A foremost authority has written the first comprehensive reference about the U.S. Merchant Marine and American shipping from the introduction of steamships to today's diesel containerships--showing the impact of politics, economics, and technology on maritime history during the last two centuries. Over 500 entries describe people, private companies, business and labor groups, engineering and technological developments, government agencies, terms, key laws, landmark cases, issues, events, and ships of note. Short lists of references for further reading accompany these entries. Appendices include a chronology, diagrams of government organizations, and lists of business and labor groups by founding dates. An unusually extensive index lends itself to the varying research interests of students, teachers, and professionals in maritime and economic history, business-labor-government relations, and military studies.