Kenneth J. Blume is a specialist in 19th century U.S. maritime, naval, and diplomatic history. He holds a Ph.D. from SUNY-Binghamton and is professor of history in the Department of Humanities and Communication, School of Arts and Sciences, Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. He is also the author of Historical Dictionary of U.S. Diplomacy from the Civil War to World War I (Scarecrow, 2005) and The A to Z of U.S. Diplomacy from the Civil War to World War I (Scarecrow, 2010).
Overall, this is an important addition to any reference collection on maritime trade and the historical and technological developments of this industry in the United States. * Pirates and Privateers * Blume (history, Albany Coll. of Pharmacy & Science; Historical Dictionary of U.S. Diplomacy from the Civil War to World War I) covers five centuries of maritime history and vessels, from 16th-century galleons to 21st-century supertankers. The preface is accompanied by a listing of acronyms and abbreviations and a chronology. The more than 400 cross-referenced entries that follow, which range from a few lines to half a page in length, describe companies, owners, ships, legislation, and the key features of overseas, coastal, lake, and river shipping. Wind-, steam-, and nuclear-powered vessels that have played important roles in U.S. economic history are also described. Four appendixes conclude the volume: "Significant Congressional Legislation," "Maritime Labor Unions," "Top 30 U.S. Ports in 2009," and "U.S. and World Fleets Since 1914." VERDICT Researchers and students of maritime history will find this title useful. * Library Journal * As this dictionary's introduction states, "the sea connects all things." This work connects the US maritime industry from 1776 to 2010 to American history in general. The focus is broad and far-ranging, covering ships, shipbuilding, companies, government policy, and maritime labor. Blume (Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences) also notes that American history has been the history of shipping from colonial days to the present. The maritime industry has had an uneasy relationship with state and federal governments throughout US history and has experienced a continual pattern of rise and decline. Most importantly Blume lays to rest the "myth" of American isolationism, claiming that the US has always been an internationalist country. Entries are alphabetical and cross-referenced, and range in length from a sentence to two or three pages. Readers will find a list of acronyms and abbreviations, a chronology, an 18-page introduction, appendixes, illustrations, and an excellent 37-page bibliography. This dictionary pilots readers through the vast history of the US maritime industry, avoiding the reefs and shoals usually associated with a one-volume work of this nature. Students and scholars will use it to their benefit. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates and above; general readers. * CHOICE * This compilation of 400 entries focuses on the financial, industrial, logistical, and economic aspects of maritime history in the U.S. from 1776 through 2010. Maritime historian and history professor Blume notes that "many Americans have forgotten the central role that ships played in the nation's history-and continue to play," despite the historical and continuing importance of the maritime industry to the economy: half of those in pursuit of riches during the California gold rush traveled by sea, and in 2009 44 percent of U.S. foreign trade was moved by shipping and 63 million passengers traveled on U.S. cruise lines. Entries encompass coastal, overseas, lake, and river shipping and include individuals (Cornelius Vanderbilt, Nathaniel Bowditch); specific vessels (Delta Queen, Exxon Valdez); companies and industries; waterways; shipping and cruise lines; ports; technological developments; and legislation and case law (Maguire Act of 1895, White Act of 1898). Entries range from a few lines to more than a page. This dictionary is true to its stated economic and industrial focus, providing figures on the cost and size of the Exxon Valdez oil spill and the economic impact of the slave trade and of piracy. Entries include maritime terminology (Load line, Crimps) supported by a list of acronyms and abbreviations (RO/RO for "roll on/roll off" and VLCC for "very large crude carrier"). A small number of historical and archival reproductions complement the entries. The entries are supplemented by appendixes listing significant legislation, maritime labor unions, top U.S. ports in foreign and domestic trade, and a comparison of the U.S. Flag Fleet and World Fleet in vessels and tonnage since 1914. Sources are not listed for these statistics, but the extensive bibliography, arranged by topic, does cite industry reports from the U.S. Department of Commerce and U.S. Maritime Administration, which are likely sources. There is no index, so users investigating, for example, fruit as a shipping commodity will need to know to look for the companies United Fruit and Standard Fruit and Steamship. The Historical Dictionary of the U.S. Maritime Industry is recommended for military or service-academy libraries, maritime museum libraries, and other academic libraries with strong maritime history, business, economics, or logistics collections. It may also interest larger public libraries in port cities or other areas populated by maritime history buffs. * Booklist * It is a singular act of courage in the age of online databases to produce a printed volume of this level of detail and comprehensiveness....The volume comes with a reasonably full set of scholarly apparatus: tables of abbreviations; timeline; introductory essay; tables of legislation, unions, ports and national statistics; and finally, a bibliography with another introductory essay....Generally, this is a very solid piece of work...it is quite possible to predict that Blume's work on the U.S. Maritime Industry may well be the last word on the subject. And with its wealth of entries and cross-reference, it is a job well done. * The Northern Mariner/Le Marin du nord * Anyone interested in American maritime history will find this erudite work of nearly six hundred pages surprisingly accessible, informative and useful. This is a book to dip into, rater than be read straight through and happily, the author remains perceptive and even-handed throughout. Blume's self-awareness is as sure as his knowledge of his subject. Here is a book that every student of American maritime history will want to keep close to his or her desk. * International Journal of Maritime History *