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A Man and His Ship

A Man and His Ship

America's Greatest Naval Architect and His Quest to Build the S.S. United States

THE STORY OF A GREAT AMERICAN BUILDER AT the peak of his power, in the 1940s and 1950s, William Francis Gibbs was considered America’s best naval architect. His quest to build the finest, fastest, most beautiful ocean liner of his time, the S.S. United States, was a topic of national fascination. When completed in 1952, the ship was hailed as a technological masterpiece at a time when “made in America” meant the best. Gibbs was an American original, on par with John Roebling of the Brooklyn Bridge and Frank Lloyd Wright of Fallingwater. Forced to drop out of Harvard following his family’s sudden financial ruin, he overcame debilitating shyness and lack of formal training to become the visionary creator of some of the finest ships in history. He spent forty years dreaming of the ship that became the S.S. United States. William Francis Gibbs was driven, relentless, and committed to excellence. He loved his ship, the idea of it, and the realization of it, and he devoted himself to making it the epitome of luxury travel during the triumphant post–World War II era. Biographer Steven Ujifusa brilliantly describes the way Gibbs worked and how his vision transformed an industry. A Man and His Ship is a tale of ingenuity and enterprise, a truly remarkable journey on land and sea.
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  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 448 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451645095 | 
  • June 2013
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Video

America's Greatest Naval Architect and His Quest to Build the S.S. United States

Author Steven Ujifusa reveals the inspiration behind his book A MAN AND HIS SHIP. At the peak of his power, in the 1940s and 1950s, William Francis Gibbs was considered America’s best naval architect.

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About the Author

Steven Ujifusa
Shira Yudkoff

Steven Ujifusa

Steven Ujifusa serves on the Advisory Council of the S.S. United States Conservancy. He received his master’s degree in historic preservation and real estate from the University of Pennsylvania and his BA in history from Harvard University.

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