The title of this book is clear enough. It is not limited to cruise liners, ships above a certain tonnage or restricted by dates. This is called A Dictionary of Passenger Ship Disasters and I purchased the book in the full expectation of finding some reference to two ships in which I was particularly interested. With all ships listed alphabetically by name, the book has no Index. It was not until I had almost finished the work, therefore, that I then discovered Appendix 1 which lists all ships under 2,500 grt - and there were my ships, although with virtually no detail at all.
I purchase books like this in order to find additional information about specific shipwrecks I happen to be researching at the time. Right now the theme is passenger ships and I am seeking information which is not readily available.
Having purchased the book, I started to read the entries which amount to a collection of hundreds of short stories (very short stories). Because of the way in which the ships are listed, on one occasion I went from a disaster which occurred in 1929, to another which took place in 1898 and then on to one which was as recent as 2005. Of course, I am not able to determine the authenticity of all the entries. I am only knowledgeable about those vessels I have studied - most of which provide the world's scuba divers with some outstanding shipwrecks to visit.
Naturally, I did pay a little more attention to those with which I was familiar only to be very disappointed to find some very basic spelling and other mistakes. If those are typical of the whole book, then there really are far too many. That said, they were all minor and are probably irrelevant to most readers. In short, they will not spoil the book for anyone - be their interest amateur or professional.
Nevertheless, there are other reasons for including an Index apart from finding the names of ships which, as I say, is unnecessary in this case because all vessels are listed alphabetically and are, therefore, easily found. Those with an interest in the subject might possibly search for all those vessels belonging to a particular company or lost in a certain period or in a particular region or during a certain war. Without such an Index there is no short cut to finding whatever information you are seeking - short of reading every word and making notes.
Plenty of black and white photographs which, although small are all good quality. Altogether, therefore, a very good book which might easily have been rated 5 Star were it not for those shortcomings.
I primarily wanted this book to help with some research into the Merchant Navy War Memorial in London at Tower Hill although its comprehensive coverage of the subject soon had me reading it cover to cover.
There is a brief description of each listed ship along with a couple of paragraphs on its loss and, for the majority, a photograph or painting all in black & white. Some have pictures showing them in service as well as when foundering.
Definitely a standard reference work to dip into every so often.