Carmania Press was founded by Anthony Cooke in 1991.
He had recently finished writing his first maritime book, Emigrant
, for which he had signed a contract with a publisher. In
the event, the publisher got into financial difficulties and was unable to
go ahead. Cooke therefore decided to publish it himself. He chose the name
Carmania Press because an old friend who had recently died had been the
son of the last captain of the famous Cunard liner Carmania (1905-1932).
It seemed a good name for a maritime publishing house.
The success of Emigrant
Ships led other authors to approach him with book projects. They
included two of the leading shipping writers of the day - Laurence Dunn
and William H. Miller. Laurence Dunn's Thames Shipping
continually in print ever since Carmania published it in 1992 and is now
in its fourth impression. The American Bill Miller has now written eight
books for Carmania, mainly about the great ocean liners on which he is a
1996, Cooke was approached by Maurizio Eliseo and Paolo Piccione, two
brilliant young Italian authors who were working on an English language
book about the Costa Line and its ships. Would he be interested?
The answer was 'yes' and this started a close association which has
continued to this day. Indeed, Eliseo has recently become a partner in
Carmania. As a result of this connection, Carmania these days also imports
some spectacular shipping books from Italy. Other important authors who
have written for Carmania include Theodore W. Scull, Clive Harvey and
Bruce Peter. And Anthony Cooke, himself, continues to produce shipping
books when he can find the time to research and write them - notably his
Liners & Cruise Ships
The firm has recently branched out into the art book
field with Cunarder, a large hardback volume of fine
reproductions of the ship paintings of Stephen J. Card which hang on board
the QE2 and the new Queen Mary 2. High quality has always been one of
Carmania's aims and its instantly recognisable softback books printed on
the best art paper and with superbly reproduced illustrations, have
achieved an enviable reputation. And recently published, Liners of the
Golden Age: A Pictorial Record of Passenger Ships in the 1930s, is a
substantial hardback - still, though, splendidly produced and illustrated
with 300 amazing illustrations, many never published before. As one would
expect of a book jointly authored by William H. Miller, Anthony Cooke and
Maurizio Eliseo, Liners of the Golden Age
is receiving golden opinions.
Following that success,
Carmania has published a companion volume to Stephen Cardís hugely
successful Cunarder. This features fine
reproductions of Captain Cardís paintings of famous Holland America
vessels. Most of these beautiful pictures currently hang on board Holland
America ships, whilst others are in private collections. The book forms a
handsome record of the development of this famous fleet, from the very
early liners to the present-day cruise ships. Eighty-four paintings are
faithfully reproduced and there are also sixteen pen-and-ink drawings.
Each painting is accompanied by a page of text detailing the shipís
career. The book also contains a detailed fleet list, a biography of
Captain Stephen Card and a chapter on the paints and other materials
favoured by him. This is a major 2006 title for maritime
Most recently, Carmania has published a major new look at the Fred Olsen Line:
Fred. Olsen & Co. of Oslo is proudly Norwegian, but it also has strong British connections. Dating back to 1848, Fred. Olsen & Co. is currently involved in many aspects of the shipping and energy business, yet the firm is perhaps better known for its ferries and, above all, its cruise ships, which are among the most popular vessels in the British market.
And there are always more Carmania
titles to come!