Three leading ship historians join forces to write the definitive history of Cunard's Queen Elizabeth 2, the world's most famous ocean liner. Beginning with an overview of the social and cultural context from which the liner emerged, the design process is followed from the earliest proposals for Q3 to the detailed design of Q4. The story continues with the John Brown shipyard successfully tendering for the construction and recounts the many challenges which beset the famous shipbuilder in the periods before, during and after QE2 was being built. Thereafter, the ship's sea trials, troubled inauguration and successful maiden voyage are described, partly through first hand accounts. The long career and the many subsequent changes carried out to the ship are then illustrated against the cultural and economic backgrounds of rapidly changing societies in Britain and the USA. QE2 has stood the test of time remarkably well -- but, since the 1980s, the liner has gradually been rebuilt from a futuristic Modernist icon into a 'retro' ship, based upon nostalgia for a lost 'golden age' of inter-war liner travel and the reasons for these changes are also explained. Bringing the story right up-to-date, the book concludes with an account of the final voyage to Dubai.