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Deck of USS Enterprise (CVN 65) at Naval Station Norfolk, during exercise Summer Pulse ’04.
Today in WW II: 24 May 1941 Battle of the Denmark Strait: German battleship Bismarck sinks British battlecruiser HMS Hood, flagship of the Home Fleet, killing all but 3 of the 1418 crew. More↓
Left to Die: The Tragedy of the USS Juneau
by Dan Kurzman. 352 pages (May 1, 1995) Pocket Books. The sinking of the cruiser USS Juneau (CL-52) on 13 November 1942, during the naval battle of Guadalcanal, is best known because the Five Sullivan Brothers were amnong the dead. But there is a larger story. While most of the 700-man crew were killed immediately by the Japanese submarine attack, about 150 survivors were left in the water. Poor decisions, the fog of war, and SNAFUs delayed rescue for eight days as the men bobbed without supplies in shark-infested waters. Ultimately, only ten were found alive. Kurzman, who is also the author of Fatal Voyage
about the sinking of the USS Indianapolis (CA-35) in 1945, provides the harrowing details of life and hope ebbing away in the water as days went on.
Author John Scanlan is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and a fighter pilot, now retired from the USMC as a Lt. Colonel. He has integrated his experiences into two novels of life in the modern U.S. military, full of detailed descriptions of training, operations, personal interactions and dialog. The first novel is Dink Gadink,
a depiction of a week in the life of seven Plebes at the Naval Academy. The second, Speed Is Life, More Is Better,
covers a week of the daily life of Marine Aviators, forward deployed for combat patrols in a war setting. Although both books are fiction, they shine in their ability to convey the reality of the vividly portrayed situations, written by a man who lived the life and has the ability to convey that to the reader.
Two-Ocean War: A Short History of the United States Navy in the Second World War
by Samuel Eliot Morison. US Naval Institute Press (April 6, 2007), paperback, 642 pages. Morison was an historian, a full professor at Harvard who was commissioned into the WW II Navy specifically to write the history of the conflict. This book, originally published in 1963, is a single-volume abridgement of the official history, Morison's monumental fifteen volume History of United States Naval Operations in World War II
, recipient of multiple honors. This book reviews all the important aspects of the subject and follows the action in the Atlantic, Mediterranean, and the Pacific from the preparations before Pearl Harbor, through the battle of the Atlantic, to the struggles for the Pacific island bases and the final Japanese surrender.
U.S. Navy Ships and Coast Guard Cutters
by M. D. Rear Admiral Van Orden. 87 pages (October 1990). This book is an excellent beginner's look into ships, life aboard them, and the men and women who serve on them. It details the major types of Naval and Coast Guard vessels from Aircraft Carriers, to Auxillary Ships, and High Endurance Cutters. The author draws on 34 years in the Navy to present often puzzling nautical and technical information into an easy-to-understand format. This book is written primarily for teenagers, but everyone who reads this book will enjoy it and learn from it.
by Doug Stanton. 320 pages 1st edition (April 2001) Henry
Holt & Company, Inc. At the end of July 1945 the USS Indianapolis
had just completed the top-secret mission delivering the atomic bomb to
the B-29 group on Tinian. As she crossed the South Pacific to her next
duty station, she was torpedoed and sunk with the immediate loss of hundreds
of men. Through an incredible series of mistakes, the Navy didn't notice
her loss and no rescue was sent for days during which the surviving crew
suffered unbelievable trials in the shark-infested seas. This book captures
the bravery and anguish of those days in the water followed by the heartbreaking
attempt by the Navy to blame the captain for the disaster. This is an
incredible human drama of valor and sacrifice under the worst circumstances.
The publisher has
created a web site with much more information about the history of this
PC Patrol Craft of World War II
by Wm. J. Veigele. 400 pages. (May 2003). This book is a history of all the PC Patrol Craft of WWII ("subchasers") and their crews. It describes the need for, construction of, crew training, exploits and action, losses, and disposition of the ships. The book has more than 150 photographs and drawings and a plan for a PC.