Rochester, 1st.ed., 2001. 512 pp., 30 photo-plates. D.j., 24 x 16cm. FINE. An amazing 2,710 'Liberty' ships were launched during the Second World War, the most numerous type of merchant ship built during the conflict. Constructed to replace sunken tonnage in the Allied fleets, these ships were produced over a period of less than four years and more than 200 of their number were lost by enemy action. The ability of American shipyards to turn these ships out quicker than the U-boats could sink them, kept the vital Atlantic supply lines open and ultimately brought about Allied victory in the Battle of the Atlantic. The author tells the complete story of the Liberty ships from the inception of the design, through to massive shipbuilding production and the wartime careers of the vessels, as well as the peacetime service of the survivors. Their story is told largely by those who built and sailed in the ships and there are accounts of heroism and endurance experienced by their crews. There is also an account of efforts to preserve surviving examples of these remarkable stout vessels that were only meant to last a voyage or two. In addition to sailing under the US flag, Liberty ships went on Lend-Lease to Russia and Great Britain. With the latter they served with Cunard, Brocklebank, Lamport & Holt, Glen, Ellermans, Paddy Henderson, Blue Funnel, Elder Dempster, Royal Mail, Houlders, Clan, PSNC, Bank Line, T & J Harrison, Furness Withy, P&O, Booth, Anchor, Prince, Blue Star, Port, and many other British shipping lines. Illustrated with 30 photographs, the attractive dust jacket shows a Liberty ship in the Mersey in 1943 from a painting by Brian Entwhistle. FINE copy.