Germany's merchant marine fleet - the second largest in the world prior to 1914 - seems to have played an unintended but decisive role in that nation's defeat in World War I. There were those ships that went to war for the Kaiser on the high seas, those that stayed at home or otherwise played no significant part in the conflict, and those which were commandeered (mostly in 1917 and by the United States) and used against Germany. This is a well illustrated history, both practical and romantic, of the association each ship may have had with famous people and events of the war, and of the fates of the ships that comprised that fleet.
William Lowell Putnam served as vice chairman of the Association of Maximum Service Telecasters, among his multitude of other professional credits. He is the sole trustee of the Lowell Observatory and lives in Flagstaff, Arizona.