Over the last ten or fifteen years, Mark Chirnside has rightfully gained a reputation within the maritime community as being a first-rate historian. As a maritime historian and author myself, I know how difficult it is to turn up new material and follow the trail of evidence to correct conclusions. I've worked with Mark on several projects, and he always manages to help me find some valuable nugget of information that I need, just when I need it. Yet every time I pick up one of Mark's new books, I'm astonished to see what he has managed to put together.
So much has been written about the Titanic - and now, although to a lesser extent, her sister ships Olympic and Britannic - that it is easy to forget that they were just three ships of the White Star Line's fleet. Their immediate predecessors, the so-called 'Big Four' liners, have gone largely overlooked except as a footnote to the Titanic tragedy. Not any more. These four ships, so long forgotten, have finally been given they treatment they deserve. Mark has collected a treasure trove of information, first-hand accounts, technical data, photographs, and ephemera on this quartet of liners. The format is beautiful.
This isn't a plug for a friend... Mark knows me well enough to know that if I thought it wasn't good, I would say so as tactfully as I could. This book is a real gem, and I'm proud to add it to my collection of maritime volumes.
If you like ships, don't hesitate... just pick up a copy. You will be astounded.