||Fred M. Walker
||Naval Institute Press
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The design and construction of vessels has evolved over thousands of years, to produce huge and very complex moveable structures. Without them, modem society as we know it simply could not exist. However, in this evolution, the eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth centuries saw perhaps the most dramatic and significant changes to the construction and design, when it became more of a science than an art. This came about at a time of great social and political change. The ship design and construction is essentially a team activity conducted by professional engineers within the frames of theirr respective disciplines and fields, often in several countries. However, during this period, a number of individuals made a significant contribution and can rightly claim to have been 'pioneers of ship design and construction'. Many times, whilst their achievements and lasting legacy may be familiar to those involved in the design/construction of vessels, the individuals themselves are less well known, if at all. In his pen portraits of such professionals, Fred Walker not only describes their achievements, but in doing so charts the development of ship design and construction, seen in the context of the social and economic changes which shaped their lives and work. It is most appropriate that this book should be published in the year when the RINA celebrates the 150th anniversary of its founding in I860, since many of those whose achievements Fred M. Walker describes made their contributions to ship design and construction as members of the RINA.