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Halsey's Typhoon: The True Story of a Fighting Admiral, an Epic Storm, and an Untold Rescue
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Halsey's Typhoon: The True Story of a Fighting Admiral, an Epic Storm, and an Untold Rescue

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  749 ratings  ·  98 reviews
In the tradition of The Perfect Storm and Flags of Our Fathers , Halsey’s Typhoon chronicles the epic tale of men clashing against the ruthless forces of war and nature. In December 1944, America’s most popular and colorful naval hero, Admiral William “Bull” Halsey, unwittingly sailed his undefeated Pacific Fleet into the teeth of the most powerful storm on earth. Three de ...more
Hardcover, 322 pages
Published November 27th 2006 by Atlantic Monthly Press (first published September 12th 2006)
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This is a sea story that all naval personnel and all who spend time on the water will find riveting and horrifying. The 4 Star Halsey's Typhoon: The True Story of a Fighting Admiral, an Epic Storm, and an Untold Rescue recounts the Dec 1944 encounter of the U.S. Third Fleet with Typhoon Cobra (the first named typhoon). More sailors will die in the storm than were lost in the Battle of Midway. Three ships will be lost and many more extremely damaged. Drury and Clavin tell a story that is every bi ...more
This is a book that I probably never would have read if my Dad hadn’t been in a typhoon himself in the Pacific during WWII. His recollections of that experience are pretty riveting. (90 ‘ waves cresting over the bridge where he was stationed for 4 hours trying to steer the ship! Another ship careening by out of control, and missing his by yards.)

This is the account of another typhoon just a few months earlier but in a very similar location – east of the Philippines. At the time (late 1944), the
Quinby6696 Frank
Second time around for this incredibly absorbing saga! Bull Halsey has sent the entire Third Fleet - the Big Blue Fleet - into the middle of Typhoon Cobra. Halsey is focused on supporting MacArthur's landings in the Philippines and doesn't pay proper attention to the relatively scant weather information he receives. No one - with exception of Nathaniel Bowditch (19th century author of The American Practical Navigator) - seems able to accurately predict the path of typhoons so Halsey ignores the ...more
Gisela Hausmann
This is a great book, which I can highly recommend. In all honesty I had a bit of difficulty of getting into it at first. I did not like the Dramatis Personae listing in beginning (in all reality I am probably not experienced enough to maneuver this with a Kindle), I felt the introductions to what a typhoon is were introduced in the wrong locations, but once I got into this book I could not stop reading.

Bob Drury and Tom Clavin excel in describing the personality of a man, who was driven by the
Jenny Hassell
I am not military-minded, and I know very little about the specifics of WWII in the South Pacific. I was actually searching for "maritime disasters" books when I stumbled upon this one. It is an amazing story of survival and heroics, and it makes me proud to honor our military every single day.

For someone like me who does not already know the specifics - battles, strategy, etc. - this book laid it out pretty simply. I was energized by the simplicity and clarity, so I printed off some maps to re
G   Lee Graves
Normal men doing the improbable against impossible circumstances.

Written in a compelling chronological sequence of events, this account grabs your mind and soul as you share with these intrepid men their fears, bravery, exhaustion, devastation en extremis and release in their rescue. For both those survivors of ships sunk during the typhoons and three undeserving dedication of those committed to the rescue of survivors this account depicts the challenge, difficulty and burden each sailor has fo
Folks here is your father's day/birthday gift for the man in your life who loves stories about the sea. It is a terrific and sweeping look at a little known event during WWII when the entire 3rd fleet sailed into and through an incredibly large typhoon, later called Halsey's Typhoon, after Admiral Bull Halsey, commander of the 3rd fleet and WWII hero. It was a white-knuckle read that was so intense I had disturbing dreams (I'm sure that they were nightmares, but I can't remember anything but bei ...more
Tony Taylor
A really interesting book... well written and captivating. "Halsey's Typhoon" was a best seller when it was first published in 2007, and it is now available in paperback. For anyone interested in military history, more specifically, naval history, you will thoroughly enjoy this true story about a tragic event from WWII in the Pacific. Many of you may have read in history books about the horrendous typhoon in 1944 when Admiral Halsey, one of the great naval heros of modern times, sent a task forc ...more
I had no idea this would be such a good read - Shari brought it home and I looked at the cover and figured, what the heck. Wellmuch to my surprise - terrific read. I had never heard of this true story. It is about Admiral Bull Halsey's pacific fleet in December of 1944 and being caught up in a typhoon - the damage, the heroism and sheer guts it took to survive. Many names are familiar and lots are not. One that was a pleasant surprise was Gerald Ford - who got high marks in the book, by the way. ...more
it's pretty stunning to think about a destroyer going belly up in 90' waves, wind that tears the skin off your face, and being lost in the philippine sea for days while hunted by sharks. that said, the writing leaves much to be desired. i found it hard to keep the characters and ships straight in my mind and might have been just as happy reading only the second half. the author's did a fine job of collecting these untold stories, i only wish they had done a better job of organizing the material.
There has only been a couple of times in my life that a book has captured me so emotionally! It is one of those rare finds on a book shelf in the library that often eludes you; not having any ideal about what it's contents contain before checking it out. I have read a lot of books on naval actions in the Pacific in WWII, but never knew of this diaster until I picked up this book. It still amazes me how words on paper can stir one's emotions and add to our quality of life.
George Miller
This book relates the 3rd Fleet's encounter with Typhoon Cobra in December 1944 following the battle of Leyte Gulf. Admiral Halsey, the Navy’s version of George Patton, was preparing to support MacArthur’s invasion on Mindoro, the next step in the process to drive the Japanese out of the Philippines, when the typhoon hit. Due to the primitive storm tracking technology available during WWII, combined with a misplaced weather warning from CINCPAC in Pearl Harbor and Halsey’s determination to conti ...more
I find it a bit difficult to rate this book. In part because it is presented in the form of three "books" or sections. The first section, some 90 pages, focuses on background and is not particularly engaging, especially for anyone familiar with the history of the PTO in WWII. One literally has to endure those first 90 pages. The second section begins the meat of the book, the Typhoon and its impact on the men. This second section is quite good. But it's really in the third section, which focuses ...more
Spicy T AKA Mr. Tea
This was recommended to me by a random guy when I was reading Sudden Sea (another great book about hurricanes) while drinking some coffee at a cafe. I gave it a whirl. Unlike Sudden Sea, this book focuses much more on Admiral Halsey and his decisions (arrogant and clumsy that they are) and far less on the actual hurricane outside of the utter destruction recounted by survivors. It was a weird mix of patriotism, racism against Japanese, militarism, imperialism, and weather. The authors wrote a so ...more
Excellent recounting of a series of mistakes that resulted in the loss of several ships and many hundreds of men. It was this typhoon that formed the basis for the famous Caine Mutiny
Frederick Gault
Not well written, but the story is compelling. The more one encounters the personal stories of combatants in WW II the more terrifying that war seems! It has taken many years, but it seems recently that the Hollywood stereotype of World War Two has been dismantled and replaced with the ugly obscene misery of what really happened. The enemy did bad things but just as dangerous was the ineptitude of your own army! In this case Admiral "Bull" Halsey blundered into a Typhoon which swept airplanes an ...more
What I expected to get when I bought "Halsey's Typhoon" was an aside to the epic war in the Pacific. Rather than an aside, it turned out to be a riveting war story except that instead of the Japanese vs. the United States it was Admiral William "Bull" Halsey's great fleet of American ships against the awesome destructive force of nature. Nature truly won the fight. Bob Drury, the author, gives a blow by blow account of the fight as Halsey disregards hints that his fleet was to be hit by a typhoo ...more
This is a story that was not told in detail for a long time following World War II. Not that it isn't representative of the heroism and sacrifice so common in those perilous times. However, in the immediate aftermath of the war, no one wanted to dwell on misjudgements of high ranking officers which contributed to the tragic deaths of sailors and loss of ships, especially when the reputation of one of America's highest respected admirals was involved.

Admiral William "Bull" Halsey was commander o
I thought it started a little slow, but I was hooked by the second section. Appreciated the glossary, cast of characters, and diagrams/maps at the front, but would have liked a more extended glossary for some Navy/military terms - and I'm a Navy brat! Interesting contrast in ways different sailors and officers handled stress and ethical dilemmas. Made me even more grateful to our veterans.

Update: I re-read this in October 2010 to include in a book review column for (up on Tu
While I consider myself a WWII buff, I had not heard about the huge storm that ravaged the American fleet in the Pacific in 1944. So when I picked out this book, I had no idea what it was about other than it would cover Admiral Bill Halsey, a person I had heard of as a great naval mind, but didn't really know much about. I took away two main themes from this book: 1) Great fighting men are often blind to their own weaknesses 2) The technology we have available to us today for both viewing our ea ...more
Alain Dewitt
If you enjoy naval history, WWII history or stories about the heroism of men in the face of incredible circumstances, you will probably enjoy this book.

The authors provide a solid background to the events leading up to the typhoon which strikes Third Fleet on December 18, 1944. They recount the early setbacks of US naval forces in the Pacific, the turning point at Midway, the Halsey-Spruance rivalry [full disclosure: I am a Spruance partisan and I think, in the words of Capt. Marko Ramius in 'Th
In December 1944 Admiral Halsey lost his mojo with his sailors. Weeks before he had taken the bait and gone after the Japanese ghost carriers and almost lost Leyte Gulf. He was so focused on the enemy that he didn't concern himself with the storm of the century. Kudos to those skippers who disobeyed orders and made their first priority saving their ship. The authors tell the story in a vivid, personal style with vignettes from different crew members on multiple ships. Indeed it can get confusing ...more
Frederick Bingham
This is the story of the encounter between the US Navy and Pacific Typhoon Cobra during December 1944. The fleet had just assisted in a troop landing on the Philippines and was regrouping in mid-ocean to refuel and head back to port. Admiral Halsey was the head of the fleet based on the battleship New Jersey. A warning about an impending typhoon was placed on the bottom of a pile of communiques, and the fleet sailed right through the middle of it.Most of the large ships, the battleships and carr ...more
An excellent untold true story out of WWII. The bravery and fortitude of the men dealing with Typhoon Cobra, as well as the stories of the survivors and the rescue efforts afterwards made this a real page turner. My own dad's ship had been attached to the 3rd Fleet shortly after the typhoon (and he had made many notes in the book while reading it, before it got passed on to me)so that gave me an exciting personal connection to the story.

I'm definitely going to pass this on to my brothers.
I really surprised myself with this book. I don't normally like non-fiction books but I picked this one up because my paternal grandfather fought during WWII under Admiral William F Halsey in the Pacific Theatre. There was a reference to his ship the USS Savo Island in this book but it was luckily not caught up in this typhoon.

I was torn as I read this book because since I was little and interviewed Papa for a report, I have had such huge admiration for Bull Halsey and in this telling, he makes
Excellent! I really enjoyed listening to this audio book on my commute to and from work. Wow, what story! Well written and narrated, this story brings back to life the true story of Admiral Halsey's Pacific Fleet caught in the Typhoon Cobra during December 1944. So many lives lost, this book combines the individual tales of numerous sailors during that horrible storm into a complete read. You will struggle to gain your "sea legs" and will smell the salt water as you read/listen to this true tale ...more
Titanic Buff
A fascinating look into a tragic event that claimed the lives of nearly 800 men.

In December 1944 three task forces were rendezvousing in the Philippine Sea for the purpose of refueling. These plans were disrupted by the slightly unexpected of Typhoon Cobra. When all was said and done three ships had sunk taking with them 790 men. Other vessels suffered various injuries; the USS Tabberer for instance lost her mast. More than 100 planes were lost. In the raging sea, survivors from the three sunke
This was one of my father's most vivid memories from his service on the USS Boston in world war II. From other's sailors I've talked to this was the one of the most harrowing experiences of the war. This is a well written book about the experiences of sailors in WWII. I listened to the book on
Jul 15, 2008 Dave rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: WW II buffs
I listened to this as an audio book and was enthralled from start to finish! The authors, Bob Drury and Tom Glavin have done a wonderful job in making the reader care about the men and ships caught in the typhoon, and the narrator, Eric Conger has absolutely the perfect voice for this story. I could almost hear the winds and feel the rain and the waves as he read.
The hardships the men endured, and the bravery they displayed is amazing and inspiring. Of particular note is the bravery and athletic
This book tells the story of Admiral "Bull" Halsey and the typhoon that devastated his fleet in the South Pacific during WWII. Much of the story focuses on the fate of individual ships and the men on the ships, particularly those on the 3 ships that sunk and the one ship that rescued more than half the sailors rescued, even though it had been serverly damaged. Among those rescued was President Ford. Another participant in the events was Vice Admiral McCain, grandfather of Senator John McCain. It ...more
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