William H. Miller has written over eighty books on passenger ships, lecturing aboard many, and is one of the foremost authorities on the subject. His latest, Great French Passenger Ships (published by The History Press in September 2014), is no exception.
As with all publications of this kind, the accompanying photographs through the ages help to illustrate what was essentially a different world when it came to ocean going travel. The opulence of the French transatlantic liner, was second to none and rivalled the likes of Cunard’s Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth. In fact, the former was a contender with Normandie for the Blue Riband, the French liner entering service a year prior gave her the advantage. They would continue to battle for the prize until World War II broke out in 1939.
The 98 page book opens with the France of 1912, ending with the last and most celebrated ship to bear that name from 1962, and takes you through the intervening decades when sailing across the Atlantic was a vastly different experience to today. As well as the more famous Normandie and Île de France, the author includes histories on some lesser known vessels including Felix Roussel.
Each chapter is chock full of information from the beginning to end of each ships’ career. In some chapters, Miller has included personal memories, making it an enjoyable read while taking you back in time to when crossing the Atlantic really WAS the only way to cross.
Great French Passenger Ships by William H. Miller
Published by The History Press