The United States Merchant Marine in World War I

Ships, Crews, Shipbuilders and Operators

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SKU: 9781476667034 Categories: , , , ,

About the Book

During World War I, the American Merchant Marine meant dangerous duty. Sailors on cargo ships faced the daily threat of enemy submarines, along with the usual hazards of life at sea, and help was rarely close enough for swift rescues.
Pre-war shipping in America depended mainly on foreign vessels, but with the outbreak of war these were no longer available. Construction began quickly on new ships, most of which were not completed until long after the end of the war. Drawing on contemporary newspapers, magazines and trade publications, and Shipping Board, Department of Commerce and Coast Guard records, this book provides the first complete overview of the American Merchant Marine during World War I. Detailed accounts cover the expansion of trans–Atlantic shipping, shipbuilding records 1914–1918, operating companies, ship losses from enemy action, the role of the Naval Overseas Transportation Service and mariner experiences.

About the Author(s)

Greg H. Williams served four years in the Navy, including duty on the converted Liberty ship USS Granville S. Hall (YAG–40). He was one of 27 volunteer crewmen who made the entire five month voyage from San Francisco to Europe on the Jeremiah O’Brien in 1994 for the 50th anniversary of the Normandy Invasion. He lives near Noti, Oregon.

Bibliographic Details

Greg H. Williams
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 472
Bibliographic Info: 6 photos, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2017
pISBN: 978-1-4766-6703-4
eISBN: 978-1-4766-2672-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface 1
Introduction 3
Part One: Prelude to War 7
1. The Ascension of Germany 8
2. The Arming of Merchant Ships 10
Part Two: The War in Europe 13
3. Breakout of War 14
4. Submarines 22
Part Three: America’s Early Role in the War 25
5. 1915—American Ships Face the Dangers 26
6. 1916—A Year of Tension for America 49
7. 1917—Ties Are Broken 63
Part Four: America Goes to War 81
8. A Declaration of War 82
9. Setting Up Shop in Europe 84
10. Finding the Path to Victory 86
Part Five: The Shipbuilders and Operators 117
11. The Steamship Companies 118
12. Ship Construction 218
13. Ship Construction by Shipyard, 1914–1918 225
14. The Naval Overseas Transportation Service 361
Part Six: Shutting Up the Hornets 375
15. The End at Sea 376
16. American Ship Losses 382
17. The Final Tally 442
Conclusion: Toward the Future 445
Bibliography 447
Index 449

Book Reviews & Awards

“Williams brings impressive credentials to the table as both a mariner and a writer…[Williams] has done a highly valuable service to everyone with an interest in the history of the American merchant marine…one of those highly useful books that should find its way to the bookshelves of anyone with an interest in the First World War of the history of American shipping”—The Northern Mariner.