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.
About the Author
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.