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

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  1,620 ratings  ·  182 reviews
This account of a disaster at sea during World War II is “a powerful and engrossing story of tragedy, survival, and heroism” (Mark Bowden, author of Black Hawk Down).
In the final days of 1944, Admiral William “Bull” Halsey is the Pacific theater’s most popular and colorful naval hero. After a string of victories, the “Fighting Admiral” and his thirty-thousand-man Third
ebook, 352 pages
Published December 1st 2007 by Grove Press (first published 2007)
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Sep 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Nearly 800 men had died and over 80 were injured; 3 destroyers had capsized and another dozen ships had been rendered inoperable; 146 aircraft were lost or damaged beyond repair; and America’s Big Blue Fleet was literally decimated. It seemed no wonder that some naval observers viewed the court’s conclusions as distinctly lenient."

Halsey’s Typhoon is one of the best, most engaging, naval warfare books I have ever read. This book is two different stories and they are both tragic and instructive.
Mar 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Joy D
Dramatic true story of a maritime military operation interrupted by an enormous typhoon. Admiral Halsey’s fleet was preparing to support MacArthur’s invasion of Luzon in the Philippines in 1944, when they steered directly into the course of Typhoon Cobra with its 90-foot waves and over 100 knot gusting winds. This book tells an inspiring story of sailors confronting life-or-death situations. Though much of the story is tragic, the highlight is a valiant rescue effort by a relatively inexperience ...more
Mar 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A book where the title is somewhat misleading, though big parts of this book is centered around Admiral Bull Halsey and his decisions/mistakes led to this tragedy, what makes this book great is the personal stories from both the survivors of the three sunken ships and the brave little USS Taberer and it's crew. The book is well researched and the author puts it all on these pages in a very interesting way and there is a lot to be learned from this book. Highly recommended!! ...more
Dec 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
By late 1944 the war in the Pacific had irrevocably turned in favor of the United States after the Battle of Leyte Gulf in October, however, there was still a great deal of fighting to be done in the Philippines under General MacArthur. As part of this fighting, the Third Fleet under Admiral Halsey undertook to protect MacArthur's men. The pugnacious admiral was still smarting from the criticisn, some real and some implied, for being tricked at Leyte Gulf so he was not about to 'abandon' MacArth ...more
Nov 21, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 11, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: wwii
”No one who [has not] been through a typhoon can conceive its fury. The 70-foot seas smashing you from all sides. The rain and the scud are blinding; they drive at you flat out, until you can’t tell the ocean from the air. At broad noon I couldn’t see the bow of my ship, 350 feet from the bridge... [The] typhoon tossed our enormous ship as if she were a canoe. Our chairs, tables, and all loose gear had to be double-lashed; we ourselves were buffeted from one bulkhead to another; we could not hea ...more
Jun 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book. It was exciting and full of detail I really enjoyed. Over 800 sailors died. 3 destroyers sunk and 126 planes lost. The storm was more deadly than midway and coral sea combined. Must read
June 26, 2018
A review by Anthony T. Riggio of the book “Halsey's Typhoon” by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin:

I remember my father telling me about a Pacific Ocean typhoon he experience while he was in the Navy in the Pacific in 1944. He described it in words of great hyperbole and it excited my very young imagination to almost feel the brutality of the ocean during this storm refereed to in captioned book.

I spotted this book on Amazon and immediately ordered the hard bound edition and I am happy I did
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Admiral William “Bull” Halsey was a great leader during the Pacific War against Japan, but one of the worst episodes of his tenure occurred during December 1944 when he led his carrier group through a typhoon.

Halsey was tried in a military court – the framework of this story with the details of the actions surrounding the battle against the Japanese and the storm and the subsequent rescue efforts providing the story within. This book is a great piece of history in telling of the tragedy, bravery
This is a well researched, finely written, account of a maritime disaster in WWII.

In December 1944 Admiral Bill Halsey commanded the South Pacific 3rd Fleet, assigned to cover and support General Douglas MacArthur's major landings in the Philippines. The book recounts Typhoon Cobra ripping through the fleet of ships and exposes the many errors and and arrogant men who lead the fleet. It also shines light on the heroes who tried in vain to save the lives of the sailors caught in this storm. From
Mar 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
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
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
Oct 09, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Fredrick Danysh
Jul 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, world-war-ii
A true World War II tale of unexpected disaster and a daring rescue mission in the face of a fierce storm. A good historical read about the naval war in the Pacific.
Jan 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: us-history, 2019, history
Very interesting account of Typhoon Cobra which swamped Bull Halsey’s 3rd fleet and caused more damage than most Japanese attacks. Great stories of survival and heroism especially by Henry Lee Plage and the USS Tabberer. Also follow the court martials and inquiries into Halsey and his staff’s actions.
Nicky Wills
Apr 11, 2019 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: hoowow
While I'm sure this is a very interesting, well-written account of what happened during this massive storm, I just can't get into it and have too many other books to read. Sorry Dad! ...more
Jul 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great book about a lesser known series of events during World War II. Tells the story of the incredible typhoon that a portion of Admiral Halsey's fleet ventured into. Incredible stories of bravery and survival as well as cowardice.
According to the authors, knowledge of weather at the time of World War II had not advanced much since the 19th century.
Gisela Hausmann
Feb 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Nov 13, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: meridian, non-fiction
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
Dec 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 16, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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. ...more
Steven Ott
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
Halsey's Typhoon is an engaging, well-written account of the typhoon that hit Admiral Halsey's fleet in the Pacific. Man and man-made machines against the worst that nature can summon. The description of the heroic rescues of sailors from capsized destroyers is terrifying yet enthralling. It is hard to imagine negotiating 150 MPH winds and 70-foot seas to get close enough to rescue a drowning sailor. This book is well worth anyone's time to read. ...more
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 ...more
Rodney Harvill
Jul 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
In December, 1944, Admiral Halsey, determined to provide air support for General MacArthur’s operations in the Philippines, blundered his Third Fleet into the teeth of category 4 Typhoon Cobra in the Philippine Sea, resulting in the loss of three destroyers, significant damage to multiple ships, loss of or damage beyond repair to 146 aircraft and approximately 800 fatalities. The authors are truly eloquent and have drawn outstanding word pictures of harsh conditions, struggles to survive and act ...more
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