Sail and Steam: A Century of Maritime Enterprise, 1840-1935

Sail and Steam: A Century of Maritime Enterprise, 1840-1935

by John Falconer

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Masterful picture editing and concisely lucid historical essays by photography historian Falconer ( A Vision of the Past ) here combine with superb book production in a thoroughly satisfying and enlightening portrayal of 19th-century Britain's ocean-based commercial and political ascendancy at a time ``when the surrounding sea permeated every level of national life.'' With handsomely reproduced pictures from England's National Maritime Museum by period photographers William Henry Fox Talbot, Alan Villiers and others, Falconer documents the U.K.'s great days of trade and empire, naval supremacy, shipbuilding, fisheries, exploration and discovery. Despite the static nature of early photography, striking compositions animate such dramatic subjects as a shipwrecked three-master in full sail awash on the rocks; a mass of herring boats in port; a ``grand parade'' of vacationers at Eastbourne; the Aquitania 's launching; an ice mountain in Antarctica; and from 1932, a picture showing deckhands going aloft among the sails at the end of an era. (Oct.)
Library Journal - Library Journal
This book consists of a very good narrative complemented by innumerable photographs from the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England. The book covers sailing activities up through the days when sailing ships were completely overtaken by iron craft and steamships. All types of ships of the period are covered, including vessels that were used to convey cargo and passengers as well as those engaged in naval activities and polar exploration. While this is truly a marvelous account of the period when England ruled the seas, its appeal to libraries is limited to those with special collections in maritime history.-- Robert E. Greenfield, formerly with Baltimore Cty. P.L.
Bill Ott
The appeal of this stunning collection of photographs from the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, England, is as all-enveloping as the lure of the sea itself. As a record of the British maritime industry from the mid-nineteenth century through 1935, it is an indispensable resource for scholars and amateur historians; as a pictorial survey of great ships of the past, it will whet the appetite of boat lovers everywhere; and, perhaps most of all, as a superb example of art photography, it will entrance anyone who has enjoyed the work of Margaret Bourke-White, David Plowden, and others whose images transform machinery into the stuff of art. Falconer's text offers a sprightly, anecdotal review of British maritime history, from the Victorian era of great sailing ships through the dawning of the age of steam and on to the early days of submarines before World War II. It is the photographs, though, that keep drawing us back, first to marvel at the wondrous tall ships as a symbol of Victorian optimism and belief in industry; then to appreciate the special beauty in the ships' bigness, a peculiar relation between line and landscape that gives such massive structures an almost sculptural dimension; and, finally, to notice the subtlety with which these photographers capture the delicate interplay between sailor and ship. The enduring visual power of ships and the sea has rarely been so effectively captured.
A great collection of photographs, with detailed captions, of people connected with the sea--as well as the ships and boats. The text details periods and trades connected with the sea. On the background of sea commerce and the many (British in this case) who protected it. John Falconer does a thorough job of describing the British Isles peoples' relationships with the sea with details in language understandable by the layman. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (

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Product Details

Godine, David R. Publishers, Inc.
Publication date:
Edition description:
1st ed
Product dimensions:
9.95(w) x 11.77(h) x 0.79(d)

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