Steam Titans

Steam Titans : Cunard, Collins, and the Epic Battle for Commerce on the North Atlantic

4.01 (64 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

Free delivery worldwide

Available. Dispatched from the UK in 2 business days
When will my order arrive?

Not expected to be delivered to the United States by Christmas Not expected to be delivered to the United States by Christmas


Winner of the Brewington Book Prize for Maritime History

The story of the epic contest between shipping magnates Samuel Cunard and Edward Collins for mid-19th century control of the Atlantic.

Between 1815 and the American Civil War, the greatest invention of the Industrial Revolution delivered a sea change in oceanic transportation. Steam travel transformed the Atlantic into a pulsating highway, dominated by ports in Liverpool and New York, as steamships ferried people, supplies, money, and information with astounding speed and regularity. American raw materials flowed eastward, while goods, capital, people, and technology crossed westward. The Anglo-American "partnership" fueled development worldwide; it also gave rise to a particularly intense competition.

Steam Titans tells the story of a transatlantic fight to wrest control of the globe's most lucrative trade route. Two men--Samuel Cunard and Edward Knight Collins--and two nations wielded the tools of technology, finance, and politics to compete for control of a commercial lifeline that spanned the North Atlantic. The world watched carefully to see which would win. Each competitor sent to sea the fastest, biggest, and most elegant ships in the world, hoping to earn the distinction of being known as "the only way to cross."

Historian William M. Fowler brings to life the spectacle of this generation-long struggle for supremacy, during which New York rose to take her place among the greatest ports and cities of the world, and recounts the tale of a competition that was the opening act in the drama of economic globalization, still unfolding today.
show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 368 pages
  • 156 x 235 x 30.48mm | 691g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 1 x 16 page colour plate section
  • 1620409089
  • 9781620409084
  • 1,345,817

Review quote

"A vigorous account of the rivalry . . .With STEAM TITANS, Mr. Fowler has crafted an enjoyable book, with enough technical detail and colorful tales to appeal to the casual weekend sailor and skilled mariner alike." - Charles R. Morris, The Wall Street Journal

"[A] grand-scale chronicle of an era at sea like no other, written by a master maritime scholar, and with appropriate vitality. High ambition, ingenuity, the advance of technology, money, good luck and bad, and courage aplenty all play their parts here... [A] most refreshing reminder of how much more there is to history besides politics and war." - David McCullough

"[A] fascinating, informative account of the rivalry that pushed the efficiency of ocean transportation to new heights in the mid-nineteenth century... The narrative has all the thrust and drive of one of the steam ships William Fowler so vividly evokes. His account of the wreck of the Arctic is just one of the many set pieces that makes this book both a pleasure and a surprise." - Nathaniel Philbrick

"A powerful, sometimes cautionary, tale of a great transatlantic maritime rivalry, well-told from both human and commercial viewpoints." - Diana Preston, author of LUSITANIA: AN EPIC TRAGEDY

"Fowler takes us back to the shipping industry of Britain and the freshly declared independent American colonies to illustrate the formation and growth of trade routes and commodities, maritime law, and the U.S. merchant marine, as well as the often-prickly relationship between national politics and commercial interests." - Jennifer Bort Yacovissi, Washington Independent Review of Books

"Skillfully-written and well researched . . . It describes fascinating details without becoming too technical." - The Missourian

"Well researched and finely articulated, STEAM TITANS is an absorbing account of a decade-long struggle." - John G. Langley, Q.C., Cunard Steamship Society Chairman

"STEAM TITANS is a must read. Superbly written!" - William (Bill) H. Miller, lecturer and author of GREAT PASSENGER SHIPS 1950-1960
show more

About William M. Fowler

William M. Fowler is Distinguished Professor of History at Northeastern University in Boston and has lectured at the Smithsonian Institution, the United States Naval War College, and the Sea Education Association. A trustee of the Ralph Waldo Emerson Association, The Paul Revere Memorial Association, and The Rhode Island Historical Society, Fowler is an honorary member of the Boston Marine Society, as well as an editor of The New England Quarterly. He lives in Winchester, Massachusetts.
show more

Rating details

64 ratings
4.01 out of 5 stars
5 22% (14)
4 58% (37)
3 20% (13)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X