October 10, 2004
MY BOOK REVIEW: “QE2: THE CUNARD LINE FLAGSHIP”
The full title of the book is "QE2: The Cunard Line Flagship, Queen Elizabeth 2" by Captain Ronald W. Warwick. 3rd Edition 1999
This is the 2nd book that I have read (so far) about the QE2, and I have a few more to read.
The 1st was a perspective from the passenger side in a special limited edition commemorative book by Carol Thatcher - daughter of the famous UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. I will write a review of that soon!
This one is very special as it is written from the captain's perspective, versus the "passenger" or the "company" side. The man, who has lived, breathed and worked on the amazing QE2. This makes it especially intriguing and very readable.
It tells the story of the history of the ship from before conception up to just before the 1999 refit, and before the final take over of Cunard.
Is it the best written book in the world? Probably not, but that does not matter in the slightest. It is written by and from a unique perspective, with a style that is very pleasant to read and the images fascinating.
The book follows a chronology of the QE2. At parts it does tend to become a bit more of a list of events (we went there, and then we went there etc). What is missing is what Captain Warwick thinks about the places they have been, the events and the people. He does not give any real commentary on any of these topics, preferring to give a factual and relatively impassionate account. I would loved to have read more of his insights and opinions, as it seems from what I have read elsewhere that he is a very entertaining, thoughtful and charming man.
Some of the most fascinating bits to me in the book included: (1) The story of the requisitioning of the QE2 for the Falklands War, how the ship was adapated and their experiences - included iceberg dodging!, (2) The pace and number of updates and refits to the ship, and what each change involved, (3) The problems over the years like the hitting the reef, the 95" rogue wave etc and (4) the times the QE2 has diverted to rescue those in peril.
Would I recommend this book to anyone who wants to find out about the QE2? Absolutely. This is one book I am sure I will read again once I have been on the ship in December, as then a lot of what he writes about will be even more vivid.