The book is a magisterial synthesis of the history of the largest French Steam Navigation Company. The author offers a comprehensive approach, by touching multiple aspects of the advent of steam navigation. The Institutional history, the role of the state and of the French entrepreneurs, the shipping industry etc. Also analyses the strategies, the lines, the personenl and the fleet among many other improtant aspects. It is a reference book for the case of the Messageries Maritimes, but also for the the establishment of passenger shipping in general.