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Download A Man and His Ship: America’s Greatest Naval Architect and His Quest to Build the SS United States Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample A Man and His Ship: America’s Greatest Naval Architect and His Quest to Build the SS United States, by Steven Ujifusa Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (66 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Steven Ujifusa Narrator: Pete Larkin Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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In the tradition of David McCullough’s grand histories, the sweeping story of one man’s quest to build the fastest, finest ocean liner in history—set against the politics, culture, and enterprise of twentieth century America.

The story of a great American builder.

At the peak of his power, in the 1940s and 1950s, William Francis Gibbs was considered America’s best naval architect.

His quest to build the finest, fastest, most beautiful ocean liner of his time, the SS United States, was a topic of national fascination. When completed in 1952, the ship was hailed as a technological masterpiece at a time when “made in America” meant the best.

Gibbs was an American original, on par with John Roebling of the Brooklyn Bridge and Frank Lloyd Wright of Fallingwater. Forced to drop out of Harvard following his family’s sudden financial ruin, he overcame debilitating shyness and lack of formal training to become the visionary creator of some of the finest ships in history. He spent forty years dreaming of the ship that became the SS United States.

William Francis Gibbs was driven, relentless, and committed to excellence. He loved his ship, the idea of it, and the realization of it, and he devoted himself to making it the epitome of luxury travel during the triumphant post–World War II era. Biographer Steven Ujifusa brilliantly describes the way Gibbs worked and how his vision transformed an industry. A Man and His Ship is a tale of ingenuity and enterprise, a truly remarkable journey on land and sea.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Few of man’s creations possess even half the romance of the passenger ships that once steamed across the world’s oceans, especially the North Atlantic. That is why Steven Ujifusa’s A Man and His Ship is such a compelling work.”

    Wall Street Journal

  • “In his debut, Ujifusa harks back to a time when men were men, and transatlantic ships were serious business…Written with passion and thoroughness, this is a love letter to a bygone time and the ships that once ruled the seas.”

    Publishers Weekly, starred review

  • “Ujifusa describes the construction of the ship in engrossing detail and provides informative digressions on the golden age of ocean travel, when liners carried millionaires, celebrities, and desperate refugees.”

    Booklist

  • “A terrific book! By entertaining, informing and ultimately inspiring, A Man and His Ship transforms its readers into passengers traveling across an ocean and through time. A skilled verbal navigator, Steven Ujifusa has charted an efficient and yet immensely satisfying course through a sea of facts, images and stories.”

    David Macaulay, author of Cathedral, Castle, and The Way Things Work

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Mclaughlin725 | 11/24/2013

    " Really an enjoyable well written book. My only complaint was that it could have been about 75 pages shorter. Too much detail at some points took away from a great story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Abby | 4/18/2013

    " Great, readable work for anyone who loves anything maritime. Fascinating history of a beautiful ship and the man devoted to her. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Mike Morano | 11/14/2012

    " Great book about a great ship "

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About the Author

Steven Ujifusa serves on the Advisory Council of the SS United States Conservancy. He received his master’s degree in historic preservation and real estate from the University of Pennsylvania and his BA in history from Harvard University.