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Maritime non-fiction / History

Lining up liner histories

Tales From Great Passenger Ships, by Paul Curtis, and Serving on the Big Ships, by William H. Miller


Two recent releases from The History Press and Fonthill offer captivating insights into the world of passenger liners from different yet complementary perspectives.

Tales From Great Passenger Ships: A Jaunt Through Time is a journey through the histories of 36 iconic passenger ships. Author Paul Curtis brings these ships to life in chronological order, personifying them as entities with lifespans that begin with their 'births' and end with their 'deaths'. Each ship is presented with a fact file, including specifications such as length, number of crew and passengers, and speed – which adds a layer of depth to the stories. This journey through time sends readers right back into history, providing a fascinating glimpse into the maritime past.

In contrast, William H Miller's Serving on the Big Ships: Life on the Liners focuses on the human element aboard these grand vessels. Through a series of short stories and personal anecdotes from crew members, Miller sheds light on the lives of those who work behind the scenes to keep the ships running smoothly, addressing the often-overlooked experiences of the crew. The book is lavishly illustrated with vibrant images that bring the stories to life. Miller's book spans from the early days of ocean liners to the present, including the impact of Covid-19 on cruising staff, providing a comprehensive look at the evolution of life at sea.


Both books excel in their ability to transport readers back in time and immerse them in the world of passenger ships. Curtis offers a macro view, focusing on the ships themselves and their historical context, while Miller provides a micro view, focusing on the people who lived and worked aboard these vessels. Together, they offer a well-rounded and richly detailed panorama of maritime history. Whether you are fascinated by the grandeur of the ships or the stories of the people behind them, both books are sure to captivate and educate, making them valuable additions to any maritime history collection.

  • Find out more here about one of the most famous liners of all time

These books are the Nautilus Books of the Month for July 2024, and will be sold at a discount in the Nautilus Bookshop throughout the month

Tales From Great Passenger Ships: A Jaunt Through Time
By Paul Curtis
History Press, £18.99
ISBN: 978 18039 92112

Serving on the Big Ships: Life on the Liners
By William H. Miller
Fonthill, £35
ISBN: 978 17815 58973

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