. His main concentration was on features differentiating ships of the same class and, wherever possible, precisely dating alterations to their appearance, all portrayed in exquisite multi-coloured annotated line drawings. This project grew into an enormous resource covering virtually every Royal Navy ship from 1860 to 1939, when security restrictions forced Perkins to stop work. This material was also donated to the NMM, where it was bound into eight large folio volumes that became a key reference for the curators of historic photos, but unknown and almost inaccessible to the interested public.This makes this first publication an event of the utmost importance for every enthusiast and ship modeller - it reproduces all the drawings at full size and in colour, and will eventually form a multi-volume set of unique reference value.
  • BOIPS
    William Frame
    • £32.00
    • RRP £40.00
    • Save £8.00
    This landmark book is published to coincide with a major exhibition marking the 250th anniversary of Cook's first voyage. A stunningly illustrated, object-centred history, this book offers a once in a generation opportunity to discover the uniquely rich Captain Cook collection of the British Library. The authors explore a series of themes including the navigation and charting of the Pacific; first encounters between Western and indigenous cultures; the representation of the voyages in art; and scientific discovery and the natural world. Themes of cultural encounter and scientific discovery are interwoven with the personal stories of the key protagonists, including James Cook and Joseph Banks. The illustrations include drawings by all the artists employed on the voyage, as well as the only surviving paintings by Tupaia, a Polynesian high priest who joined Cook's ship at Tahiti and sailed to New Zealand and Australia.
  • AIDAI
    Catherine Hofmann
    • £27.59
    • RRP £35.00
    • Save £7.41
    'Portolan charts', so called from the Italian adjective portolano, meaning 'related to ports or harbours', were born during the 12th century in the maritime community. These charts, drawn on parchment and crisscrossed with lines referring to the compass directions, indicated the succession of ports and anchorages along the shores, and were used by European sailors exploring the world up until the 18th century. Not only used as navigational instruments on boats, they were also produced for wealthy sponsors in the form of illuminated images of the world, to illustrate the economic and political interests of the major European sea powers. This book takes stock of the state of knowledge on these maps, bringing together contributions from a dozen European specialists, who trace the history and diversity of styles and places of production of these charts. This type of mapping is approached from three angles. The first part, 'The Mediterranean', refers to the manufacture and use of the first charts, centered on the Mediterranean, and the persistence of this tradition in the Mediterranean basin until the 18th century. The second part, 'The Open Sea', shows how these regional charts have evolved from a technical and iconographical point of view at the time of the great European voyages, in order to include the oceans and new worlds. The third part, 'The Indian Ocean', shows how these charts, in a maritime area where ancient civilizations coexisted, were dependent on other cartographic traditions (ancient, Arab, Asian) before joining the information reported by Portuguese sailors and European trading companies in the modern era.
  • AZJYN
    John Roberts
    • £28.00
    • RRP £35.00
    • Save £7.00
    The brainchild of Admiral Sir John Fisher, battlecruisers combined heavy guns and high speed in the largest hulls of their era. Conceived as 'super-cruisers' to hunt down and destroy commerce raiders, their size and gun-power led to their inclusion in the battlefleet as a fast squadron of capital ships. This book traces in detail the development of Fisher's original idea into first battlecruiser Invincible of 1908, through to the 'Splendid Cats' of the Lion class, and culminating in HMS Hood in 1920, the largest warship in the world for the next twenty years. The origins of the unusual 'light battlecruisers' of the Courageous type are also covered. The well-publicised problems of British battlecruisers are examined, including the latest research throwing light on the catastrophic loss of three of the ships at the Battle of Jutland. The developmental history is backed by chapters covering machinery, armament and armour, with a full listing of important technical data. The comprehensive collection of illustrations includes the author's superb drawings and original Admiralty plans reproduced in full colour.This revised and updated edition of the classic work first published in 1997 will be welcomed by anyone with an interest in the most charismatic and controversial warships of the dreadnought era.
  • BHZJL
    John Jordan
    • £28.00
    • RRP £35.00
    • Save £7.00
    The battleships of the Dunkerque and Richelieu classes were the most radical and influential designs of the interwar period, and were coveted by the British, the Germans and the Italians following the Armistice of June 1940. After an extensive refit in the USA, Richelieu went on to serve alongside the Royal Navy during 1943-45.Using a wealth of primary-source material, some of which has only recently been made available, John Jordan and Robert Dumas have embarked on a completely new study of these important and technically interesting ships. A full account of their development is followed by a detailed analysis of their design characteristics, profusely illustrated by inboard profiles and schematic drawings. The technical chapters are interspersed with operational histories of the ships, with a particular focus on the operations in which they engaged other heavy units: Mers el-Kebir, Dakar and Casablanca. These accounts include a detailed analysis of their performance in action and the damage sustained, and are supported by specially-drawn maps and by the logs of Strasbourg and Richelieu. Twenty-two colour profile and plan views illustrate the ships' appearance at the various stages of their careers.
  • AHNGC
    Aaron Saunders
    • £24.00
    • RRP £30.00
    • Save £6.00
    The cruise ship market is a 30 billion-dollar industry, and in 2013 it is estimated that it will carry more than 20 million passengers; nor is there any sign of a slow down in the seven percent annual growth. What keeps the passengers coming in such huge numbers isn't the food, the ports or the entertainment. They come for the magnificent floating palaces themselves, the giants of the sea. In this new book, the author showcases the most influential cruise ships of the last three decades beginning with Royal Caribbean's ground-breaking Sovereign of the Seas. When she was launched in 1988 she was the largest passenger ship constructed since Cunard's Queen Mary entered service some 48 years earlier, and her entry into service sparked a fiercely competitive building boom that continues to this day. The reader is taken aboard thirty of the most spectacular ships to reveal how their innovative designs changed the landscape of modern cruising. By employing original and archival photographs, deck plans, cruise programmes, as well as the author's intimate knowledge of many of these vessels, a unique picture is built up of these great ships and it becomes clear that the true Golden Age of Cruising is not in some distant past but exists right now, and that its origins can be traced back to one ship, launched in 1988. A truly sumptuous and fascinating book for all those drawn to the world of the modern cruise ship.
  • AHLSL
    Andy Peters
    • £24.00
    • RRP £30.00
    • Save £6.00
    This book is a detailed comparative study of the decorative work - figurehead, topside ornamentation and stern gallery design - carried by the ships of the major maritime states of Europe in the zenith of the sailing era. It covers both warships and the most prestigious merchant ships, the East Indiamen of the great chartered companies. The work began life in the year 2000 when the author was commissioned to carry out research for an ambitious project to build a full-size replica of a Swedish East Indiaman, which produced a corpus of information whose relevance stretched way beyond the immediate requirements of accurately decorating the replica. In tracking the artistic influences on European ship decoration, it became clear that this was essentially the story of the baroque style, its dissemination from France, and its gradual transformation into distinct national variations in Britain, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden. It is an inherently visual subject and the book illustrates developments with numerous photographs of contemporary ship models, paintings and plans, as well as the author's own interpretive illustrations of details. As the first major work on the topic for nearly a century, it will be of obvious appeal to ship modellers and historians, but with comparative examples drawn from architecture and sculpture, it also makes a broader contribution to the history of the applied arts.
  • BGXYD
    J. David Davies
    • £24.00
    • RRP £30.00
    • Save £6.00
    It has always been widely accepted that the Stuart kings, Charles II and James II, had an interest in the navy and more generally in the sea. Their enthusiastic delight in sailing, for instance, is often cited as marking the establishment of yachting in England. The major naval developments in their reigns on the other hand developments that effectively turned the Royal Navy into a permanent, professional fighting force for the first time have traditionally been attributed to Samuel Pepys. This new book, based on a wide range of new and previously neglected evidence, presents a provocative new theory: that the creation of the proper Royal Navy was in fact due principally to the Stuart brothers, particularly Charles II, who is presented here, not as the lazy monarch neglectful of the detail of government, but as a king with an acute and detailed interest in naval affairs. The author also demonstrates that Charles Stuart predecessors were far more directly involved in naval matters than has usually been allowed, and proves that Charles and James command of ship design and other technical matters went well beyond the bounds of dilettante enthusiasm. It is shown how Charles in particular, intervened in ship design discussions at a highly technical level; how the brothers were principally responsible for the major reforms that established a permanent naval profession; and how they personally sponsored important expeditions and projects such as Greenvile Collins survey of British waters. The book also reassesses James II s record as a fighting admiral. It is a fascinating journey into the world of the Stuart navy and shows how the Kings of the Sea were absolutely central to the development of its ships, their deployment and the officer corps which commanded them; it offers a major reassessment of that dynasty s involvement in naval warfare.
  • BMRCS
    Peter Newall
    • £24.00
    • RRP £30.00
    • Save £6.00
    The growth of the ocean liner was driven not only by political and social changes, and developments in marine technology and design but also by increased competition as new companies were established to meet the demands of travellers. Most liner books tend to be focussed on the transatlantic routes whereas the main aim of this book is to tell the story of the whole global development of the ocean liner. The means that not only are the well-known vessels featured but also many lesser known routes and ships. The story starts in the ninetheenth century with the greatest migration ever seen. Communications around the world were also rapidly improving with the introduction of railways, the opening of the Suez Canal, a universal postal system and, most importantly, the laying of undersea telegraph cables. Tourism as we know it took off in the 1870s and 1880s. This was also a time of colonial expansion which would see Britain and other countries establishing empires around the world. To meet the demand, passenger ships became increasingly important with great advances being made not only in ship design but also marine engineering. These technological innovations soon included the introduction not only of the turbine but also diesel engines. Ocean liners also became statements of national pride and artistic achievements. The story concludes in the 1960s when, despite increasing numbers of travellers choosing to fly rather than travel by sea, a final flurry of liners were built, many of which had shorter lives than planned. The unique text is supported by over 250 carefully chosen photographs, many of which have never been seen before. A truly unique and evocative book for merchant ship enthusiasts and historians.
  • AWQUE
    Martin Gibson
    • £23.96
    • RRP £29.95
    • Save £5.99
    The First World War showed the vital importance of oil. Use of oil fuelled aircraft, tanks, motor vehicles and especially warships increased greatly during the war. The war made it clear that major powers had to have secure oil supplies. Britain and its allies found themselves in an oil crisis in 1917. It was overcome, with difficulty, and the Allies' greater oil resources, mostly supplied by the USA, contributed to their victory. The situation was, however, been tight and it was not certain that the USA would be willing or able to provide such large quantities in a future conflict. It might not be friendly and there were fears that its oil production would soon peak. These proved to be wrong, but they influenced policy makers, including US ones, at the time. The most obvious place to obtain oil supplies was the Mosul province of the Ottoman Empire. Britain had several reasons to want the League of Nations mandate over Iraq, but oil was the main reason why it wanted Mosul to be part of Iraq. France, Italy and the USA were all also interested in Mosul's oil. The Sykes-Picot Agreement, signed before the need for oil became apparent, had put only about half of Mosul in the British zone. Britain successfully argued at the series of post war peace and inter-Allied conferences that it should have the mandate over an Iraq that included all of Mosul. Britain made several attempts to form a large, British controlled oil company, but it was impossible to create a scheme that suited all parties or that guaranteed that the company would act in the national interest. A realisation that control of oil bearing territory was more important than the nationality of companies allowed the British to give French and US companies a stake in Mosul's oil. This helped to improve relations between Britain and these two countries. The Italians, who had little to offer in return, did not get a stake in Mosul's oil.Oil did not cause the First World War, but the war showed Britain and other major powers that they needed secure oil supplies. As Mosul was the obvious place to obtain them, this quest for oil helped shape the post war Middle East.
  • BGZZR
    Peter King
    • £19.89
    • RRP £25.00
    • Save £5.11
    Founded in 1825 by the 21-year-old George Thompson Jnr, the Aberdeen Line developed over 100 years into one of the best-respected shipping lines in Britain. Initially traversing the short sea, Atlantic, South American, Far Eastern and Antipodean trade routes before settling to become the longest serving line on the Australian trade, the Aberdeen name navigated commercial take overs by the Oceanic Steam Navigation Company, Shaw Savill and Albion, Lord Kylsant's Royal Mail Group and Furness Withy, before becoming all but forgotten when it finally furling its sails in 1957. Here Peter H King seeks to bring this once prominent shipping line's history to light once more for the enjoyment of shipping enthusiasts and maritime historians everywhere.
  • BLONB
    Stefan Draminski
    • £20.40
    • RRP £25.50
    • Save £5.10
    The vessel, which was to become the most famous Japanese aircraft carrier and the symbol of the might of the Imperial Japanese Navy aviation was initially built as a battlecruiser. Only as the result of the resolutions of the Washington Naval Treaty the Akagi ("Red Castle", the name of a Japanese mountain) was completed as an aircraft carrier. During the first half-year of the war in the Pacific she was the flagship of the carrier strike group marching from one victory to another. The reversal took place during the battle of Midway, when a hit by a single bomb in a fatal moment sealed her fate.
  • BLOMZ
    Carlo Cestra
    • £20.40
    • RRP £25.50
    • Save £5.10
    Scire was an Italian Adua-class submarine, which served during World War II in the Regia Marina (the Italian Navy). She was named after the Ethiopian region, where there was a battle between the Italian and Abyssinian troops during the war in Ethiopia in 1936. She was laid down by the Italian shipbuilder "Odero-Terni-Orlando (OTO)", in La Spezia, on January 30, 1937. She was launched on January 6, 1938 and was commissioned into "Regia Marina" on April 25, 1938. During the war, she was modified to carry three mini submarines (SLCs). Actually she is one of the most famous submarines in the world due to the missions to Gibraltar and Alexandria.
  • AOIEU
    Lincoln P. Paine
    • £19.99
    • RRP £25.00
    • Save £5.01
    "A monumental, wholly accessible work of scholarship that retells human history through the story of mankind's relationship with the sea. An accomplishment of both great sweep and illuminating detail, The Sea and Civilization is a stunning work of history that reveals in breathtaking depth how people first came into contact with one another by ocean and river, and how goods, languages, religions, and entire cultures spread across and along the world's waterways. Lincoln Paine takes us back to the origins of long-distance migration by sea with our ancestors' first forays from Africa and Eurasia to Australia and the Americas. He demonstrates the critical role of maritime trade to the civilizations of ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, and the Indus Valley. He reacquaints us with the great seafaring cultures of antiquity like those of the Phoenicians and Greeks, as well as those of India, Southeast and East Asia who parlayed their navigational skills, shipbuilding techniques, and commercial acumen to establish vibrant overseas colonies and trade routes in the centuries leading up to the age of European overseas expansion. His narrative traces subsequent developments in commercial and naval shipping through the post-Cold War era. Above all, Paine makes clear how the rise and fall of civilizations can be traced to the sea."
  • AZTPW
    Brian Izzard
    • £20.00
    • RRP £25.00
    • Save £5.00
    The attack on the British frigate Amethyst on the Yangtze River by Chinese Communists in 1949 made world headlines. There was even more publicity when the ship made a dramatic escape after being trapped for 101 days. Eulogised by the British as an example of outstanding courage and fortitude, the 'Yangtze Incident' was even made into a feature film, which depicted the ship and her crew as innocent victims of Communist aggression. The truth was more complex, and so sensitive that the government intended that the files should be closed until 2030. However, these have now been released and in making use of these documents this book is the first to tell the full story. What emerges is an intriguing tale of intelligence failure, military over-confidence and a hero with feet of clay - it is by no means as heroic as the well-publicised official version, but every bit as entertaining. While the reputations of diplomatic and naval top brass take a knock, the bravery and ingenuity of those actively involved shines even more brightly. Written with verve and including much new and surprising information, this book is both enjoyable and informative.
  • AZVSO
    Brian Izzard
    • £20.00
    • RRP £25.00
    • Save £5.00
    The attack on the British frigate Amethyst on the Yangtze River by Chinese Communists in 1949 made world headlines. There was even more publicity when the ship made a dramatic escape after being trapped for 101 days. Eulogised by the British as an example of outstanding courage and fortitude, the 'Yangtze Incident' was even made into a feature film, which depicted the ship and her crew as innocent victims of Communist aggression. The truth was more complex, and so sensitive that the government intended that the files should be closed until 2030. However, these have now been released and in making use of these documents this book is the first to tell the full story. What emerges is an intriguing tale of intelligence failure, military over-confidence and a hero with feet of clay - it is by no means as heroic as the well-publicised official version, but every bit as entertaining. While the reputations of diplomatic and naval top brass take a knock, the bravery and ingenuity of those actively involved shines even more brightly. Written with verve and including much new and surprising information, this book is both enjoyable and informative.
  • AZJYI
    • £20.00
    • RRP £25.00
    • Save £5.00
    The influence of the Royal Navy on the development of British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest was both extensive and effective. Yet all too frequently, its impact has been ignored by historians, who instead focus on the influence of explorers, fur traders, settlers, and railway builders. In this thoroughly revised and expanded edition of his classic 1972 work, naval historian Barry Gough examines the contest for the Columbia country during the War of 1812, the 1844 British response to the aggressive American agenda of President Polk's Manifest Destiny and cries of 'Fifty-four forty or fight', the gold-rush invasion of 30,000 outsiders, and the jurisdictional dispute in the San Juan Islands that spawned the so-called Pig War. The author also looks at the Esquimalt-based fleet in the decade before British Columbia joined Canada and the Navy's relationship with coastal indigenous peoples over the five decades that preceded the Great War. '[Gough's] research...has been thorough, his presentation is scholarly, and his case fully sustained.' -The Times Literary Supplement.
  • BGXXA
    Nick Robins
    • £20.00
    • RRP £25.00
    • Save £5.00
    In both World Wars there arose a pressing need for merchant tonnage both to supplement existing ships but, more importantly, to replace ships that had been sunk by enemy action, and the key to the Allied strategy in both wars was a massive programme of merchant shipbuilding. This need gave rise to a series of standard designs with increasing emphasis on prefabrication and a progression towards welded hulls. This new book tells the remarkable story of the design and construction of the many types that not only contributed to their country s war efforts, but were also responsible for a cultural change in world shipbuilding that would lay the foundations for the post-war industry. The story begins in the First World War with the National type cargo ships which were the first examples of prefabricated construction. The best known of all types of wartime standard ships, of course, were the Liberty ships and their successor, the better equipped Victory ships, both built in the United States. Some 2,700 Liberty ships were built and this incredible achievement undoubtedly saved the Allies from losing the War. In Canada, the Ocean and Park ships made a further major contribution. Germany and Japan also introduced standard merchant shipbuilding programmes during the Second World War and these are covered in detail. The many different types and designs are all reviewed and their roles explained, while the design criteria, innovative building techniques and the human element of their successful operation is covered. Some of the story has been told piecemeal in a range of diverse books and articles, a few with extensive fleet lists. However, the complete history of the twentieth century wartime-built standard merchant ship has not previously been written, so this new volume recording that history within its appropriate technical, political and military background will be hugely welcomed.
  • BGZFV
    George Behe
    • £20.00
    • RRP £25.00
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    In this moving book, Titanic's passengers and crewmen are permitted to tell the story of that lamentable disaster entirely in their own words. Included are letters, postcards, diary entries and memoirs that were written before, during and immediately after the maiden voyage itself. Many of the pre-sailing documents were composed by people who later lost their lives in the sinking and represent their last communications with their friends and loved ones at home. The subsequent letters and postcards give an unparalleled description of the events that occurred during the five days that Titanic was at sea, and the correspondence by survivors after the tragedy describes the horror of the disaster itself and the heartbreak they experienced at the loss of those they loved. This poignant compilation, by Titanic expert George Behe, also contains brief biographies of the passengers and crewmen - victims, as well as survivors - who wrote the documents in question.
  • BNZIV
    Dag Pike
    • £20.00
    • RRP £25.00
    • Save £5.00
    The Atlantic Ocean has been and remains an often deadly challenge to mankind. This delightful and informative book chronicles the history of attempt to cross its hostile surface from the early days of sail to the most recent record breaking attempts in small ultra-fast craft. In between there have been fascinating sagas connected to pioneering discovery, the slave trade, mass emigration, the glamour and luxury of the famous shipping lines and war. The Atlantic has often been the testing ground for the latest technology and design. All this and more, such as navigation techniques and advance weather forecasting are covered. Despite mans best and most ingenious efforts all too often the Worlds toughest ocean comes out on top and, while it is today a major trade route, it remains one of the most daunting maritime challenges.
  • BOIGU
    William Frame
    • £20.00
    • RRP £25.00
    • Save £5.00
    This landmark book is published to coincide with a major exhibition marking the 250th anniversary of Cook's first voyage. A stunningly illustrated, object-centred history, this book offers a once in a generation opportunity to discover the uniquely rich Captain Cook collection of the British Library. The authors explore a series of themes including the navigation and charting of the Pacific; first encounters between Western and indigenous cultures; the representation of the voyages in art; and scientific discovery and the natural world. Themes of cultural encounter and scientific discovery are interwoven with the personal stories of the key protagonists, including James Cook and Joseph Banks. The illustrations include drawings by all the the artists employed on the voyage, as well as the only surviving paintings by Tupaia, a Polynesian high priest who joined Cook's ship at Tahiti and sailed to New Zealand and Australia.