‘A masterpiece!...A must have...Mark Chirnside has once again produced an outstanding piece of work



Chirnside, Mark. Oceanic: White Star's ‘Ship of the Century’. The History Press; November 2018. 144 pages. (Softcover)
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Oceanic was the largest ship in the world when she was launched in 1899. The White Star Line’s ‘Ship of the Century’, she was their last express liner before the Olympic and Titanic and her lavish first-class accommodation became renowned among Atlantic travellers. Serving on the company’s express service for fifteen years, she earned a reputation for running like clockwork. Days after the outbreak of war, she was commissioned into the Royal Navy and converted into an armed merchant cruiser. However, her new-found status was not to last – she grounded on the rocks off Foula, in the Shetlands, within weeks and became a total loss. When she was wrecked, she had on board Charles Lightoller, Titanic’s senior surviving officer. Oceanic: White Star’s ‘Ship of the Century’ is the first book that looks at the entire career of this one-of-a-kind flagship. With human anecdotes, hitherto unpublished material and rare illustrations, Mark Chirnside’s book is a beautiful tribute to a unique ocean liner.


‘I received Mark Chirnside's new Oceanic book from Amazon, UK - I'm not noted for my patience - the book in one word is "Fantastic" well worth the extra postage and I think it's a book that all ship lovers will like - great photos and just overall well done - a worthy book for this beautiful ship.’ – Ray Lepien, 8 November 2018. Facebook.

Got my copy yesterday and can't stop reading that. It's excellent! Full of pictures I've never seen and very comfortable to read! That's how you earned to be one of the foremost authors in this field - with quality research and passion to the subject. I'm also glad I attended your lecture in Belfast earlier this year.  I hope this is not your last work? – Pavel Chlupac, November 2018.

Got completely embroiled in it, great book…I have to be engaged by the book from page 1 for me to sit with it in one go and I was…it’s a labour of love, and it shows’. – Tony Cannings, 18 November 2018.  Facebook.

‘as I expected, it was a masterpiece!’ – Iwan Davies, 6 December 2018.

‘When I first saw the subject matter of Mark Chirnside's new book, Oceanic: ‘White Star's Ship of the Century’ I was perhaps a little unsure as to how much material he could find to fill a book relating to what I had previously considered to be one of the line's lesser-known vessels.

‘I should have known better than to cast doubts upon this author's capability to unearth the most minute details relating to his chosen subject!

‘Having devoured Mark's earlier books…I was prepared for an interesting read, but I consider that the author has surpassed the other books with this new one – probably because the subject has not been approached before, thereby making all of the information completely new to the reader.

‘A brief outline of the ship is that she was launched in 1899 when she was the world's largest ship and the final "Fast liner" built before Olympic and Titanic. During her fifteen year period of service, she gained a reputation for her luxurious first class accommodation and reliability.

‘She was commissioned into the Royal Navy within days of the outbreak of World War One and converted into an armed merchant cruiser. Within weeks, however, she ran aground on rocks near Foula in the Shetland Islands and became a total loss.

‘The author mentions details of her few mishaps during her career, and, like all ships, there were a few, yet this book impresses upon the reader just how popular a ship she was. Titanic's surviving officer, Charles Lightoller who was aboard Oceanic during her final voyage, wrote in his memoirs many years later "I was never so fond of any ship as the Oceanic either before or since."

‘For those with a general maritime interest, this book is a "must have" it contains a plethora of previously unpublished material including many fascinating photographs and drawings. The photographs of her first and second class passenger accommodations are breathtaking, whilst even her steerage quarters were good for the era.

‘In all, the author has managed to put together an easily readable and superb tribute to a much-loved ocean liner.’ – Geoff Whitfield, 23 December 2018. Encyclopedia-Titanica.

‘As a reader and enthusiast of Mark Chirnside’s books, I awaited the release of his latest work with great anticipation and once again, I haven’t been disappointed…
‘For those of you who have read and added The “Big Four” of the White Star Fleet to your collection, Oceanic: White Star’s “Ship of the Century” is in many ways the “sister” book and is beautifully illustrated with dozens of superb images; many of which we see for the first time.  Bringing together many of the world’s leading collectors, who generously allowed him access to their photographic collections and added to his remarkable skills as a world-class researcher, Mark Chirnside has once again produced an outstanding piece of work, which every serious shipping/White Star Line enthusiast should add to their library!’ – Clive Sweetingham. Atlantic Daily Bulletin December 2018: Page 38.

‘Mark Chirnside…first gives us an overview leading up to the building of the OceanicThe author makes good use of archival documents, newspaper reports, letters, and diaries to tell the story of the ship’s career.
One of the best features of this book is the plethora of unpublished photos of the Oceanic, many from the collection of Emil Gut.  These alone make the book worthy of purchase.  There is a large colour photo section that is filled with original paintings, postcards, menus, programs, passenger lists, and brochures.  If you are a collector of maritime memorabilia, you will enjoy this section immensely.
‘Those who want to know what life at sea was like during the early 1900s will be transported back in time through the rich text.  As on any ship, there is new life and deaths, accidents, parties, dancing, gala dinners, romance, foul weather, and clear sailing; each ship has a story.
‘Her encounter with the Titanic is of interest to many, and receives the proper coverage…If I had to find one fault, unlike some of Mark’s other books, this one is only lightly endnoted, so some sources and credits go unnamed.  Closing on this review, one of the nicknames for the ship was “The Queen of the Seas” and after reading this book, readers will agree that she truly was’.  – Mike Poirier, Voyage 107 Spring 2019: Page 120.


Readers with any documented corrections are invited to contact Mark in the hope that mistakes can be rectified in any future editions.



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