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Tourist Third Class: Steamship Travel in the Interwar Years (2003)

Front Cover, Tourist Third Class: Steamship Travel in the Interwar Years (2003)

ISBN 0-312-21429-4

Back Cover, Tourist Third Class: Steamship Travel in the Interwar Years (2003)

Tourist Third Cabin offers a window into a bygone era in which modern steamships like the Queen Mary, the Normandie, and the Olympic transported new breeds of tourists between Europe and North America and dazzled them with their technological marvels and palatial interiors.

The interwar period saw tie birth of mass transatlantic tourism as women, students, and ordinary people took to tie seas in search of education, fun, and freedom. It was also a period of tumultuous social and cultural change.

Historians Lorraine Coons and Alexander Varias offer an intimate glimpse of tbe microcosm of tie changing world that was the luxury liner. From crewmembers to passengers, ship decor to technological innovation, through labor unrest and political upheaval, we see tie social world and tie busi¬ness of travel at the dawn of the modern age.


  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Preface xiii
  • Chapter One Ocean Liners and the New Vistas of Interwar Society
  • Chapter Two From Immigrants to Tourists: The Changing Complexion of Transatlantic Passengers
  • Chapter Three “The Soul of a Ship”: Experience and Life of “Below-Deck” Personnel
  • Chapter Four “Traveling Palace” or “Floating Sweatshop”: The Experience of Women Seafarers
  • Chapter Five Projecting an Image: The Allure of Transatlantic Travel
  • Chapter Six The Controversies of Design: Modernism and Traditional Style on the Liners
  • Conclusion Liners in the Afterglow 229
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index

From the Back Cover

“The last great age of ocean liners was also a periotl of great changes: in clientele, design, and even the function of the giant passenger ships that traversed the Atlantic. Lorraine Coons and Alexander Varias have succeeded in recreating that social and cultural milieu. They take us into tlie cahins, the crew quarters, the luxurious public rooms, and the design studios o f the Q ueen Mary and Normandie. And while seeking to capture the common experience of these liners, they are also sensitive to the variations between classes, ships, and the very identity companies like Cunard or the French Line sought to project in modern times.”

—Michael Miller, Syracuse University

About the Authors

Lorraine Coons is Associate Professor of History, Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia.

Alexander Varias lectures in history and humanities, Villanova University.

Library of Congress Catalog Listing

Personal name
  • Coons, Lorraine.
Main title
  • Tourist third cabin : steamship travel in the interwar years / Lorraine Coons and Alexander Varias.
  • 1st ed.
  • New York : Palgrave Macmillan, 2003.


  • xxv, 294 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. ; 22 cm.


  • 0312214294

LC classification (full)

  • G550 .C723 2003

LC classification (partial)

  • G550

Related names

  • Varias, Alexander, 1953-


  • Ocean travel--History--20th century.
  • Steamboat lines--History--20th century.
  • Steamboats--History--20th century.


  • Includes bibliographical references (p. [277]-285) and index.


  • 2003046022

Dewey class no.

  • 910.4/5/09042

Type of material

  • Book

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