What could be more exciting than a large cruise ship on a collision course to disaster? I thought of A Night to Remember, The Poseidon Adventure, or Titanic. The Last Voyage of the Andrea Doria has the potential to be an equally great movie. However, as a book, not so much.
The book is extensively researched, and it shows. Literally, every fact discovered, whether relevant or not, is thrown into the mix. Pages on cruise ship passenger volume reductions due to competition from air travel. Chapters on cruise ship design and the aftermath of World War II on Italy. In addition, most of the cruisers’ stories are relayed to the nth degree. All are told—not shown. With 218 first class passengers, you can see why the collision doesn’t occur until 25% into the book. By that point, I was exhausted and had already started to skim read the rest.
If you are writer penning a story set on a 1950s cruise ship, this book would be an excellent resource for setting. Or if you love the history of maritime disasters, I highly recommend this book. However, for those readers, like me, looking for an exciting disaster thriller, look elsewhere. Or wait for the inevitable movie based on the book. That dichotomy makes the Last Voyage of the Andrea Doria difficult to rate. I’ll average it to 3 stars.
Thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.