The Design and Construction of the Nautilus by Demetri Capetanopoulos


My grateful thanks to Joshua at Boyle and Dalton for sending me a copy of The Design and Construction of the Nautilus by Demetri Capetanopoulos in return for an honest review. It’s a real pleasure to be looking at a book that is very different from the usual reading I do.

Published by Boyle and Dalton on 13th October 2018, The Design and Construction of the Nautilus is available for purchase here.

The Design and Construction of the Nautilus


Is there anyone, of any age, who has read Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and not sketched their vision of the Nautilus in their imagination or down on paper? For 150 years, the submarine created by Jules Verne has captivated readers and inspired countless interpretations.

Jules Verne was meticulous about incorporating cutting-edge technology of his time and making reasonable extrapolations. The Design and Construction of the Nautilus takes Jules Verne’s in-text descriptions, paired with extensive research on the technology of the time in which Verne’s iconic book was written, and presents detailed construction plans, design notes, and operational theories based on modern submarine technologies.

The Nautilus is more than just a 19th-century mechanical marvel. She has always represented the ultimate technological triumph over nature, a symbol of mankind’s mastery of our domain, and the human desire to explore the unknown.

My Review of The Design and Construction of the Nautilus

An engineering and technology based imagining of Jules Verne’s Nautilus.

I have a confession. I wasn’t especially interested in reading The Design and Construction of the Nautilus because design and engineering are not particularly appealing to me, but I was wrong to eschew it. It’s a fascinating book that I found interesting, plausible and brilliantly researched.

Jules Verne’s Nautilus is to some extent only a catalyst for this intricate and detailed book. The modern text is cross referenced with quotations from Verne so that anyone who loves the original story will adore this book too. I’d certainly like to go back and read Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea with a fresh eye having encountered The Design and Construction of the Nautilus. Fictional imaginings become enthralling factual possibilities through Demetri Capetanopoulos’ expertise. Although I forgot some of the facts and figures (such as a crew’s CO2 production) as soon as I’d read them, they still made for an interesting concept that really brought alive the original vessel. The glossary at the end of the book helps here too, but Demetri Capetanopoulos writes with complete authority and the quality of research and detail is unparalleled. My favourite part was the reference to the library…

However, what I think makes The Design and Construction of the Nautilus such an engaging book for a reader like me is the variety within its pages. There’s history and geography, social science and art alongside an abundance of carefully selected illustrations that make The Design and Construction of the Nautilus perfect to dipping in to as a coffee table book as well as a straightforward read.

The Design and Construction of the Nautilus won’t suit every reader, but if, like me, you don’t read much non-fiction, you might find it surprisingly interesting. Those who have an interest in any form of design and construction will be completely captivated by it and will lose themselves between its pages for hours. I know a person who is going to be thrilled to receive my copy. I found it interesting, educational and entertaining and I recommend The Design and Construction of the Nautilus most highly.

About Demetri Capetanopoulos


Like many boys of a certain age, Demetri Capetanopoulos discovered Jules Verne and was captivated—not just by the tales of scientific adventure—but by the example of the power of imagination to shape what might be possible with the creative application of technology. Who can say with surety what influence it had, but he became qualified as a nuclear submarine engineer and deep submersible pilot.

With a career spent in technical realms, Demetri has found in this project a delightful synthesis of his passion for science, history, and the creative arts, all while rediscovering a boyhood inspiration. Surely Verne would approve. He dedicates this labour of love to his son, Leo, and to all those for whom submarine dreams stir the child within.

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