Ships for Victory
A History of Shipbuilding under the U.S. Maritime Commission in World War II
With Blanche D. Coll, Gerald J. Fischer and David B. Tyler, Preface by Arthur Donovan
During World War II, America's shipbuilding industry, mobilized under the U.S. Maritime Commission, set records of production that have never been equaled. Given the daunting task of building ships faster than they were being sunk, shipbuilding firms across the country found new ways to increase their efficiency and scale of production. Huge new shipyards were built, a labor force of 640,000 was employed, and over 55 million deadweight tons of ocean-going ships were delivered, including the famous Liberty and Victory ships. First published in 1951, Ships for Victory chronicles this remarkable wartime program in magisterial detail: the development of revolutionary construction methods; the upheavals in management, awarding of contracts, and allocation of steel and other materials; the recruitment, training, housing, and union activities of the workers; the crises, confusions, and scandals that arose; and the role of shipbuilding within the total war effort.
About the Authors
Frederic C. Lane (1900-1984) was a noted maritime historian of medieval and Renaissance Venice. Among his many books are Venetian Ships and Shipbuilders of the Renaissance and Venice, A Maritime Republic, both available from Johns Hopkins. Arthur Donovan is a professor of humanities at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy.
"Tells the story of the gigantic task accomplished by American shipyards during World War II... This important book shows how the development of streamlined methods of construction made possible standards of production which would have seemed fantastic only a few years before."
"An excellent and very readable account of the U.S. Maritime Commission's experience... The volume is thoroughly documented; the authors are always thoughtful of the reader in explaining technical shipping terms; and the approach is dispassionate, frank, and duly critical. The volume represents a fine addition to our wartime administrative histories."
"Lane has done a pioneering job in this scholarly and monumental history of shipbuilding under the U.S. Maritime Commission in World War II... Not only a highly informative but an absorbing book."
"A warts and all account of an economic and manufacturing miracle. A brilliant book."
"This excellent book describe the whole programme in great detail."
"The shipbuilding program of the U. S. Maritime Commission in WW II was one of the greatest industrial efforts in our history—and the most successful. In four years it produced just under 6,000 ships! This book provides the most complete account ever written of that magnificent program and is a wonderful resource for historians, researchers and ship enthusiasts. The original 1951 edition has been almost impossible to obtain and I applaud the Johns Hopkins Press for their decision to reprint this invaluable work."
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