I’ve been talking about the antics of these interwar Americans for some time now – following them down archival rabbit holes and port city back alleys, and trying to piece together what happened in 1926 on that ship, and why it matters to us today.  It’s been ten years in the making, but my book on the Floating University is finally here!

The book tells the story of the 1926 Floating University: a bold educational experiment in which 500 American college students sailed around the globe in the belief that learning at sea would make them better citizens of the world. As well as a full curriculum, the voyage included visits to foreign dignitaries including Mussolini, Gandhi and the Pope, and stops in 47 ports. But the trip was also beset by trouble: reports of sex, alcohol and jazz made their way back to an American press hungry for scandal and the Floating University became a byword for what could go wrong with educational travel. It explores this largely forgotten voyage and argues that – as well as revealing the tentacles of US empire – it exposes a much larger contest over what kind of knowledge should underpin university authority, one in which direct personal experience came into conflict with academic expertise.

The introduction and table of contents are available here, and (everyone’s favourite) the acknowledgements are attached below. Thank you to everyone who has helped me along the way, and especial thanks to my partner Ruth and my daughter Vita – the cutest book mascot I could ever dream of. I submitted the manuscript the day before she was born and every day since I have thought my heart might explode.

A 40% discount is available from the University of Chicago Press website when you enter the code FLOATING.

If you want to know more, there’s an early Q&A with me about the book in Inside Higher Ed or please get in touch with me directly.