THE ‘OLYMPIC’ CLASS SHIPS: OLYMPIC, TITANIC & BRITANNIC (SECOND EDITION) PREVIEW PAGE
‘The inventions of man proved mightier than the brute force of the inanimate elements. The unsinkable ship builded [sic] by all the resources of centuries of science withstood the shock, messages carried by the harnessed waves of the air brought speedy help, and every life, it seems, was saved, and the ship herself proceeded unaided to port.’ – Daily Mirror, April 16th 1912.
This page is intended to provide a short preview of the second edition - from comments on the book’s history to some page shots showing the new colour section.
- Author’s Introduction To The Second Edition
- 1. The Oceanic Steam Navigation Company
2. Harland & Wolff
- 3. The Competition
- 4. Birth Of The Olympics
- 5. RMS Olympic
- 6. RMS Titanic
- 7. HMHS Britannic
- 8. The Wreck Of Britannic
- 9. The Wreck Of Titanic
- One: The ‘Olympic’ Class
- Two: Nomadic & Traffic
Three: Lusitania Voyage Notes
- Four: Thomas Andrews’ Maiden Voyage Notes
- Five: Financing The ‘Olympic’ Class
- Six: Titanic: Description Of The Ship
- Seven: ‘Short Of Coal?’
- Eight: Californian: ‘The Ship That Stood Still’
- Nine: Germanic: Titanic’s Replacement?
- Ten: Britannic & Aquitania
- Eleven: Britannic ‘Summary Of First Cost’
- Twelve: Olympic’s New Running Mates
- Thirteen: North Atlantic Service 1931
- Fourteen: Britannic Remembrance
- Fifteen: ‘UK Hydrographic Office Details Of Wreck Of The HMHS Britannic’
- Sixteen: Glossary of Technical Abbreviations
A sneak peak inside, including the brand new colour section:
Mark comments on the book’s history:
The oldest words of the book were written five years before its eventual publication in 2004; and twelve years before the second edition in 2011. The original manuscript was largely finished by 2001-02 and delivered to the publisher in January 2003; the intended publication date of July 2003 became October 2004. As I wrote in the introduction to the second edition:
‘There have been many new discoveries and developments as the history of the “Olympic” class ships continues to evolve. My own research and interest in the subject has continued. The defeatist perception that little new could be learned has been shown to be entirely false: an entirely predictable development. The centenary of Olympic’s maiden voyage is a good point to look back, improving the existing book and bringing the story up to date with a new edition.
‘It was an immense privilege to become a published author and I remain extremely proud of my accomplishment with my first book, particularly at such a young age. Given the commercial realities of publishing and the inevitable constraints, long after the wave of interest in Titanic had subsided at the end of the 1990s, it provided a reasonably comprehensive look at the lives of three ships whose histories can only be understood in their proper context. Like many new authors I struggled occasionally to find my own voice, but I was delighted with the enthusiastic reception that the book received. A great deal of information was published that was either little-known or never before published in book form: for instance, naval architect Leonard Peskett’s professional assessment of Olympic when he sailed in August 1911. (Much of my Olympic research was expanded upon in RMS Olympic: Titanic’s Sister, whose publication was brought forward to less than a month after this book’s original publication.) However much hard work went into researching the subject, the hard fact remains that I have now spent more time researching after the book was published than before. That gives a different perspective in some important respects, but on the other hand I am pleased that much of the original work stood the test of time. On the whole, I believe it was more right than wrong, and was a positive contribution, but there is always room for improvement without discarding the original product entirely.
‘The new edition offers an opportunity to do just that, retaining the original book’s strengths and addressing weaknesses. The text incorporates new information and discoveries that were not available a decade ago, some improvements based upon readers’ suggestions and feedback, and changes due to ongoing research which revealed errors in some of the secondary sources used. There have been editorial changes in order to improve the flow of the text, aimed at improving the reader’s enjoyment.
‘As well as changes to the existing text, additions to the later chapters help to bring the story up to date, with new material about the wrecks of Britannic and Titanic, while the original appendices have been improved (or removed) and seven new ones added. An expanded index helps to make the book a better reference tool, while advantage has been taken of the additional pages to add an entirely new colour section with a number of rare and previously unpublished images; another thirty-two pages have been added to the original book’s 352 pages.
‘Perhaps it is inevitable that some valuable new nuggets of information only come to light after a book has been published. There are undoubtedly many researchers who can sympathise with the feeling of frustration when they unearth an interesting new anecdote or story, only for it to be too late to add to their completed project. It has been a pleasure to remedy that with the new edition, while some material that is already adequately covered elsewhere has been removed. There are always limitations in trying to tell such an extensive story in a single volume. Not only is the sheer volume of information too much to put into print, but in deciding what to include different readers will be interested in different aspects of the ships’ lives: whether it be structural and technical details of their design; to the design progression from ship-to-ship and changes over Olympic’s lengthy career; the people who sailed on them, from passengers to crew, stoker to commander; the sinking of Titanic and Britannic; the broader development and decline of the White Star Line and contemporary ships; and modern day explorations of the shipwrecks. One person’s fascination is another’s tedium.
‘Undoubtedly, there will be new discoveries and further developments in the years ahead. Hopefully, in the meantime this revised and expanded volume will go a small way towards implementing a better understanding of Olympic, Titanic and Britannic’s history.’