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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Little known facts on the Aquitania are finally revealed., January 11, 2009
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This review is from: RMS Aquitania: The Ship Beautiful (Paperback)
Cunard's famous and beloved Aquitania is finally getting her life story told in depth. Mark Chirnside has done an outstanding job in digging up many, never before published facts, about the last great four-stacker, which served longer than any other Express liner in the 20th century. His research covers the ship's very long and active sea career which spanned some 36 years. A career that included active service in various roles through two World Wars, as well as 443 voyages that saw her steam over 3 million ocean miles.

Although her's is a lengthy story, he has included a number of individual recollections of the ship from personal diaries. These accounts draw the reader in and they serve to remind him that this ship was, first and foremost, a carrier of human life. Whether it was a first class passenger crossing the Atlantic on business, an immigrant, heading to a new life in a new land, or most certainly a soldier, heading to a war zone with unpredictable consequences; this great ship directly impacted people's lives every time she sailed. Their story is also her story, and with the realization that she carried well over one million people in her lifetime, her historical impact actually boggles the mind.

I was lucky enough to be a contributor of some of the photographs used in this book, and it was a personal joy to have played a small part in the books creation. Mark wisely chose many photographs that have never been seen before, including a section of color views taken late in her life, which show the "Grand Old Lady" in her beautiful peacetime colors. Despite the passage of more than half a century since her last voyage, the Aquitania remains one of the most successful ships in maritime history, and this book tells you why. As a reader of books on historic ocean liners, and a collector of images covering the old ship that "did well to the end", I can tell you that this stunning and highly detailed book, was long overdue.
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Showing 1-6 of 6 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Aug 14, 2009 7:41:05 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Aug 14, 2009 7:43:12 AM PDT]

Posted on Aug 14, 2009 7:42:36 AM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Aug 14, 2009 10:36:26 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 14, 2009 8:43:25 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Aug 15, 2009 1:05:25 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 14, 2009 11:22:41 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Aug 15, 2009 12:04:58 AM PDT
There have been more publications about the Aquitania than the Olympic over the years but I would agree not enough. The Aquitania is always the ship that gets mentioned if a period drama set in lets say the 1920's is used and never the Olympic - just something I have noticed. It's always the Aquitania or Mauretania - one example of this is the british early 1990's comedy "You Rang Me Lord" and there have been at least 2 other period films I have seen where the same thing has happened.

The Aquitania is often described again as the 'ship beautiful' and the perfect 4 funnelled liner for example the amazon review or rather information for this book repeats this. The Olympic in my opinion was the best looking 4 funnelled liner. She was better proportioned and less cluttered than the Aquitania which gave her a much more modern and spacious look - ahead of her time.

As for your colour photographs that appear in the book. I am sure they are quite interesting in giving one an impression of what the ship looked like but I won't be putting to much on them. Colour photography was very much in it's early stages at the end of Aquitania's life hence the end result would still would not be like a 'proper' colour photo/representation! I imagine it would not give anymore of a better impression than lets say a black and white photograph which has been colourised. In other words colour in those days as interesting as the pictures may well be was pretty dodgy - just my opinion from what I have seen on the ET forum.

I don't know if I will obtain this book. It does seem a bit short considering the Aquitania had such a long life. Very much so if a lot of the pages are indeed packed with photographs and colour illustrations.

Talking about photographs again the author bought some of my old pictures of the Olympic which my friend kindly sold for me on Ebay. I wish I had kept just one now - there was a good one of the Olympic anchored off Plymouth with a mail tender coming out to meet her from 1911 or 1912 - the last picture I bought and was a particular favourite of mine. Then another photograph of the Berengaria and Olympic together in southampton with the same tug visable in the photograph that escorted the Titanic which sold for considerably less than what I paid for it. That said I do wish now in insight I had given that one or at the very least one of the better photographs away without charge as some sort of apology for some of the truly awful and juvenile things (without any particular motive or reason ) I did but was under pressure to try and make as much money from them as possible. Wish I had now as I can't really afford to collect as it is very much a rich mans game. I have noticed for some reason other than 'photo albums' which I have seen go for an arm and a leg photographs of the Olympic are not making as much money as they did just 4 or 5 years ago.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 15, 2009 1:51:02 AM PDT
Tom says:
Thank you for understanding on why I wrote what I wrote, and for clearing up the misunderstanding. You obviously write with a real passion of your own about the Olympic. I agree there aren't enough books published about this great ship either. I know of only two devoted specifically to her. I've always felt that her story has remained obscured by her better known sister. It's unfortunate too because the Titanic overshadows the lives of so many historic liners, just look at the number of books published on this ship, it unbelieveable. Human nature, it seems, is more interested in disasters that have befallen certain passenger ships, while those that lived out successful lives and actually accomplished their purpose are forgotten.

Your comparision between Aquitania and Olympic is also correct. The main difference between the two could be seen in the appearance of their boat decks. While Aquitania's was indeed cluttered by comparision, I've always felt it added a nostalgic look that can't be equalled. We all have our favorites I guess. I (unfortunately) am not the one who contributed the colour views of the ship in Mark's book. Mine were all less commonly seen black and whites, and a few artistic postcard images. The colour views all came from a single collector here in the states. He sometimes offers prints from his hugh collection of old colour slides on Ebay. His collection includes ships from the earliest period of colour photography. You're right though that some of his pictures aren't as sharp as many would like to see, but a few of the them are actually rather impressive. Personally, I was actually more interested in getting to read Mark's research on the ship itself. He went for as much unknown detail as he could find, and that's what ended up in print. I think it's the first and only book to ever go into so much detail about the ships life.

I've not yet purchased a copy of Mark's book on the Olympic, but having seen the kind of research he does, I think I'll go ahead and get a copy. Your concerns about the book on Aquitania are really the same I have with his book on the Olympic. The book will seem to small or short to be able to cover a ships life of 25 years. Maybe he should find a publisher that won't limit the size and scope of his subjects. Hopefully I'll be surprized with his other book. Good luck with any photo collecting you may again get to do in the future.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 15, 2009 3:29:04 AM PDT
No I was quite rude in my first posting which thankfully I have been able to delete it. I thought you were someone else but was mistaken. I do agree with the author in the 'Olympic' class book where he compares the Olympic's appearance with that of the Aquitania stating while the Aquitania was indeed a good-looking ship it was rather 'top' heavy' in appearace while the Olympic was much better proportioned and ultimately the better looking ship. It was something along those lines but I don't have the book to hand to double check. As you say we all have our favourites and I do understand the cluttered look on the Aquitania's boat deck gives her a classic look along with the black bands round her red or should I say orange funnels. Classic cunarder look if you like!

Its a great pity that both Marks books on the Olympic class have the same photo's in them. I obtained them both in the hope this was not the case.

I don't think I will start collecting Olympic photographs again. Look at the bright side though - one less person to push the price up snd bid against for the other collectors.
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