The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Ships, Boats, Vessels and Other Water-Borne Craft by Graham Blackburn

Read: 3 August, 2008

This is a huge reference work that covers most time periods and geographical locations. The edition I read used a handwritten style that made it look like someone’s notebook. I found this done in a tasteful and practical way (the writing was perfectly legible) and it added a certain amount of charm to the book.

There were many illustrations, all done in the same style as the handwriting. They were detailed, but still had that hand-drawn look to them. Again, I found it charming as well as useful. They were well labelled so that the areas they were supposed to show were quite clear.

Since the book is about types of ships, entries were quickly bogged down with nautical terms that sometimes made them a little confusing. There was a glossary at the back, but I found the entries to be somewhat short and didn’t always answer my question. Really, this is the major flaw in the book – entries are short and don’t provide a good level of detail. However, as a reference work, it functions well as an overview and jumping off point. Overall, well worth the time for anyone with a passing interest in ships, boats, etc.

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