Damned by destiny by David L. Williams and Richard P. de Kerbrech ; with a foreword by Arnold Kludas
Brighton : Teredo Books, 1982. Hardcover. 348 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm. With original dust jacket, light foxing to the front free endpaper and foxing to page edges. No markings within book. Binding is firm.
Many books have been written about the magnificent liners which once bestrode the ocean passenger lanes, representing the fulfillment of ambitious dreams for better or worse, but this one is unique, for it describes all those grandiose conceptions which were not fulfilled and which never went into passenger service at all.
Clearly, a 'grandiose' dream must be considered within the context of its times, and the authors have taken 20,000 tons as their minimum, making their book internationally comprehensive and set against the perspective of the current maritime scenes within this range. Some of the subject vessels would have dwarfed such giants as the QUEEN MARY and NORMANDIE. Others were built but became diverted by war (a few having dramatic - if unintended - careers); some were destroyed before completion, some were abandoned and others never left their drawing boards.
The title DAMNED BY DESTINY is apt, for there was nothing wrong with these liners which never appeared in service. Their designs were enlightened, often well ahead of their times, but economic, political or other forces 'Damned their Destiny'. The QUEEN MARYf one of the greatest of maritime successes, lay half-completed on her stocks, poised on the very Horns of Destiny, for two and a half years and could well have figured in this book. Harking back to mythology, it might be said that the Fates spin the strands of all ships' destinies but, as with men, some they cut prematurely and almost at random - as suggested on the front of this jacket. Had some of these doomed v essels gone into service, they would have changed the face of ocean travel and in the event, although they never had the chance to prove themselves, their influence was often apparent in liners which followed them.
This story, which has never been told before, is utterly absorbing, for it extends beyond the liners themselves to the very factors which dictated their respective fates. The reader may ponder on the likely success of some of the very early schemes but, for the rest, it was mainly a matter of inauspicious circumstance or timing, and not of their designs, which sealed their fates.
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