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, Jr. is director of the Massachusetts Historical Society, consulting editor at The New England Quarterly, and honorary professor of history at Northeastern University. His books include Jack Tars and Commodores: The American Navy, 1783-1815 and The Baron of Beacon Hill: A Biography of John Hancock.
[Fowler's] superb American Crisis brings to life, with great clarity and understanding, one of the least-known, most important chapters in the long struggle for independence, and leaves no doubt of how much, once again, was owed to George Washington for how things turned out. -- David McCullough With American Crisis [Fowler] has written the book of his long and distinguished career. Chronicling one of the least known portions of the American Revolution, he has created a page-turner full of intrigue, drama, and countless unexpected twists. You will never think of George Washington in quite the same way. -- Nathaniel Philbrick A judicious, well-paced and engaging introduction to a turning point in American and world history. Publishers Weekly on EMPIRES AT WAR