From Kirkus Reviews
The early commercial yachting photographers, such as Nathaniel L. Stebbins and Henry G. Peabody out of Boston and James Burton and Charles E. Bolles out of New York, knew just how to catch the great sail and steam yachts of the 1880s to the early 1900s: in action, raking the water under vast fields of canvas if powered by wind, or low and slick, menacing and predatory, if tricked out with a boiler. These pioneering photographers, along with a number of others, took advantage of the then-new dry-plate technique, and an impressive collection of their work has been gathered by naval historian Holm. Here are the boats, caught in their glory, that the Astors and Vanderbilts, Gould and Morgan and Hearst spent colossal sums upon in an effort to outdo one another. There are also glimpses into the palatial interiors of the boats, a good and striking handful of port photographs, even an unexpected nod to the workingman's sailing canoes. Holm's text covers the yacht clubs, the frenzy attending the America's Cup, and the changes in boat architecture by designers Edward Burgess and Nathaniel Herreshoff. A unique and worthy contribution to yachting literature, though it is a mystery why Holm neglected the peerless ice yachts of the time. (102 photos) -- Copyright ©1999, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
From the Inside Flap
More than a hundred breathtaking photographs that transport us back to the lavish, romantic world of sailing and yachting in its heyday at the turn of the century. The pictures -- glass-plate images documenting sail and steam from the earliest days of popular photography in the 1880s up to 1905 -- portray pleasure boats at their most magnificent during the height of the Gilded Age, when the largest and fastest cutters and sloops battled for possession of the world's most coveted sporting trophy, and when every yacht was a one-of-a-kind handcrafted creation with its own personality. We see the Puritan
with her breakthrough design (it won the America's Cup) . . . the schooner Casco
, which sailed into fame when Robert Louis Stevenson and family chartered her for a six-month cruise of the South Seas . . . the 119-foot Dungeness
, owned by Lucy Carnegie, sister-in-law of Andrew.
Here as well are photographs of catboats -- eminently seaworthy and delightfully uncomplicated . . . the Atalanta
, a 233-foot steam yacht, owned by Jay Gould and manned by a crew of fifty-two (when Gould was blackballed because of his notorious financial dealings, he founded the American Yacht Club) . . . the Valiant
, William K. Vanderbilt's 291-foot, 2,400-ton steamer, with a crew of sixty-two and more than twenty staterooms for family and friends . . . the Niagara
-- graced by a Renaissance Revival drawing room 36 feet wide, a library, a photographic darkroom, and a recreation hall with an electrically operated orchestrion.
Sailing stories, racing stories, shipbuilding stories, stories of courage and peril -- brilliantly told in the entertaining and informative text by Ed Holm.