If military historian Maxtone-Graham is at times a bit breathless in his praise of the Queen Mary 2, the Cunard line's new $800 million luxury liner, it's easy to forgive his enthusiasm after thumbing through the sumptuous photography in this oversized tome. Four city blocks long and taller than the Statue of Liberty, the Queen Mary 2 boasts the customary amenities as well as a planetarium, spa and fanciful children's playrooms. Maxtone-Graham celebrates this unprecedented hulk with romantic hyperbole:""Her 147-foot (45-meter) beam at the bridge betrays her as definitively--nay, defiantly!--too wide for Panama's canal. For this monster to circumnavigate the globe, it's either around Cape Horn or threading her way cautiously through the icy wastes of northern Canada's archipelago."" He also dishes a little history in the chapter on 19th-century transatlantic travel, when crossing the ocean was rarely comfortable and often terrifying by today's standards. The historian explains that in the 1840s,""a covered chamber pot remained a cherished cabin perquisite because Brittania's lavatories were out on deck, an invariably damp nocturnal excursion."" Another chapter relates the seafaring lives of past""Queen"" vessels--touching briefly on the Queen Elizabeth and Queen Mary's transformation into troop ships during WWII and chronicling their important passengers, including Sir Winston Churchill, Cary Grant and a long list of Atlantic-hopping VIPs. Serious maritime enthusiasts will delight in Maxtone-Graham's adoring account of the major""Cunarders"" from 1840 to 2004, while Harvey Lloyd's vivid, full-bleed photos of the vessel's interior will thrill those readers more interested in the creature comforts on board. 200 four-color illustrations. FYI: Like an extended advertisement for the ocean liner, this lush, glossy volume might help readers and would-be cruisers forget the November, 2003 shipyard tragedy, when the ship's gangway collapsed, killing 15.