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Normandie: France's Legendary Art Deco Ocean Liner Hardcover – December 17, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0393061208 ISBN-10: 0393061205 Edition: First American Edition

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 260 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; First American Edition edition (December 17, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393061205
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393061208
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 0.1 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.9 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #826,606 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John Maxtone-Graham is the author of The Only Way to Cross, which has been in print for almost forty years. He lives in New York City when not lecturing aboard ocean liners and cruise ships.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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This book is a must have for anyone who remembers the Normandie.
amtrakbill
I have returned to enjoy my copy time and time again - always seeing something new each time.
James P Hickman
This book is a good balance of text with photos I have never seen before.
Transatlantique

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

57 of 66 people found the following review helpful By A Boston Reviewer on November 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a huge fan of the Normandie, and an avid reader of Maxtone-Graham's classic "The Only Way to Cross," I pre-ordered NORMANDIE with great expectations. Unfortunately, the book's promise was not met. In fact, this volume comes as close as any liner book can to being downright irritating. How so? A grab bag of complaints, in no particular order: the illustrations, by and large, are fairly common images of the Normandie - there is very little novelty here, and even more annoyingly, the pictures and captions don't relate to the nearby text. Find something of interest, and you'll have to search through the pages to locate the relevant passage, often chapters away. The text itself is pompous, pedantic and preachy, full of absurd phrases such as "nay," and "let us away," which might actually be amusing if they weren't merely indications of a strangely disjointed and dissatisfying narrative that delves into excruciating levels of detail one moment, then glosses entire subjects the next. (All the more surprising from Maxtone-Graham, whose earlier works are master examples of witty, concise prose.) Worst of all, Maxtone-Graham has fallen into that most hideous of modern affectations, influenced no doubt by the Cameron-Winslet-DiCaprio set, of dropping the determiner before ships' names, as if vessels somehow were living people. While referring to liners in this way might make for more vivid movie-making, in a work with scholarly pretensions, it's merely exasperating, especially when taken by the author to new, more ridiculous heights. In the current volume, even the Normandie's deck names come alive, in lines such as: "Sun deck sported," "Promenade deck boasted."

O tempora, o mores!
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27 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Transatlantique on November 28, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Thank you Mr. Maxtone-Graham for this eagerly anticipated tome for my collection. When you first told me of it's imminent release, during a QE2 crossing almost two years ago, I've been on pins and needles. It's been one of the highlights of my season, and I'm not at all disappointed. I received the book before lunchtime and listened to my hunger pangs as I turned each page unable to put it down.

This book is a good balance of text with photos I have never seen before. Being an artist and designer, I am impressed with the layout and design, noting especially the cover and inside composite illustration. And it's printed in Italy! The historical perspective is complete and accurate as always. It's a must have for the SS Normandie enthusiast, design student, or maritime historian.

I love chapter two with your inclusion of the Exposition des Arts Décoratifs of 1925. I had the privilege of seeing an art deco exhibit in London at the V&A, and one of the exhibits was brief film footage of a crossing on Normandie in colour. What a treat.

The fold outs of the deck plans are very interesting showing how CGT had a complete vision of the deco style that didn't end with the furniture or interior embelishments, but extended to the overall architecture of the ship. It's also interesting to see the overviews of the cabins on those decks, and as to the whereabouts of the surviving relics today.

Someone told me how he once had seen a friend off on Normandie, commenting how it was the most beautiful ship he had ever seen. The generous photos in this book give me an idea of what he experienced. Especially the large photo of the lift, which is wonderfully placed at the end. These photos are all nicely restored with nice tonal balance.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Baratineur on February 5, 2008
Format: Hardcover
I have to agree with the review by Michael from Boston. This is a beautiful book but the prose is affected and extremely annoying. Was the author being deliberately flamboyant because of the subject? If he was then it was definately overkill. A disapointing effort from the author of "the only way to cross". I would still buy it though just for the images and the quality of the layout and of course for the picture of Normandie lying at anchor off quarantine.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Stanwyck on October 15, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I had delayed purchasing this book because of the extremely high price it carried at the bookstores (around $100) and the fact that the store copies were all sealed so you could not examine them.

Then, on a cruise aboard Queen Mary 2 (and to the person that complained about how Maxtone-Graham drops the "the" before the ship's name- this is the proper useage)I had an opportunity to look at the book.

The pictures are very good and I have not seen some of them before, but there is way too much about how the ship was decorated and the service aboard. It's almost like reading about a hotel.

There is little to nothing about her turbo-electric drive or machinery, and the author's writing style does become a bit irritating after a while.

The overall feeling that you have after reading the book is that you wanted much more from it.

Sad to say, the book is not worth even the reduced price offered by Amazon.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Ronald L. Sutton on February 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Am impressive picture of the Normandie from certain views. As a former seagoing Marine Engineer, I was disappointed to find a cursory TWO Page description of the Normandie's Turbo-Electric propulsion plant, which was, after all, much more responsible for her Blue Ribband passage than anything else. One picture of a propulsion motor, presumably from a model.

We had one of the Normandie's Lifeboats at Kings Point, the US Merchant Marine Academy, which I attended in the 1950's.
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