Books About Panama Canal??

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#1
Seattle, WA USA
439 Posts
Joined May 2010
Someone had posted some great looking books about the Panama canal that I wanted to read, and I have misplaced the titles and can't find the thread.

Can anyone help?
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Diane & better half Kevin

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#2
Florida
5,517 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
Well I'll start out with the book of record, Path Between the Seas, by David McCullough, not a quick read by any means but certainly well done. Another book I enjoyed is Panama Fever by Matthew Parker. Follow that up with Panama Canal by Cruise Ship, written by Anne Vipond... have not read that one. Last but not least there is one by our own Richard in Panama, Your Day in the Panama Canal. Originally there were two versions, one for a northbound transit and the other for Southbound. Since then he has combined them into one book. There are a couple of others but I have not had enough coffee yet to recall the names.

May not be a complete list but it a start...........
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BB
"If the phone doesn't ring, it's me!"
"Is it ignorance or is it apathy? ... I don't know and I don't care!"
S.S. Badger R/T from Manitowoc June 02
#3
Orlando, FL
787 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
Thanks, those were all recommended to me by a friend who made the full transit 2 years ago. With your "seconding" her endorsemant, I ordered them from Amazon. I can't wait to start reading for my upcoming adventure!
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#4
Fairbanks, AK
4,964 Posts
Joined Dec 2009
Another title is "The Canal Builders: Making America's Empire at the Panama Canal" by Julie Greene. I bought it several years ago, but have yet to read it. Either the hubby or I will try to read it before our B2B cruises through the canal in April.
#5
St Ives, England
2,204 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Originally posted by Northern Aurora
Another title is "The Canal Builders: Making America's Empire at the Panama Canal" by Julie Greene. I bought it several years ago, but have yet to read it. Either the hubby or I will try to read it before our B2B cruises through the canal in April.
Better start reading now as there's a lot to get through . Richard's book is great for an up-to-date perspective.

I read TPBTS before my trip and here's my shot at summarising the 'story' in 17 minutes :

YouTube - THE HISTORY OF THE PANAMA CANAL (Part 1 of 2)
(Pacific Ocean- Culebra/Gaillard Cut)

YouTube - THE HISTORY OF THE PANAMA CANAL (Part 2 of 2)
(Culebra/Gaillard Cut - the Atlantic Ocean/Caribbean Sea)

If you watch these, sorry about my weedy voiceover - I blame it on my very cheap microphone.

It was one of the best days of my life, hope you enjoy it as much as I did,
Tony
#6
Fairbanks, AK
4,964 Posts
Joined Dec 2009
[quote=Cornishpastyman1;32350890]Better start reading now as there's a lot to get through .

At only 400 or so pages of text the Greene book is rather short compared to the McCullough's "The Path between the Seas." Believe me -- it can be read in two or three relaxing evenings. The hubby and I have both read the McCullough book and thought it was very enjoyable. We read it years ago (it was first published in the late 1970s) within five or six years of publication, and then again before we did our first Panama Canal transit in November, 2008.

The hubby lived in Panama for several years during his childhood. He has great memories of the snakes, the bugs and the equipment used to construct the canal rusting in the jungle. My dear late mother-in-law didn't remember the snakes and the bugs with such nostalgia!
#7
Hellevoetsluis - The Netherlands
436 Posts
Joined Dec 2009
Originally posted by West Coast Gal
Someone had posted some great looking books about the Panama canal that I wanted to read, and I have misplaced the titles and can't find the thread.

Can anyone help?
If you get tired of reading and to be honest some of them are pretty hard going (I read the Path between the Seas 700 pages) you might like to watch this.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexpe...panama/player/
It's a very interesting documentary which shows the last part of the building of the Canal. After the book it was nice to see photo's of the places and machinery I had read about.
#8
328 Posts
Joined Mar 2010
Originally posted by BillB48
Last but not least there is one by our own Richard in Panama, Your Day in the Panama Canal. Originally there were two versions, one for a northbound transit and the other for Southbound. Since then he has combined them into one book.
Detrich's book is WONDERFUL! I picked it up on Amazon recently. Very easy to read, informative, & something you can read in advance, then take with you and follow in during each step of Canal Transit day! The current title of his book - the one that includes the two directions of transit in a single book - is "Cruising the Panama Canal".

I also viewed Cornishpastyman1's videos early last year (Excellent!!!) and plan to do so again before my trip through the canal in May.
#9
Spanaway Washington
244 Posts
Joined Jan 2009
the book Cruising The Panama Canal, by Richard Detrich... wonderful book.. so easy to read and understand, can't wait for the cruise now. April 25..heading for Seattle...
Maru
#10
Seattle, WA USA
439 Posts
Joined May 2010
This is great information, thank you so much for sending information! We love to read so I am sure that we will read more than one of the ones that have been sent!
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Diane & better half Kevin

Princess Ships

Caribbean 2015/ Golden - Grand 2014 / Golden 2010 / Star 2009 / Caribbean 2008 / Grand 2006 / Star 2003 / Grand 2002 / Regal 2001 / Star 1997 / Regal 1996 / Sun 1996 / Sun 1995 / Royal 1995 / Royal 1994 / Crown 1993 / Royal 1991 / Pacific The LOVE BOAT 1989
Royal Caribbean - 1998, 1992 Holland American -Westerdam 2015, 1999 Carnival - 2007 . . Dream 2011 Celebrity - Infinity 2012
Norwegian - Pearl 2013
#11
Boquete, Chiriqui, Panama
1,194 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
the book Cruising The Panama Canal, by Richard Detrich... wonderful book.. so easy to read and understand, can't wait for the cruise now. April 25..heading for Seattle...
Maru
Thank you Maru! You're a dear! Regards, Richard
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Richard Detrich - Port & Canal Lecturer & Author
#12
Southern California
533 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
I have just started reading your book, Cruising The Panama Canal, Richard. I'm on page 21, and on my 4th or 5th "Wow, that's interesting!"

Will you be updating your book when the 3rd set of locks open in a couple of years?
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Con El Viento A Mi Favor

#13
217 Posts
Joined Mar 2006
Does 'Cruising The Panama Canal' have any information on helping one pick out a cabin for the cruise? We are wanting to do the cruise and usually have a balcony cabin.
#14
Florida
5,517 Posts
Joined Feb 2006
Honestly, it won't matter as far as the Canal is concerned if you have the most expensive suite or the cheapest cabin somewhere below the engine room. Pick the cabin you would like based on your preferences and how you will use it for the entire cruise. You are likely to do yourself a disservice if you wind up spending a large portion of your transit day on your balcony, there are so many different angles to take in your transit. For example if your ship permits access to the bow, that is a great place for entering one of the locks. At one of the other locks take time to go to one of the lower outside decks and just see how close your ship is to the wall, be up top as you pass under one of the two bridges that span the Canal. You will never know what type of other ship traffic you will encounter during your transit. Scenery is in the round, the balcony will only let you see half around.

Richard's book will still make a great accompaniment for your transit.
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BB
"If the phone doesn't ring, it's me!"
"Is it ignorance or is it apathy? ... I don't know and I don't care!"
S.S. Badger R/T from Manitowoc June 02
#15
St. Paul MN
3,206 Posts
Joined Dec 2007
thanks for all the titles.
I always read to understand the big picture before I visit a new area. Then on vacation I always bring novels that have a setting in the place I will be visiting.
So, I am starting with C.Columbus discovering this area, then on to Columbia and Spanish colonial history, then Panama independence , building of the canal and also role of Canal in WWII.

So any suggestions...

I have until Dec 2012 to complete my course of study.
#16
Southern California
533 Posts
Joined Apr 2010
Originally posted by BillB48
Richard's book will still make a great accompaniment for your transit.
Right. If your ship is in one of the locks, and another ship is in a lock next to you, you could miss seeing that if you are on the wrong side and stay in your cabin. And you can't know that kind of thing beforehand. Richard does have 1 photo in the book of 2 cruise ships right next to each other while in the locks.
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Con El Viento A Mi Favor

#17
Huntington Beach, Ca.
116 Posts
Joined Oct 2003
Does anyone know what Richard's schedule is in the future, I couldn't find it in his blog

Thanks

Richard, are you out there ???
#18
Boquete, Chiriqui, Panama
1,194 Posts
Joined Feb 2008
OK guys . . . home for a month . . . H20dad, next contract 3 months on RUBY in the Med.

Azulann . . . Books . . . if you want to stretch out away from the Canal per se, to understand better the situation when the French came in and when the US got involved . . . Read up on Simon Bolivar and Grande Columbia . . . it gives background on how Panama became part of Columbia, and the US involvement in declaring Panama's independence. Want to go further back? There is a great book called THE RISING SUN which is about an early Scottish attempt to settle in Panama with the idea of digging by hand a Canal! Great book based on notes of the Scottish company's accountant.

Bill, PANAMA CANAL BY CRUISE SHIP has a lot of general cruising information and information about the many other Caribbean ports Canal cruises generally include, but has somewhat limited information about the Canal itself. It does have a great map of the Canal.

Regards, Richard
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Richard Detrich - Port & Canal Lecturer & Author
#19
St. Paul MN
3,206 Posts
Joined Dec 2007
Richard,
Thank you for your recommendations. Will add them.
Am half way through McCollough's book. It is a fascinating read.
#20
Fairbanks, AK
4,964 Posts
Joined Dec 2009
My husband, who spent several years in Panama as a child (his father was an Air Force officer stationed at Albrook AFB), and I have both read the David McCullough's "The Path Between the Seas" several times. We find it interesting each time we read it.

We also have both just read Julie Greene's "The Canal Builders: Making America's Empire at the Panama Canal." This is a very different treatment than McCullough's work as it is a labor history. I thought it was very good and but the hubby wasn't too impressed.

We have now done three full transits of the canal, and never tire of it. We are looking forward to another transit in a few years.