This page is intended to provide a concise index of books which have been written by Mark Chirnside. Each book title, as usual, is a hyperlink that leads to the individual book page containing images, reviews, and purchasing information.  You can also visit Mark’s Bookshop directly.

Oceanic Cover

Oceanic: White Star's 'Ship of the Century' (November 2018)

Oceanic: White Star's 'Ship of the Century' is the first book to focus on Oceanic's conception and successful commercial career, prior to her untimely loss during war service in September 1914. The book's 144 pages, including an expansive colour section, provide a detailed and original illustrated history of one of White Star's most prestigious ships.  Much of the material is published here for the first time.

With human anecdotes, hitherto unpublished material and rare illustrations, Mark Chirnside’s book is a beautiful tribute to a unique ocean liner.

Big Four Book Cover

The 'Big Four' of the White Star Fleet: Celtic, Cedric, Baltic & Adriatic   (October 2016)

The 'Big Four' of the White Star Fleet: Celtic, Cedric, Baltic & Adriatic is the first book to focus solely on these four successful sister ships.  In many ways, they were the backbone of the company's fleet from 1901 until the merger with Cunard.  Adriatic, in particular, can be seen as a forerunner of the 'Olympic' class ships with many features such as Turkish Baths installed for the first time.  Originally envisaged as 144 pages, the finished book ended up 192 pages in length, making it a comprehensive, lavishly illustrated book containing rare and previously unpublished photographs and information.

The ‘Big Four’ led successful lives that have, largely, been overlooked. This volume is intended to go some way to putting that right.


Olympic cover

RMS Olympic: Titanic's Sister (September 2015)

RMS Olympic: Titanic's Sister was published as a thoroughly revised and expanded edition in September 2015.  The new volume has been expanded by 32 pages and contains considerable new material and images. As well as a fully revised existing text, many of the original chapters have been expanded and new appendices added - making it an invaluable reference. The original book was the most extensive history yet written about ‘Old Reliable’ and the new edition is even better, expanded from 320 to 352 pages and with an updated 16 page colour section.

Overshadowed frequently by her sister ships Titanic and Britannic, Olympic’s history deserves more attention than it has received. She was evolutionary in design rather than revolutionary, but marked an ambition for the White Star Line to dominate the North Atlantic express route. Rivals immediately began trying to match her in size and luxury. The optimism that led to her conception was rewarded, whereas her doomed sisters never fulfilled their creators’ dreams.



The Sting of the Hawke: Collision in the Solent - The Full Story Behind the Collision Between HMS Hawke and RMS Olympic on 20 September 1911 (January 2015)

The Sting of the Hawke: Collision in the Solent - The Full Story Behind the Collision Between HMS Hawke and RMS Olympic on 20 September 1911 is a monograph that looks into the famous collision and examines it in detail. What really happened that September day in 1911 in the Solent? Was it a simple case of hydrodynamic suction or negligent navigation on part of one or both vessels? The incident was a controversial one at the time and remains so to this day. 

For the first time, the events leading up to this collision are examined in great detail, with the claims of both sides thoroughly analyzed to see what was possible and what was not. Based on all the evidence presented, a most likely scenario of what really happened in the Solent that day is presented showing the minute-by-minute movements of each vessel before and after the collision.


Olympic Titanic Britannic: An Illustrated History of the ‘Olympic’ Class Ships (February 2012)

Olympic Titanic Britannic: An Illustrated History of the ‘Olympic’ Class Ships provides more of a focus on the human stories, combined with a lot of new information and anecdotes as well as previously unpublished images. It is a lighter, shorter and more lavishly illustrated book, in a similar but improved format to Mark’s Majestic and Aquitania histories. It thefore complements the earlier ‘Olympic’ class volume or, alternatively, provides a useful introduction to, and overview of, the subject for the newer enthusiast.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, competition between the North Atlantic shipping lines was fierce. While Britain responded to the commercial threat posed by the growing German merchant marine, there was also rivalry between the great Cunard Line and its chief competitor, the White Star Line. Against this backdrop Olympic, Titanic and Britannic were conceived.

... With a focus on the human histories of those who travelled and worked on the ships, this beautifully illustrated book details Olympic’s successful career and the premature ends of her two unfortunate sisters.


Olympic Class Ships


The 'Olympic' Class Ships: Olympic, Titanic & Britannic (May 2011)

The ‘Olympic’ Class Ships was published as a revised and expanded edition in May 2011. The original book was praised as ‘an extraordinarily researched and documented book’ and the new volume has been improved further: expanded from 352 to 384 pages, plus a new 16 page colour section. A number of corrections or amendments have been made, while the book has been freshened up with a revised cover, new illustrations and information, as well as additional text bringing the story up to date combined with a number of new appendices.

The intensifying competition on the North Atlantic in the early years of the twentieth century led the White Star Line to order three huge liners. While their British rival, the Cunard Line, focused on speed, White Star concentrated on size and luxury. Orders were placed for Olympic and Titanic, to be built at Harland & Wolff’s yard in Belfast, while the third sister ship, Britannic, would follow at a later date.


RMS Aquitania


RMS Aquitania: The 'Ship Beautiful' (September 2008)

This history of Aquitania ’s life contains a great deal of original research, including previously unpublished diaries of her war service and eight appendices.

Of the fourteen four stackers built, Aquitania was one of the longest lived and the only one to survive two world wars. Launched in 1913, she was the third four funneled liner for Cunard, and the only one not to have a Government subsidy. Aquitania entered commercial service in May 1914 and was christened ‘The Ship Beautiful’ thanks to her elegant interiors... Mark Chirnside tells the story in words and pictures of one of Cunard’s finest liners, from her birth to her death, a journey that began on the Clyde and which then took Aquitania three million miles only to finish within twenty miles of her birthplace.


RMS Majestic


RMS Majestic: The 'Magic Stick' (November 2006)

Described as ‘a gem,’ this is the only book to date that examines Majestic in her own right as the White Star Line’s largest and fastest vessel. It draws upon many unpublished or hitherto little-known sources and has been praised as a truly original work.

With an extensive collection of archive pictures of the Majestic and other ships, including photographs of the White Star vessel’s stately rooms, and striking paintings of the ship in vibrant colour, as well as a fascinating and comprehensive narrative chronicling the life of the vessel, RMS Majestic: The ‘Magic-Stick’ provides a complete history of a ship that was once the pride of the White Star Line.


RMS Olympic


RMS Olympic: Titanic's Sister (November 2004)

This ‘fascinating’ book has been described as ‘an astounding achievement’ that is a credit to Olympic, as well as being praised for its considerable original research. It is the most extensive history yet written about ‘Old Reliable.’

RMS Olympic, White Star Line’s ‘Old Reliable’ has been overshadowed by her ill-fated sisters Titanic and Britannic for over ninety years. The first of a new breed of superliner, the list of superlatives that Olympic has is breath-taking. When built, she was the largest ship in existence being almost 50% larger than her next nearest rival, she was one of the first ships to introduce Turkish Baths and a swimming pool, she carried more troops in the First World War than any other comparable steamship and she was the only liner ever to sink a submarine by ramming it.


Olympic Class Ships


The 'Olympic' Class Ships: Olympic, Titanic & Britannic (October 2004)

Intended to provide a detailed and original history of the ‘Olympic’ class ships, The ‘Olympic’ Class Ships was published to critical acclaim. It has been praised as ‘an extraordinarily researched and documented book’ and recommended strongly by a number of reviewers.

Each ship was subtly different. Lessons learned from the service of Olympic were put into practice for Titanic. With the loss, on her maiden voyage, of Titanic, the hull design was radically changed for the third sister ship. The new double hull, however, did not prevent Britannic from sinking in less than an hour in the Aegean after she hit a German mine in 1916.

Another page lists books where Mark’s work has been referenced, or he has contributed material:

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