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Crossing and Cruising: Passenger Ships Then and Now, from Ocean Liners "Normandie" and "Aquatania" to Cruise Ships "Sovereign of the Seas" and "Seabourn Pride" Hardcover – 1 Sep 1992

1.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Australia; 1st Edition edition (1 Sept. 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0684191547
  • ISBN-13: 978-0684191546
  • Product Dimensions: 3.2 x 16.5 x 25.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 1.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,592,628 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Synopsis

A portrait of nineteenth and twentieth century ocean liners examines passenger life on early twentieth century steamers, the adventures of liners during both World Wars, and the marvels of the newest ships.

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By Ned Middleton HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 30 Jun. 2014
Format: Hardcover
As a shipwreck historian (it’s what I do) I study ships of all types and sizes. Currently engaged on a huge project involving the history of passenger-ships, my never-ending quest for information in recent years has favoured that particular genre. Although published in 1992, I came to this work because of the sub-title which reads; “From the golden era of ocean liners to the luxury cruise ships of today” in the expectation of finding an historical treatise on the subject. It is no such thing.

This is the third work by Maxtone-Graham to cross my desk recently and each of these informs the reader he is the quintessential expert, the fount of all knowledge, the very sage itself - when it comes to the subject of big passenger-ships. Instead of learning anything of real value, however, his writing might easily be described as the perfunctory outpourings of those back-room people who are paid to produce promotional literature. The sort of people who are employed to make a company look good, make defeat look like a victory and annihilation like a temporary setback. In this particular book, we are subjected to a no-holds-barred view through the rosiest of tinted spectacles of how good cruising is and nothing else.

Whereas he does occasionally mention yesterday, he does so in a style which does not seek to teach the reader of the historical context or of the technology of the day. Instead it centres on the hardships and privations of the steerage-class passenger which is then used as a platform for returning to his self-appointed theme of how good it is today. Were he selling the product it would amount to subliminal advertising.

There is a lot which is right with cruising and cruise-ships and much that is very wrong.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x937ec564) out of 5 stars 2 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9338d7d4) out of 5 stars May your ancestors now rest easy. 30 Jun. 2014
By Ned Middleton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
As a shipwreck historian (it’s what I do) I study ships of all types and sizes. Currently engaged on a huge project involving the history of passenger-ships, my never-ending quest for information in recent years has favoured that particular genre. Although published in 1992, I came to this work because of the sub-title which reads; “From the golden era of ocean liners to the luxury cruise ships of today” in the expectation of finding an historical treatise on the subject. It is no such thing.

This is the third work by Maxtone-Graham to cross my desk recently and each of these informs the reader he is the quintessential expert, the fount of all knowledge, the very sage itself - when it comes to the subject of big passenger-ships. Instead of learning anything of real value, however, his writing might easily be described as the perfunctory outpourings of those back-room people who are paid to produce promotional literature. The sort of people who are employed to make a company look good, make defeat look like a victory and annihilation like a temporary setback. In this particular book, we are subjected to a no-holds-barred view through the rosiest of tinted spectacles of how good cruising is and nothing else.

Whereas he does occasionally mention yesterday, he does so in a style which does not seek to teach the reader of the historical context or of the technology of the day. Instead it centres on the hardships and privations of the steerage-class passenger which is then used as a platform for returning to his self-appointed theme of how good it is today. Were he selling the product it would amount to subliminal advertising.

There is a lot which is right with cruising and cruise-ships and much that is very wrong. From this work, however, we are subjected to an annoyingly sycophantic repetition of preaching from the pulpit of big ship travel in which the author extols the benefits of how good cruising is now when compared to how bad it was then. It is a message which almost demands the reader partake in a modern cruise just so that their ancestors may now rest easy…

I am mindful of the publication date of 1992 when providing the following statistics - which I have readily to hand. Similar figures for the 26 years to 1992 would take far too long to produce. Nevertheless, the message is clear.

What you will not learn from this book is anything similar to the following: Between 1985 and 2010 (26 years inclusive), 177 cruise-liners are listed as having ‘retired’ from active cruising and you may judge the associated statistics for yourself. 107 of these ships were broken up (i.e. scrapped) at the end of their lives. These were all in poor shape and could not be used at sea any more and yet, had all recently been carrying hundreds of passengers. 18 of the remainder were lost because they sank. Another 19 were lost to fire - with three of those also sinking. Two ran aground, one capsized, one broke in two at anchor, one was abandoned, two are shown as ‘fate unknown’ and 26 are recorded as having changed their role. Of the latter, two became floating hotels but most of the remainder became freighters, passenger-ships or ferries - mostly in third world countries where the requisite safety regulations are not so strict. That’s OK then! A swift analysis reveals: An average of 7 ships every year ceased operating as cruise-ships. Of these, 23.7% (almost one in four!!!) came to an unfortunate end through sinking, fire or simply falling apart. Although there were four years in which no vessel was lost to accident or misfortune, there were seven when at least three met a very tragic end.

These statistics are deliberately included in order to redress the extremely biased, one-sided, pleasant-dreamy-eyed view of cruising in this lengthy piece of promotional blurb.

NM
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9338da20) out of 5 stars Maxtone-Graham's Excellent Combination of Personal Experience and Historical Insight 19 Aug. 2011
By James J. Bloom - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The author knows and loves cruise ships and the now defunct "passenger liner" and his insights gleaned from many months at sea on these vessels is related in elegant and fascinating prose. One reviewer had complained that the author had a choppy presentation, depending too much upon his personal experiences on various vessels rather than scholarly research. First of all, he has shown a wealth of book-learning about the subject and his opiniond of the modern cruise ships on which he has sailed are informed by this research. I don't find his views idiosyncratic, but quite astute. I wish the book had been updated to reflect the cruise ships and industry of the 20 years since this work was published, but one can look forward to more on this topic from the prolific author.
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