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

4.05  ·  Rating details ·  1,103 Ratings  ·  121 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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Mar 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 21, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Mar 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Quinby6696 Frank
Oct 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 09, 2008 rated it liked it
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.
Gisela Hausmann
Feb 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
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
Tony Taylor
Mar 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
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
G   Lee Graves
May 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is a detailed and well-written account of one of the worst natural disasters during war. This ranks among the best at making a horrific experience very personal and evoking the feelings of fear, horror, astonishment, bravery, honor, and others associated with war while providing an accurate and very readable account of the incredible events that sank three Navy vessels and cost 793 brave men their lives. This also makes as good a case as I can think of for increasing our scientific knowledg ...more
Jenny Hassell
Dec 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
May 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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.
Nov 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 14, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
Vic Lauterbach
Apr 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
This harrowing tale relates how circumstances and small errors combined to create a disaster. The heroism of the Third Fleet sailors is heartening, and the stories of both victims and survivors inspiring. The only weakness of the book is the survey of events in the Pacific War leading up to December 1944 which most readers interested in this topic won't need. Once the fleet enters the storm, this book is hard to put down. It may be difficult for younger readers to comprehend a world without weat ...more
Andrew Downing
May 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
An excellent book that balanced history and detailed action very well. The first half of the book setup the major characters involved and finished with the gut wrenching details of a devastating typhoon that nearly destroyed an an entire fleet of American Naval Ships. I really enjoy the writing style of the author and highly recommend any of his works. Bob Drury and his team do a wonderful job.
Shaun Geary
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely amazing book, should be a must read for all Naval Officers. I was hooked from the beginning, Halsey's Typhoon gave insight to Admiral Halsey's persona via background on his time in command during WWII. The tales of survival from those aboard the ships in his Task Group were both amazing and heartbreaking.
Oct 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
So fascinating! and very well written.
Mary Ellen
Apr 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A truly fascinating story.
May 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One great story - read the book in 2 days.
Buck Amey
May 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great reading.

Great reading.
Glad I took the time to read more about WWII. This was a terrible tragedy for all who went through this!

Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent read. Wonder what happened to James A. Marks, captain of the USS Hull, after his ship sank in the typhoon. The "Caine Mutiny" was very loosely based on this CO's actions during the typhoon.
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Navy sailors that survived the typhoon in December 1944 had tales to tell of 90 knot winds, shipmates swept overboard, sunburn, starvation and shark attacks. The US fleet was on the way to support General MacArthur in his landing on the Philippines, but a huge storm changed the plans. The authors did a great job researching the details and telling the story. I liked the book and plan to stay on dry land.
Kenneth Flusche
Sep 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Well that was quick, Started slow sitting up the event recapping early part of WWII, Army/Navy rivalry during the war and Boom the Typhoon a must read for any Navy History Buff.
Jan 25, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, wwii
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
Oct 25, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Alain Dewitt
Aug 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
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
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An outstanding book describing one of the worst catastrophies in naval history. A must read for those interested in the war in the Pacific following the attack on Pearl Harbor
George Miller
Jul 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
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