What I remember: Harry Grattidge was one of the last captains of the RMS Queen Mary and RMS Queen Elizabeth, once the premier ocean liners in the world and the pride of Britain's Cunard Line. CAPTAIN OF THE QUEENS tells Grattidge's story from his days as a lowly cabin boy aboard a sailing ship, his coming of age at sea, and his rise to the highest rank at Cunard.
The rest of the recollection: I read this in a volume of Readers' Digest Condensed Books and recall being completely captivated. I don't remember exactly when I read it, but it would probably have been around 7th or 8th grade. I was fascinated by ships and airplanes and spacecraft and really cool acts of engineering in general.
|Queen Mary in 1945, in troopship livery|
The other was on the order of "don't get cocky kid:" On his first voyage as captain of Queen Mary, he ran her aground in harbor...
And now: Still a fascinating and captivating read of a bygone era, telling Grattidge's life story wrapped around an account of his last voyage in 1953 as captain of Queen Elizabeth. Although written for adults, I think it would still appeal to young adults who enjoy history or historical fantasy of the steam and diesel eras.