10 December 2018

Book review: Ferries of Scandinavia by Matthew Punter

Matthew Punter: Ferries of Scandinavia, the Baltic Sea and the Nordic countries. Ferry Publications: Ramsey 2018. 144 pages.

For a change, I'm featuring a book here that I haven't written anything for – instead, Matthew Punter's Ferries of Scandinavia features numerous photos that I have taken. Most of them will of course be familiar from this blog, but certainly it's different seeing them printed in a book. (Although, full disclosure, I did proofread the manuscript and offer some feedback).

Unlike some of the other books in Ferry Publications' Ferries of... series, Ferries of Scandinavia is not a pure photo book, but a lavishly illustrated overview of the ferry scene of Scandinavia, the Baltic Sea, Faroe Islands and Iceland. The book is divided into six segments: Northern Baltic, Southern Baltic, Kattegat & Skagerrak, Danish Domestic, Norwegian Domestic and Iceland & the Faroe Islands.

As an overview, the book is a very welcome addition, as no such volume previously existed. Personally, I especially enjoyed the last three chapters, as the domestic services of Denmark, Norway, Iceland and the Faroes are not something I would have detailed knowledge of. For all regions covered, there is also a short look into the local ferry history, as well as a more general history of the overall Scandinavian ferry development in the beginning of the book. These, unfortunately, have several small errors in them, such as wrong delivery years for ships or wrong routes. Nothing major, but it is somewhat irritating these have not been fixed. Whether such small errors are a dealbreaker is, of course, entirely up to each individual reader.

The photos range from great (these include ones from the likes of Kim Viktor, Søren Lund Hviid and, of course, yours truly, so there are bound to be great ones) to decent. While the standard is towards the great photos, some of the choices did make me wonder if the photo used in the book was really the best one available – although this may also be a matter of personal preference.

Despite the occasional piece of criticism, overall Ferries of Scandinavia is a very good book that nicely fills a gap in ferry literature and is certainly worth the price of admission. Ferries of Scandinavia is available from well-stocked bookshops – but for those of us living in countries that no longer have such luxuries (like Finland), I recommend getting yours from the Ferry Publications website (which, for some reason, shows the book with a different – and arguably superior – cover).

Kships will return later this week with, I hope, some very interesting pictures of certain under-construction cruise ships.

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