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William M. Fowler Jr.

Steam Titans – Cunard, Collins, and the Epic Battle for Commerce on the North Atlantic

Bloomsbury USA

Before Jobs versus Gates, there was Cunard versus Collins. Steam Titans is a high tech, high stakes chronicle of the birth of steam-powered shipping, the death of sail, and the economic ascendency of New York and the United States. The cast of characters is almost impossible to keep straight, and it’s easy to get bogged down in the minutiae of maritime engineering and arcane finance. Still, when the ships put to sea, racing against time and their rivals, the book flies along. Fowler draws from naval documents, personal and business correspondence, and the brazenly partisan newspapers that followed the action.

– Bruce Collier

 

 

EDITOR’S PICKS – GIANTS REAL AND IMAGINED

Al Franken, Giant of the Senate. Back in the late ‘70s, Senator Franken seemed about as likely as Senator John Blutarsky. But, as Franken is happy to remind us, he’s worked hard since he was (barely) elected to represent his home state of Minnesota in 2008. The audiobook, narrated by Franken, serves as a reminder that the former Saturday Night Live writer-actor-producer, is still funny as ever, especially when he’s ripping on Ted Cruz.

 

John Gilstrap, Final Target. Gilstrap’s latest Jonathan Graves paperback original finds our hero and his trusty sidekick fighting a Mexican drug cartel with a bunch of kiddies along for the ride.

 

Karin Slaughter, The Good Daughter. A one night stand followed by a school shooting, followed by gasp-inducing revelations about two sisters’ nightmarish history. Twists and turns are managed skillfully by one of the best thriller writers working today.

 

Jason Zinoman, Letterman: The Last Giant of Late Night. Pages upon pages of reminders that Fallon, Kimmel, Colbert, et al. are just filling air time.

– Chris Manson
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