The HMS Hood is a truly spectacular addition to the Anatomy of the Ship series. The technical drawings are some of the best I have seen. What was inte...moreThe HMS Hood is a truly spectacular addition to the Anatomy of the Ship series. The technical drawings are some of the best I have seen. What was interesting was how Roberts theorized how the Hood was sunk which is very plausible. Roberts’s book does bring the majesty of the Hood out through his words, the pictures he chose and the technical drawings of the Hood make this book worth the read and study.(less)
Many books have been written about the Battle of Leyte Gulf and tackled the intricacies of really three to four battles fought close together. Most of...moreMany books have been written about the Battle of Leyte Gulf and tackled the intricacies of really three to four battles fought close together. Most of these books do so looking at these battles through a microscope. The more remarkable books will give background but none except this one comes from a high ranking naval officer who had insight to personalities and understood the pressures of command.
To understand why Lockwood has a good perspective into this battle one must understand who he was. Most historians discuss Grossadmiral Karl Doenitz as a great submarine commander which he was but he failed in attaining victory for his force. The only successful unrestricted submarine campaign was led by Charles Lockwood. He would be privy to the goals of the Pacific Fleet and be a senior leader for Admiral Nimitz. With this knowledge ignoring his insight would be foolish. Lockwood’s writing is biased and at times too familiar with the subjects however his experiences in the upper echelons of command bear making this book interesting and the reader must understand that Lockwood was born in 1890 and his writing is a wonderful example of how he was raised. One also must but into perspective that by reading between the lines the reader can see what was known and when in regards to broken Japanese codes. The fact that the United States had broken the Japanese codes had not been revealed yet so many of the readers might feel they had more insight than Lockwood and that would be a foolish mistake. Lockwood by being a periphery commander (the submarine force was a scouting force and to free the force from friendly fire they were on the outer edges of the battle) had the inner dealings and perspective to write a clear and as unbiased as an American admiral serving in WWII has on these battles.
What makes this book strong is that Lockwood bring the focus back to 1943 and shows the reader what was at stake in the two main battles here grouped as the Marianas Campaign and the Leyte Campaign. Japan was using a defense line as a last gasp stop. These two campaigns breached this line but brought some dire consequences such as kamikazes.
A significant strength of the book is the overall view of the battle and how while he gives the submarine force credit it is credit that the submarines and their crews deserve. He highlights other parts of the armed forces particularly the Coast Guard in the Saipan landings. The Coast Guard is often the overlooked service and by acknowledging them it can be seen Lockwood was trying to spread the accolades and acknowledge any missteps fairly.
Lockwood puts events like the great Task Force 34 fiasco into perspective that it can never be resolved but blame goes to Halsey for not being clearer but blame goes to a divided command. Having two fleets and two different communication systems all going to one center is a recipe for disaster. Lockwood doesn't blame anyone in particular for this but does say McArthur blamed the Joint Chiefs in Washington (McArthur blamed the JCS for just about anything and everything this blame needs to be taken with a great deal of salt.)
What Lockwood does is gives the reader an insight on how critical decisions are made. This book is a good resource for researchers to gain insight and gain credibility to their theories. (less)
Warriors of the Rising Sun is a good topic looking for a focus. Mr. Edgerton is a sociologist and anthropologist so I wasn't looking for an academic h...moreWarriors of the Rising Sun is a good topic looking for a focus. Mr. Edgerton is a sociologist and anthropologist so I wasn't looking for an academic history but I was hoping for more than what I read. He focus on the Boxer Rebellion and The Russo-Japanese War which is refreshing but in 100 pages he goes from 1905 to 1945 where he gave five years almost 200 pages. I felt cheated that the rise of the militarists which gives an insight to atrocities was given less than 100 pages when that alone could be the focus of the book. The other feeling I was getting was Edgerton was excusing some atrocities by saying the Allies committed atrocities as well. I'm sure they did but does Edgerton really need to use the excuse of why we looted, raped and destroyed the Pacific Rim was because the Allies did it second? It was a weak apologetic excuse and not acceptable.
Edgerton really needed to decide on a focus because he was all over the historical map.
At first he was trying provide evidence that the Japanese military was humane towards its treatment of prisoners and a shining example of humanity until the US denied any immigration from Japan to the US. If the argument was to show blatant racism in the US then yes at the time the US had racist policies but also in the bigger context the US had isolationist policies which were akin to an ostrich placing its head in the sand. Also the internal policy of immigration does not make the overwhelming cruelty that the Japanese military had in the thirties and the forties. It may have been a piece of the puzzle but not a complete puzzle.
In a larger context the racist attitude from the US and European powers did contribute greatly to a rise of cruelty in the Japanese military. However Edgerton barely scratched at the fact that there was a worldwide economic depression at the time affecting the world and that many groups of people found military life in Japan a comfortable way of living. He barely touches that this group came from underprivileged means and were brutal in trying to achieve greatness like other states around the globe such as Germany and Italy. These are major factors in the growth of the militarists in Japan and with the access to weapons and without oversight these young officers had a coup over a series of events. With unfettered in fact an Absolutist control over the government like an absolute monarch the military could do whatever they wanted whenever they wanted. Yet another missed opportunity in the book is the civil war between the Japanese Navy and Army which included assassinations.
Edgerton's book is maybe at best an introduction to the topic but it should not be used as an authoritative text.(less)
Can't say its "complete" but it is very nicely done. There is a painting of a Fletcher class destroyer I would kill to have. It is a good resource and...moreCan't say its "complete" but it is very nicely done. There is a painting of a Fletcher class destroyer I would kill to have. It is a good resource and good introduction on ships.(less)
The Mighty Mo is part pictorial part history of the USS Missouri. There are interesting parts such as the grounding in 1949 and her role in the mine s...moreThe Mighty Mo is part pictorial part history of the USS Missouri. There are interesting parts such as the grounding in 1949 and her role in the mine sweeping of Wonsan Harbor during the Korean War but the rest is an impassioned plea by the authors to make the Missouri a monument. Later the Missouri was recommissioned into the Navy and served in the First Gulf War and then made into a monument. This book is easy to read but obviously a cheerleading piece of why the Missouri should be a monument.(less)
Shattered Sword is a fine naval history book. It is a well researched book that has a multitude of facts on every page. This is a book that will be an...moreShattered Sword is a fine naval history book. It is a well researched book that has a multitude of facts on every page. This is a book that will be an often quoted source for many years about the Battle of Midway. The authors claim to change the way the battle will be viewed, in that the book focuses on the Kido Butai or the Japanese carrier fleet this claim can be accepted as true. The author meticulously researched the minutiae of where the Japanese aircraft were during the battle and who piloted those aircraft. Their research is admirable but possibly misplaced. The book is 436 of text with nine different appendices and often the book does bog down with which pilot was doing what at what point with instances of which sailor was doing what at the battle. This was interesting but the authors went into minutiae in details that would be better served with a few well placed examples that would best support their well thought out conclusions.
The authors did have some well thought out conclusions which do seem to put long held beliefs about the battle into context or refute them. For example its been long held that VT-8 from the USS Hornet pulled down the Japanese CAP (Combat Air Patrol) but the authors refute that fact very well. They argue that Admiral Yamamoto had forced the Midway plan without fully allowing for the US Navy’s intentions and capabilities which is true however this conclusion does ignore that Yamamoto was operating with the belief that the US had only two aircraft carriers because the belief was that the Lexington and Yorktown were sunk in the Battle of the Coral Sea and the only available carriers to the US was the Enterprise and Hornet. The authors did not take that into account in their conclusion however, their conclusion that Yamamoto’s plan was needlessly intricate and that he should have never split his forces or wait for the Japanese Carrier Division 5 was spot on.
The authors took great pains to explain how the Japanese used their carriers and the development of Japanese carrier doctrine which makes the Japanese decision’s in the battle more accessible, for example fueling and arming the aircraft in the hanger decks. This leads to the great myth they disabused that the Japanese carriers were about to launch an attack on the US carriers. Through their meticulous and excellent research they show good evidence that the Kido Butai was not ready to launch an attack but at least forty minutes from the launch. The book is worth the price just for this conclusion.
The book did have its distractions that were needless and hopefully “rookie” mistakes. The first major distraction was the tone of the book where it felt as if the authors felt superior in their information and certain arrogance came through the writing. A good example is they often said the professional historians focus on the gun directors rather than the guns because the guns are of an interest to amateurs. This made me go to the back of the book and read the authors biographies and found out that both authors are It professionals which made their other attempts resemble that of putting their book into a piece of academic research rather than a “popular” history. It is true that many histories do ignore the fire control equipment but that is usually because the equipment of that time seems as advanced to people as using an abacus. It is true fire control was critical but the machines were crank driven and until radar, the veritable fuse and the stable element were married together by the US Navy around mid 1943 most fire control was by guess and by God and since the focus of the book was June 1942 in Japanese aircraft carriers it has to be concluded that the Japanese fire control might be critical only to IT professionals.
The tone of the book was often trying to achieve a superiority over the readers and seemed as if the authors were unsure they would be taken seriously, they should have trusted their research more. The research was fantastic but the tone made me question if they were translating the Japanese primary sources or if they were relying on translations. The difference is if they were translating they would be creating their own conclusions but with a translation they would be reading the primary source through the lenses and bias of the translator. Without that information available I gave them the benefit of the doubt that they were translating the primary sources rather than relying on translations. The unneeded tone and dealing in minutiae became a distraction to a fine and excellent book. I look forward to reading Anthony Tully’s (one of the authors) new book on the Battle of Surigao Strait to see if his second effort improves on a terrific first start. (less)
kennedy's Pursuit was amazing. It gave a history that was both technical and human interest. The book was very hard to put down and gave a great descr...morekennedy's Pursuit was amazing. It gave a history that was both technical and human interest. The book was very hard to put down and gave a great description of what was going on that often it felt that I was at sea with the ships. The book was easy to read but that was based on Kennedy's level and description. I highly reccommend Pursuit.(less)
On the Warpath is a good read and a surprisingly quick read at 509 pages. Reynolds writes about Admiral Clark often (Clark's uncle was Clarks Flag Lie...moreOn the Warpath is a good read and a surprisingly quick read at 509 pages. Reynolds writes about Admiral Clark often (Clark's uncle was Clarks Flag Lieutenant in WWII and Korea and Clark himself was ghost writer for Clark in Carrier Admiral). What was enjoyable about this book is the character Admiral Clark was. It is clear that Clark was a man of action and a great leader. The book alone is worth buying but the cd of interviews with people surrounding Clark make for great primary sources espically since many of the interviews are with Clark himself. This is one book I will reread like E.B. Potters works on Admirals Nimitz, Halsey and Burke.(less)
73 North is a classic in Naval History. Until reading this book I had read only the few paragraphs that Historians give the Battle of the Barents Sea....more73 North is a classic in Naval History. Until reading this book I had read only the few paragraphs that Historians give the Battle of the Barents Sea. Pope's account puts you on the traditional (in WWII) open bridge of a Royal Navy destroyer December 31st 1942 understanding all of the options open to Captain Sherbrooke and they weren't very attractive options. His writing was clear and simple that I could imagine the 33 degree water above the Arctic Circle and I could envision the desperate damage control efforts. This is a must have in the library of any Naval Historian.(less)
Sauer's book The Last Big Gun Naval Battle is a great book for those who want to know about the Battle of Surgaio Strait. The book is about the USS Ma...moreSauer's book The Last Big Gun Naval Battle is a great book for those who want to know about the Battle of Surgaio Strait. The book is about the USS Maryland and her role from 1942 to later 1945. His account is frank and highly recommended. (less)
I have found it difficult to write about Anthony Tully’s Battle of Surigao Strait because I wanted to like the book but find myself unable to look pas...moreI have found it difficult to write about Anthony Tully’s Battle of Surigao Strait because I wanted to like the book but find myself unable to look past the books multiple flaws that distract and distort Tully’s well intentioned book and perhaps the historical record. What is obvious is that Tully has a great passion for naval history and has done meticulous research however that is only a quarter of being a History scholar. His writing is does not follow basic historical standards for writing. What he is missing are the well thought out conclusions that were present in Shattered Sword that he co wrote with Jonathan Parshall, good clear solid writing that isn’t speculative (Tully often speculates what some of the Japanese were thinking which cannot be substantiated, this is not acceptable for a scholarly work but acceptable for fictional work) and often he was out of his element in describing the movements of ships.
Tully has a large online following who feel that Tully is a scholar of History (they claim over and over that he is a scholar and his mini biography states he is a free lance scholar). However based on my training as an Historian Tully’s effort falls short of scholarly academic work because he doesn’t follow the basic components of beginning writing a History piece, which is to have a question that is clear and significant, identifying where the author discovered their facts (Tully has many facts but is inconsistent in using end notes for his sources) and deciding what pieces of the research supports or rejects the significant question. Tully’s book is unfocused, often has unsubstantiated feelings of participants and the writing gets lost in minutiae of trivial facts. In short he has a lot of information but a lack of focus in what his book was about. My fear is that readers new to naval history will use this book as the premier work when it needs to be approached with a very carefully trained eye on the actual pertinent facts of this battle and any future interpretations of this battle.
Writing a historical piece is very much like conducting an experiment with the Scientific Method. First the historian is compelled to do research by a compelling reason. They create a hypothesis or a theory. Then the historian conducts exhaustive research and determines during the research if the information supports their theory or if the initial theory was valid in the first place. Next they organize their research and decide what is important, what is trivial and what must be reconciled because the available information might be contradictory. Then they must interpret their information to decide once and for all if their theory is still valid and if not decide if there is a compelling reason to write or develop a new theory. Then the historian writes their theory (old or new) in clear, dispassionate tones that are easy to read and for the historian to defend. Next the historian must source their sources so that the reader if so inclined can go back to the sources and develop either a complementary or a contradictory set of interpretations based on the same material. This is where the true fun for historians come academic scholarly debate. Tully has written a descriptive history which is nice but not very scholarly. A scholarly work would have a thesis or a few supporting thesis like his Shattered Sword with John Parshall.
First his theory is still unclear about the battle, was he trying to determine what sank the battleship Fuso or why Vice Admiral Shoji Nishimura took his task force unsupported into Surigao Strait when he knew the Americans were waiting in force. It is not until Chapter 6 that any sense of a thesis begins to even be formulated even then not articulated. In the Nishimura question the answer of why Nishimura led his Task Force is answered by he did not know that Vice Admiral Takeo Kurita’s force was delayed and he felt he had an advantage over the Americans. However Tully never makes a strong argument for this theory. It is a weak and diffused argument that is behind speculation of what Nishimura thought. It is not the place of the historian to speculate what a participant felt unless they have documented evidence by the participant.
Was the purpose of the book Tully’s theory of how the Fuso sank? In this he lets the reader develop their own theory. This is not a scholarly effort. The scholar will take a stand and feels confident in their theory to defend it. If not don’t write about the event. Tully does a wonderful job figuring out how the Fuso was attacked but can’t support how it was sunk. Did the damage cause catastrophic damage to sink her immediately? Did she break in two? Did she suffer a long prolonged sinking? It seems based on Tully’s evidence that the Fuso suffered some watertight bulkhead damage which allowed for progressive flooding to happen until the bow was flooded and the undamaged stern broke off (ala Titanic) at the machinery spaces or engine rooms. What is also striking was that the first sixty three pages was all introduction to a rather one sided battle and that is not in dispute to victor, causes etc. (The amazing thing is that this battle he is describing has never been in much dispute by professional historians.) He spends far too much time describing the senior Japanese admirals and how they interacted before page sixty eight but after page sixty eight he only spends time discussing two admirals, Vice Admiral Shoji Nishimura and Vice Admiral Kiyohide Shima. This left me wondering why he bothered with long descriptions of Kurita or Toyoda because after issuing the sortie orders they have relatively minor roles in Surigao Strait. Not once in those sixty three pages is any sort of reason for the book strongly demonstrated it is not until the eighty sixth page that any coherent thesis appears and at that it is unclear and disjointed.
Tully has a lack of focus of where he wants to go with his book or what information is relevant to his significant question or if he has a theory. Often he describes events that have no bearing on Nishimura or Shima or even the sinking of the Fuso. A very good example is his description of the destroyer of Michishio on page 67 for lack of focus. Tully describes an air attack on Vice Admiral Shoji Nishimura’s fleet by Task force 38 airplanes. Tully took space to describe how the Michishio missed the air raid warning by signal flags from the battleship Yamashiro. Immediately I sensed a foreshadowing of the Michishio’s sinking by TF 38 aircraft instead the destroyer survives unscathed. I was left with why did Tully bother with this information? How does it help understand his focus? If anything I felt sympathy for the signalman of the watch on the Michishio because it was his duty to see the signal and warn the ship, if he was negligent (there are multiple scenarios where the signalman could have been attending to other duties) he would have been beaten in the Imperial Japanese Navy and felt that Tully was needlessly exposing an embarrassing moment for a watch section that really is not for public consumption that did not add to the historical record. This recounting of a non event is confusing and shows a lack of scholarship.
Tully’s writing style is one of over identification with his subjects which is not again scholarly. Far too often is refers to Rear Admiral Jesse Oldendorf as Oley. I wonder if Mr. Tully served under Admiral Oldendorf or is personally related to or close friends with Radm. Oldendorf because those are the only times (and then questionable) to refer to a person’s nickname without their full name and title in close proximity such as Rear Admiral Jesse B. “Oley” Oldendorf. Tully does this with ships nick names such as “Big Ben for U.S.S. Franklin CV-13, Wee Vee for U.S.S. West Virginia. Unless he has served on those ships or was writing about those ships in a book where they are the main subject their nicknames are inappropriate and irrelevant. He continues this by using the nicknames of the PT Boats used in the battle. These are commissioned vessels in the US Navy and he is using nick names as if he was a participant. Is this a memoir or a “scholarly” work investigating a battle? I was left to wonder if Tully wanted to use these names to prove to the reader that he was far more knowledgeable than the reader or the false sense of Tully’s authenticity. I hope that it was neither and just a mistake in style after all it is the scholar’s duty to inform their readers about their theory of the topic not their mastery of trivia.
Far too often Tully moves into conjecture on how the Japanese admirals were feeling or “perhaps” thinking. This is a very dangerous slope for Historians to go on. Historians practice a science in their research and an art in their writing but their writing must be technical to show a clear unbiased view of events to allow for scholarly debate. By projecting his views on to the participants of the event Tully is muddying the historical record with conjecture and honestly it shows he doesn’t understand the mentality of sailors of any nation very well. In the future providing conjecture on a participant’s feelings should be reserved for historical fiction not scholarly work. Without end notes and properly sourcing his material Tully’s work when he delves into a participant’s feelings is conjecture and not needed. Some examples are (p. 244) “On Abukuma, with his ship dead in the water to transfer the flag, Captain Hanada must have blanched and thought, “Not again!”” Tully provides no support on how he came about this information into Capt. Hanada’s state of mind unless Tully is projecting what he would feel at that moment and this is unacceptable.
Yet another example of conjecture is from page 65 is “On Yamashiro’s fantail Air WO Tanaka Hiroshi and his six men were busy in preparations to catapult her two Jakes aloft as well, uneasily looking skyward at times.” How does Tully know they weren’t focused on their job? After all if he had practical seamanship knowledge he would know that Tanaka’s men would be working with focus to get the aircraft off of the fantail and leave the looking around to the lookouts whose duty it was to provide warning of any incoming aircraft attack. Warrant Officer Tanaka would have dealt with any sky larker harshly rather than permit it because the sky larking would put the working party in danger. Mr. Tully does the reader a disservice by providing a false insight that an Imperial Japanese Navy Warrant Officer up from the enlisted ranks where the enlisted personnel were treated brutally (It is well documented that the Imperial Japanese Navy used physical assaults on recruits, enlisted men and midshipmen to insure there was instant and unquestioned obedience to a superior officer. Tameichi Hara’s excellent book Japanese Destroyer Captain discusses the abuse at Eta Jima the Japanese Annapolis.) would allow his men to question his authority looking to the sky and endangering their ship by having a fully fueled and armed aircraft still on the catapult that could cause a serious fire and threat to the ship in hit by a bomb or a bomb’s concussion. I’m not buying Warrant Officer Tanaka would put up with sky larking at all. This projecting Tully’s own feelings is nothing more than irresponsible writing on Mr. Tully’s part.
On page 180 “At 0337, with Yamashiro back to 18 knots, Nishimura likely nodded with satisfaction, and with growing resolve and perhaps confidence, ordered course set for the final run-in to Leyte Gulf” and on page 190 “His eyesight back to normal, Oldendorf lit a cigarette (why Oldendorf would do this after just getting his night vision back from being close to the flash of a cruisers main battery is nothing but silliness on Tully’s part) and strode confidently into the flag bridge and sat down in a chair in the corner of it to watch the spectacle erupting outside the windows.” How does Tully know what these men were doing or thinking or even acting? This must be him transferring his feelings of how they felt. For a fact Nishimura didn’t leave any writings behind reflecting mood, emotions since he didn’t survive the battle. This can only be Tully projecting his own emotions.
Perhaps the most egregious conjecture was on page 198. “Inside the pagoda, Nishimura bit his lip and remained resolute as his flagship began to quake under repeated hits. The forward turrets, their gunners undaunted by the concussions…” Where did Tully get this information? He sources a junior officer, but how close was the very junior officer (recently commission paymaster or supply officer ensign) too see Nishimura bite his lip or that the gunners who were 120 feet or so down and approximately 200 feet forward encased in heavy steel were undaunted by the concussions. This passage screams of blatant hero worship or at worst fictionalizing the battle to suit his theory. Either way it is not scholarly work.
Tully does not understand that a History scholar must be economical in his words and let prose be the realm of novelists and poets. A historian must ensure that their words are clear and factual. Tully wants to be descriptive which again paints for the reader a false understanding of the event. Unless Mr. Tully was there and recording the events as they unfolded leave the prose to those who write from their imagination rather than those of us who want to be based in fact and defensible comments. To rely on prose again muddies the historical record and does not help future historians who might use this work as a resource.
Another issue Tully has is he doesn’t interpret the information so it is useful to his readers. He switches between two different measurement systems. Whenever he is writing about the Japanese he utilizes the metric system and for the parts about the US Navy he uses the Imperial units. Anyone used to doing the conversions should not have any issues but to a reader unused to the conversions would be confused. This seems that he just used the numbers based on the information he had and did not seem to understand it is his responsibility to pick one and go with it. If he had done the conversions and left the conversion in a bracket next to the unit of measurement such as Fuso was 192 m (630ft) he would do his readers and perhaps future historians a service. Even if he picked a system and said for the reader’s convenience I have chosen this measurement system he would have been on defensible ground.
Tully’s has a lack of knowledge of seamanship. This maybe he has never had to stand a watch or been at sea in a storm. It is clear on a few occasions his has a very limited knowledge of ship handling. At one point he addressed the large pagoda like super structures on the Fuso being very tall and affecting the stability of the ship. The super structures were according to page 35 44 meters (144 feet) tall. My first thought was what was the ships’ metacenter or how far could she roll before capsizing. Tully instead of discussing the metacenter Tully calls the stability of the ship, “excessively “tender” (I have been around ships and never heard this term for a ship that has a stability issue), that is, prone to capsize. None were more surprised than Fuso’s own sailors.” (page 36). I am sure they looked at the Fuso and knew she had a high metacenter or lower degree of roll before she capsized. In the book the tests stopped at 8.1 but during the battle she took a 14 degree heel and this caused chaos. Mr. Tully should know about metacenter if he is writing about stability issues that should have been part of his research.
Another example of lack of seamanship is how he would constantly refer to ships. Tully may love ships from afar and online but ships aren’t pieces of machines bolted together they seem to have a soul and temperament all to themselves. Tully on just the times I cared to take note of on page 235 he calls the Japanese destroyer Shigure “it” and on page 83 calls the U.S.S. Houston “it”. If Tully was any sort of sailor he would know to use the loving term she. Every ship is a lady Mr. Tully and deserves to be treated like one.
Tully has an annoying tendency to make up his own acronyms. Throughout the book he has used the acronym TROM. I was at first puzzled because it seemed to be a log, perhaps the Japanese Navy called their logs TROM’s. However I googled TROM and found the only uses of TROM emanated from Tully’s own website. A TROM according to Tully is a Tabulated Record of Movement, to people who have actually been in the Navy and have degrees in Naval History or work in Naval History called Tully’s TROM a chronology of the ship or a summary of the ship’s history. It seems the chronology is a better term since it is more accurate. Yet another new acronym is on page 103 of AR which according to his own published abbreviations is AR=Action Report, historians use the accurate abbreviation AAR or After Action Report. It seems if you are to call yourself an expert and a scholar you would use the accepted norms of your expertise and not feel the need to make up abbreviations. It seems Tully wants the reader to think he is more superior to other historians. Tully’s constant usage of abbreviations of DD for destroyers and BB for battleship is again an attempt it seems to be taken seriously, it seems stretched and trying to hard to be accepted.
While I was investigating this new acronyms Tully has seemingly created I was puzzled by many of Tully’s inaccurate naming of compartments onboard ships. For example on page 225 he calls the anchor windlass room the forward anchor windlass room unless the ship has anchors in the bow and the stern this is a redundant name. Also on page 225 he calls the steering room steering room aft, the proper term is aft steering. While describing damage on page 74 he says “Fortunately the gash in the shell was above the waterline…” One must assume he was discussing a ship rather than an egg therefore most people remotely knowledgeable about ships would use the term hull rather than shell. On page 168 once again Tully shows a lack of knowledge of terminology onboard ships calling main battery plot where the fire control equipment is located to fire control station for main batteries. On the very next page he insinuates that the U.S.S. Hutchins had the first Combat Information Center but in all realities CIC’s had been around since 1942 not an immediate development brought to the battle by the Hutchins. By October 1944 most US warships had some version of a CIC, some were modifications some were purpose built but the US destroyers had CIC’s as far back as November 1942 if not August 1942. The most humorous misnaming is the pilot room on page 201, either he was slavish to his translators or he doesn’t know the compartment where the ships wheel is located is the pilothouse not the pilot room.
Lavo's Slade Cutter: Submarine Warrior was a pleasure to read. The book has everything a biography should have. This book is different from Lavo's oth...moreLavo's Slade Cutter: Submarine Warrior was a pleasure to read. The book has everything a biography should have. This book is different from Lavo's other biography on Eugene Fluckey in that LaVo wrote more in depth about Cutter and conducted more research on his topic. In LaVo's other books on submarine his writing was reflective of being a newspaper reporter. Being a biographer is much different than being a reporter. Slade Cutter shows that LaVo took his time in writing and explained Cutter's life in a clearer manner.
The best part of the book is that it is what a good biography should be. It covers the most significant moments of the subject's life. It doesn't bog down in the minutia. As a good friend said to paraphrase, a good biography (they used essay) should be like a lady's skirt, long enough to adequately cover the subject but be short enough to be interesting. This is what LaVo does with Slade Cutter. It filled in missing pieces from other submarine books most notably Salt and Steel by Edward Beach (Beach called a submarine commander a moral coward in typical Beach fashion without revealing who he was calling a moral coward). LaVo covered the WWII US torpedo controversy without going into great detail (again the skirt analogy).
Slade Cutter: Submarine Warrior is a very informative and easy to read book about an influential submarine captain. While not able to recommend LaVo's other books because Peter Maas covered the Squalus better in the Terrible Hours and the best book on Fluckey is by Fluckey himself in Thunder Below (LaVo's Galloping Ghost ((Fluckey Bio)) read as review of Thunder Below until the last two chapters), Slade Cutter is highly recommended and a must read for anyone interested in the US submarine campaign during World War II. (less)
U-boat Peril could be a book for anyone interested in lost lessons. Captain Whinney discusses his adventures in the Royal Navy and lets the reader see...moreU-boat Peril could be a book for anyone interested in lost lessons. Captain Whinney discusses his adventures in the Royal Navy and lets the reader see the transformation from post Victorian to a modern navy. In the book he serves with men like Admiral Vian, Tovey to name a few as well as some ASW notables such as Peter Grattan and of course Fredric "Johnny" Walker. I found Whinney's style easy to read but compelling as he took the reader on a journey of his life and for one I was glad to be able to read about his adventures. He was honest and refreshingly honest about what worked and what didn't. He was critical in that the Royal Navy ignored ASW because it was too long and not very "glamorous". In that I'm sure it is a great cautionary tale for not missing the basics determining where threats are actually found. It is a quick read at 151 pages but in those 151 pages there isn't any space wasted. (less)