Fifty Ships That Changed the Course of History is a beautiful guide to ships that played a key role in world history. Ships are presented chronologically, beginning with Pharaoh Khufu's Solar Barge from about 2566 BCE, and includes a photograph of the reconstructed ship, discovered in pieces in 1954 near the Great Pyramid.
The book closes with another sun-seeking ship four thousand years later, the MS Allure of the Seas is the biggest passenger ship ever built. Between is a variety of ships used by hunters searching for food, traders with goods to barter and warriors bent on conquest, to explorers longing to see what lay beyond the horizon. Over time, the first small primitive craft evolved into bigger seagoing vessels, shaping our history, culture, and civilization along the way.
Some of the fifty ships are:
- HMS VICTORY, the world's oldest naval ship in commission.
- HMS ENDEAVOUR, in which Captain Cook's explored the Pacific ocean and discovered Australia & New Zealand
- HMS BEAGLE, Darwin's observations while part of the Beagle's journey fomrmed the basis of his Theory of Evolution
- USS Holland, the first successful submersible vehicle, built in 1897.
- HMS DREADNOUGHT, the first of the modern battleships that changed naval tactics.
- USS Enterprise, the first of the nuclear-powered supercarriers.
- U-21, Germany's most deadly U-boat and the first to sink a ship and survive.
- RMS Lusitania, the luxurious ocean liner whose sinking forced America into World War I.
- Mayflower, whose passengers, the Pilgrim Fathers, sailed to America.
- Zheng He's Treasure Ships, seven great fleets of ships that reached Africa.
- The Trireme, a fine example of a pre-Viking Nordic vessel.
- Amistad, overtaken by its slave passengers.
- SS Great Britain, the first transoceanic ship.
- Bismark, one of the most powerful battleships of World War II, defeated by a biplane.
This attractive reference provides an innovative perspective on maritime and world history. The text is highlighted by elegant reproductions, photographs, and sidebars, paintings, ship plans, quotes and photographs.