My Books

Maritime Works by J. Kent Layton


On A Sea of Glass:
The Life & Loss of the RMS Titanic


The Edwardian Superliners:
A Trio of Trios

Lucy-coverLusitania: An Illustrated Biography The Unseen AquitaniaThe Unseen Aquitania:
The Ship in Rare Illustrations
Conspiracies at Sea - Titanic and Lusitania

Conspiracies at Sea:
itanic and Lusitania

TUM-1907The Unseen Mauretania [1907]:
The Ship in Rare Illustrations
TALTransatlantic Liners TStMTitanic: Solving the Mysteries

This page is designed to bring all of the author’s books and other offerings together in one place for you to learn about. They are truly a lifetime’s work – I have been studying TitanicLusitania, and the other great liners for decades, and each of these is truly a reflection of my passion for these liners. I have invested a great deal of time and effort into each of these volumes, and I hope that you as a reader can sense the effort and care that I spent on each.

For starters, let me take a moment to thank all those who have contributed to my books and web site over the years. All contributors are acknowledged, and are very much appreciated. Without the help of generous contributors from around the world, whose offerings supplement my own collection of items, these books would never have achieved their finished beauty and scope. My humblest thanks to all of you for your help through the years.

Most of my books are large-format, while one is modest in size, but packed with information and illustrations; some are hardcover, some are softcover; some have been available for a few years, while others have not even been released in the U.S. yet. Each tells a story, and is part of a larger, growing narrative. In fact, my research is never complete, and each new release brings interesting new gems to readers.

I have decided to make some of my books available for purchase from this page. All payments are made securely via PayPal, where you can pay by any major credit card; you don’t even have to have a PayPal account.

Please be sure to click the right button for where you live, as prices have been arranged to account for sales tax within New York State, as well as for the difference in cost to ship volumes domestically versus internationally.

Shipping Fees & Ordering Multiple Copies:
Unfortunately, international shipping prices are quite high, but these are passed on to buyers only at cost – large companies like Amazon can obtain discounts with shippers, or at times take a loss on shipping fees, whereas I can not. However, if you would like to purchase more than one book at a time, please use the form on my contact page to request a quote; I can then invoice you directly via PayPal.

Please note: Although I am trying to replenish my stock in short order, I am not guaranteeing Christmas delivery, since it may take time for my stock to arrive. Thank you for your patience.

For customers outside the United States, keep in mind that the shipping fee shown below is at cost. International shipping rates are prohibitively expensive, particularly for heavy objects such as these volumes.

OASOGOn A Sea of Glass: The Life & Loss of the R.M.S. Titanic
Amberley Books

by Tad Fitch, J. Kent Layton and Bill Wormstedt
Introduction by George Behe,
with cover artwork by Robert Lloyd.

One hundred years after the sinking of the Titanic, the history of that ship was commemorated in this all new and incredibly comprehensive volume. It is now in its third edition.

Co-authored with Tad Fitch and Bill Wormstedt, two well-known and highly respected researchers of the disaster, On A Sea of Glass reveals the history of the Titanic as you have never read it before. From the personal stories, to the most accurate timeline of events during the sinking of the ship yet compiled, to the common misconceptions – nothing is beyond this volume’s scope.

The narrative portion of the book reads chronologically, taking the reader from the ship’s initial concept, through construction, launch, fitting out, trials, and her disastrous maiden voyage. It is backed up by the team’s many years of research into the subject; the collective knowledge of other researchers such as Sam Halpern, George Behe, Mike Poirier, Bruce Beveridge, and many others has also been tapped to bring you one of the most accurate and informative texts ever written on the subject. More than just a dry dissertation of facts, this volume’s text engages and engrosses the reader, placing you aboard the ship in way you may never have thought possible before…

This volume is also packed with photos and illustrations, including a full-color section. Finally, a comprehensive series of appendices tackle a series of ‘hot’, oft-debated topics and considers each dispassionately, including these:

  • Did ship’s officers shoot passengers, or did one commit suicide?
  • Was the Titanic switched with her similar sister ship Olympic?
  • Was Titanic‘s construction of a poor nature, contributing to her loss?
  • What became of Captain Smith and Thomas Andrews?
  • How did the ship’s final five minutes play out, and how did she break up, from a technical perspective?
  • Was the ship trying to make New York on Tuesday night rather than Wednesday morning?

All of these questions, and many more, are answered within this volume. Finally, a series of comprehensive endnotes provides a scholarly-level of citation back to original source material, and also expands information presented in the text.

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  • “A chance to experience Titanic‘s story like never before.” – Shipping Today and Yesterday.
  • “A must have book… a definitive source.” – Mike Poirier, Encyclopedia Titanica, co-author of Into The Danger Zone: Sea Crossings of the First World War.

On A Sea of Glass: The Life & Loss of the RMS Titanic was also nominated for the 2012 Mountbatten Maritime Award by the Maritime Foundation in Great Britain.

A Limited Signed & Numbered edition has also been made available exclusively through the authors.

  • 1st Edition March, 2012 (Hardcover) (Sold out)
    2nd Edition July 2013 (Hardcover) (Sold out)
    3rd Edition June 2015 (Softcover) (In stock, ready to ship)
  • 10″ h x 7.1″ w (2nd, 3rd Editions); 8.5″ w x 12″ h (1st Edition)
  • ISBN-10: 144564701X (3rd edition)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1445647012 (3rd edition)
  • 3rd Edition Softcover

Click here for more details on this volume.

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TALTransatlantic Liners
Shire Books
1st Edition 2012
2nd Edition 2014

Since the end of the nineteenth century there has been a stunning succession of transatlantic liners, from White Star’s Oceanic of 1899 to Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 of 2004. These floating palaces contained luxurious accommodations for their wealthy travelers, and infinitely more basic accommodations for the poorer travelers. The engineering that went into building them was constantly evolving, ever on the cutting edge. These great liners competed with each other to hold the titles of “world largest,” “most luxurious” and “world’s fastest.” Many of these vessels – including Mauretania, Olympic, the first Queen Mary and France – had long and glorious careers; others – Titanic, Lusitania, and Normandie among them suffered tragic endings. In this book, you will see what life was like for passengers in the heyday of the superliners, and how they and their legacy live on today.

  • February 2012, Shire Books (Shire Library Series)
  • 2nd Edition
  • Book size: A5
  • Softcover
  • ISBN-10: 0747810877
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747810872
  • 64 high-quality pages, all in full color
  • 84 photos and illustrations

Read more about Shire Publications here.
Read more details about this volume here.

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ESLThe Edwardian Superliners: A Trio of Trios
Amberley Books
1st Edition May 2012
2nd Edition June 2013

‘… so crammed with remarkable photographs, information, facts and figures that it is almost as sumptuous as the older liners, which are the subject of this magnificent volume. … The Edwardian Superliners, A Trio of Trios by J. Kent Layton is destined to be recognised as the definitive work on this golden age of ocean travel.’ – Southern Daily Echo, 19 August 2012 [First Edition review].

During the Edwardian Era, three of the greatest steamship companies in the world Cunard, White Star, and Hamburg-Amerika were deadlocked in a race for supremacy on the North Atlantic. They needed to expand their fleets, and with technology making tremendous leaps and bounds at the time, these vessels would be a whole new breed of superliners. In order to achieve a balanced weekly service on the Atlantic, each company commissioned the construction of three liners, and they became the marvels of their age. Indeed their names became legendary and even now, a century and more since they were conceived, the very mention of these vessels stirs the fires of the imagination. Born into a world on the edge of precipice, their lives did not unfold as originally intended. Some found disaster, while others managed to deal with a changing world and carry thousands of passengers safely across the Atlantic during lengthy and prestigious careers. Each of these nine ships, this ‘trio of trios,’ is given an unprecedented in-depth review in this book. They are seen as individuals and as part of a larger whole.

This is an unprecedented look at Cunard’s Lusitania, Mauretania and Aquitania, White Star’s Olympic, Titanic and Britannic, and Hamburg Amerika’s Imperator (later Berengaria), Vaterland (later Leviathan) and Bismarck (later Majestic).

  • Amberley Books
  • 2012 (First Edition); 2013 (Second Edition)
  • Book size: 8.5″ w x 12″ h x 1.5″ d (A4 interior pgs)
  • Hardcover with dustjacket
  • ISBN-10: 1445614383 (2nd Edition)
  • ISBN-13: 978-1445614380 (2nd Edition)
  • Over 450 high-quality pages
  • 750 photos & illustrations
  • Full color section with over 75 rare images
  • 11 ship plans

Click here for more information.

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Lucy-coverLusitania: An Illustrated Biography
(Amberley Books)
1st Edition December 2010
2nd Edition May 2015

Today the Lusitania is remembered mostly for her tragic sinking on May 7, 1915, and the political ramifications of that disaster. That sinking, however, was merely the startling and grim finale to an incredibly eventful life, the death of one legend and the beginning of another.

This all-new volume relives the entire life of the Lusitania, from her beginnings to her demise; it is an unprecedented biography of the great ship and the people who sailed on her. From the ship’s technical design features to the greatest events in her career, her story is told in both words and pictures. Hundreds of photographs and illustrations, breathtaking new artwork, and all-new plans of the ship reveal the liner as never before…

The first edition of this critically-acclaimed book was released in 2010; a special revised version with new material was released in time for the 2015 centennial anniversary of the sinking.

Note: For those who were familiar with my similarly-titled book from 2007, (Lusitania: An Illustrated Biography of the Ship of Splendor; hardcover and softcover editions by Lulu Books), make sure to pick up the all-new 424-page volume by Amberley Books in the United Kingdom. The paper in the new volume is thick and glossy, and photo reproduction quality is razor-sharp. All corrections from the 2007 book have been rolled into the text, the text itself has been expanded, and the photographic and illustrative material has been profoundly increased and improved. The book also includes all new color artwork by digital artist Tom Lear. The excellent Introduction by Mike Poirier and Jim Kalafus has been retained from the 2007 book, as has the special Survivor’s Note by Barbara Anderson McDermott. This, by far the largest book ever published about the Lusitania, is not a book to be missed by any liner enthusiast. Secure your copy of the 2015 Centennial Edition today!

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TUM-1907The Unseen Mauretania (1907): The Ship in Rare Illustrations
The History Press

This fine hardback volume has been prepared to celebrate the life and career of one of the greatest ships ever to conquer the North Atlantic. It tells her life in words and photographs. As the title of the book implies, archives and personal collections from around the world have been scoured in order to present a breathtaking, and as “unseen” as possible, visual record of the life of Cunard’s great speedster Mauretania. This book is not to be missed for any liner enthusiast!

  • June 2015 (UK)
  • ISBN: 9780750959575
  • Hardcover with dustjacket
  • 176 pages
  • 10.3″ x 10.2″ x 1″
  • 227 black-and-white photos and illustrations
  • 39 color photos and illustrations

Click here for more information.

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The Unseen Aquitania: The Ship in Rare Illustrations
The History Press
by J. Kent Layton & Tad Fitch

This fine hardback volume has been prepared to celebrate the life and career of one of the greatest ships ever to conquer the North Atlantic. Her career spanned more time than nearly every other Atlantic liner, and she served with distinction during the course of two world wars. She was one of the greatest success stories of the North Atlantic. This volume tells her history in words and pictures, and includes the finest, highest-quality collection of photographs and illustrations yet compiled about the history of this oft-forgotten liner.

  • 1 Nov. 2016 (UK)
  • ISBN: 9780750967358
  • Hardcover with dustjacket
  • 184 pages, including a 24-page color section
  • 10.3″ x 10.2″ x 1″
  • 197 black-and-white photos and illustrations
  • 53 color photos and illustrations

Click here for more information.

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Conspiracies at Sea: Titanic & Lusitania
Amberley Books

Many conspiracy theories about the Titanic and Lusitania have cropped up over the decades. Some are patently ludicrous, while others contain at least a measure of truth. While no volume could tackle every conspiracy theory ever dreamt up about these two ships, this book tackles the most popular of them head-on. It presents facts to help readers understand what is behind the theories, and what the evidence actually indicates. Many startling new details were unearthed in the research for this publication. For example, questions about the second explosion that occurred on the Lusitania led to extensive research and new findings on the length of time separating the two blasts, and even where the torpedo struck the ship. It’s a real “reader’s read”, with plenty of text to keep you engrossed for hours.

  • 15 October 2016 (UK)
  • ISBN: 9781445653938
  • Paperback
  • 320 pages, plus 64 pages of photographs and illustrations
  • 9.2″ x 6.2″ x 1.2″
  • 123 black-and-white photos and illustrations

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And what’s next? There are more on the way…

Other items available for sale:

Lusitania plans-c2010-jklRMS LUSITANIA
1/350 Scale General Arrangement Plans

A series of general arrangement plans which I drew to represent the Lusitania‘s 1907 ‘as-built’ appearance. These plans are based on multiple sources, including photographs, and appeared in my book Lusitania: An Illustrated Biography. This set is made to 1/350 scale so that they are easily comparable to the available Lusitania and Titanic models, as well as to the sets of plans available in 1/350 scale for the Titanic, such as the Bruce Beveridge general arrangement plans. A number of key specifications for the ship are also listed at the bottom of the print.

Each set of these plans is custom-printed upon order, on a single heavyweight, archival-quality sheet measuring 36″ x 60″. They are quite suitable for framing.

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Note: These plans are shipped rolled up in a sturdy mailing tube to prevent damage. Because each set of plans is printed on demand, please allow 2-3 extra business days for processing before shipment.

Titanic: Solving the Mysteries
by Mark ChirnsideTad Fitch, Ioannis Georgiou, Steve HallJ. Kent Layton and Bill Wormstedt

The sinking of the Titanic is one of the best-remembered, and most-scrutinised, moments of the twentieth century. Yet ever since the disaster, there have been lingering mysteries, questions that seemed utterly impossible to answer.

In recent years, a string of allegations have also been made to the effect that the Titanic was suffering from a fire in one of her coal bunkers during the maiden voyage. Televised prorgrammes, media broadcasts, and even a new book would have the public believe that the Titanic was all but a blazing inferno before she even struck the iceberg, and that it was the fire that actually doomed the ship.

Then there is the question of the time difference between ship’s time and time on shore on the night of the disaster – a complex navigational mystery that has a direct bearing on understanding key aspects of how events played out on that fateful night.

Now follow our international and world-renowned team of Titanic and maritime historians and researchers as we attempt to solve two of the most important, and most publicized, mysteries of the Titanic disaster.

This book is not available at Amazon or other retailers, only through the publisher’s web site. 

  • 28 November 2019 (US & Worldwide)
  • ISBN: 9780464619345
  • Hardback with dust-jacket
  • 424 pages, full-color interior
  • 9″ x 6″
  • 112 black-and-white photos and illustrations

Titanic: Solving the Mysteries--Order

I also have a small shop at CafePress where I sell calendars and other assorted small items. Please feel free to have a look and order directly from there.

2017 Titanic Calendar

Also make sure to check out my 2018 Titanic calendar, a real treat for all Titanic buffs.