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Ships: From the Archives of Harland & Wolff the Builders of the Titanic Hardcover – September, 1998

4 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Chartwell Books/PRC Publishing; 1st edition (September 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 078580949X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785809494
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 10 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,962,799 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First, the good. The illustrations are wonderful and large, and the short descriptions that accompany each design point out how the design evolved from predecessors, and the marine architect's intent in making these changes. The paper and illustration quality is excellent.

The biggest downside is that this stops at hull 148, launched and delivered in 1882. H&W would go on to design naval and commercial ships for another 70 years before building wound down (and eventually restarted in support of offshore energy). For a book subtitled "the builders of the Titanic" this is dangerously close to bait and switch. (And I would guess that many of you reading this review are here because of the Titanic connection. There is nothing on this topic, or even foreshadowing it.)

The second and related, downside is that there are no naval ships discussed or shown at all, only commercial designs. (As the earliest H&W naval designs I know of are WWI era, this may be an artifact of the date the book stops, not the authors intent. Yet without access to archives I do not know what designs may have been drawn up.) H&W would build a number of naval ships, including aircraft carriers. There is no single source on these designs.

The third drawback is that all of these designs were built. Certainly H&W had some designs that were never sold, or alternate designs that were superceeded by the ships that were actually built. If they exist, they are not noted.

Perhaps this is intended to be part of a multivolume set, and certainly commercial shipbuilding changed with the Olympic class and could warrant its own volume. So too could naval shipbuilding, where H&W did monitors, cruisers, carriers, and support vessels.
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