I'm not quite sure why this Ladybird book appealed to me, I don't have a particular interest in ships. But there was something about it when I saw it in a charity shop recently, and so I picked it up.
The Story of Ships comes from Series 601, the 'Achievements' series. It was first published in 1961, alongside other titles such as The Story of Flight and The Story of the Motor Car.
It's an extremely comprehensive look at ships and shipbuilding over the years. The book begins with the very first boats - a hollowed out log which led to the first canoe. These boats became ships when the sail was developed, meaning that they could travel far longer distances. The book suggests that the very first ships were build more than five thousand years ago, by the ancient Egyptians. There are some lovely illustrations of early ships from countries across the world, similar and yet with their own distinctive features.
It's fascinating to follow the history of shipbuilding through both the words and pictures. The final page of the book hints towards the ships of the future, in particular those that will use atomic power to enable them to sail for long periods of time without refuelling. Although talked about in the book as an exciting, and imminent, development I don't think this is something that has really taken off. There is also only a very brief mention in the book of using ships for transporting cargo, and only in reference to the Royal Merchant Navy. Also only a couple of ocean liners are mentioned - The Queen Mary and the Queen Elizabeth, with no hint at how cruise ships would increase in size and popularity over the next few decades.
Another fascinating book from Ladybird which has taught me a lot! I'm joining in again with Ladybird Tuesday over at Being Mrs C, you can see all my previous Ladybird Tuesday posts here.