We are very sad to report that the celebrated writer and lecturer John Maxtone-Graham passed yesterday at the age of 85. The author of many ocean liner books, including the best selling “The Only Way To Cross”, is reported to have succumbed in a New Jersey hospice with his family by his side.
John and Mary Maxtone-Graham aboard the ROYAL PRINCESS in June of 2013. Photo and copyright Peter Knego.
Mr. Maxtone-Graham’s poetic style of writing and his charismatic onstage manner were an inspiration to generations of fans of ships and the sea. His breakthrough “The Only Way To Cross”, when published in 1972, was one of the first non-TITANIC books to capture the essence of the ocean liner. It was eventually joined by “Liners To The Sun” and “Crossing and Cruising”, forming a trio of “must have” works that grace the shelves of countless ship aficionados worldwide. The Maxtone-Graham catalog also includes the recently released “SS United States: Red, White, and Blue Riband Forever”, “SS France/Norway: France’s Last Liner/Norway’s First Megaship” and “Normandie: France’s Legendary Art Deco Liner” and dozens more.
Although born in New Jersey, his elegant mannerisms and British-sounding accent were self-described as “Transatlantic”. Always impeccably dressed, the former film producer and Broadway stage manager lit up the stage, both at sea and ashore, with his presentations and remained active on the lecturing circuit until very recently.
Survived by his wife Mary and four children, he will be sorely missed and never forgotten. Our deepest condolences to his family.
Having documented over 400 passenger ships and taken more than 200 cruises, MaritimeMatters’ co-editor Peter Knego is a leading freelance cruise writer, a respected ocean liner historian and frequent maritime lecturer both on land and at sea. With his work regularly featured in cruise industry trades and consumer publications. Knego also runs the www.midshipcentury.com website which offers MidCentury cruise ship furniture, artwork and fittings rescued from the shipbreaking yards of Alang, India. He has produced several videos on the subject, including his latest, The Sands Of Alang and the best-selling On The Road To Alang."
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