"Top Secret" mystery missions, many without other ships in support, were becoming uncomfortably familiar for the crew of the USS Nashville CL43. It started like a Hollywood thriller, secretly transporting from England $25 million in British gold bullion, delivered to the ship in unguarded bread trucks, a pre-war "Neutrality Patrol" that was really an unofficial hostile search for the far bigger and more powerful German battleship Prinz Eugen, and sneaking through the Panama Canal at night with the ship’s name and hull number covered for secrecy.
Now, with the ship bulging with an unusual load of fuel and supplies, in the company of a large fleet quietly passing under San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, the crew was about to learn of their latest (but not last) and most improbable adventure yet as the captain made an announcement that would change the war and their lives forever: "We are going to Tokyo!" Over three years, scores of battles and hundreds of thousands of ocean miles later, the Nashville and her crew had earned 10 Battle Stars, served from the North Atlantic to the South Pacific, from the Aleutians to the Yangtze River, as McArthur’s flagship and suffered heavy casualties from a devastating kamikaze attack. Tokyo Rose reported her sunk, repeatedly.
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Incredibly boring, factual errors, passive voice
This book needs professional editing of content and facts. It seems to scream "self-published". There is no sense of continuity because it is trying to weave together lots of tidbits of events and quotes from crewmen long after the fact. The constant attribution of every few words to a particular crewman is very disruptive. There is just no "storytelling" at all. It's as if someone had a pile of reports on movements, shore liberty and shells fired in action and tried to string that and some crew quotes into a book.
The fact that there is NO story. There could have been. I don't doubt that this ship has a great and brave story of battles and individual heroism, but nothing comes to life in this book. Sadly it also contains numerous errors of fact and very little detail. The author apparently has no knowledge of ships, naval terms, or WWII history, and clearly made no attempt to acquire any or have someone that did review the manuscript. By contrast, Western author Max Brand managed to take many personal account interviews and facts and weave them into a good book, "Fighter Squadron at Guadalcanal." That's the difference between a professional writer/storyteller and the rest of us.
There are characters? None of them was onstage for more than a sentence or two, and they changed constantly so the listener never really gets a feel for any particular member of the crew.
The narrator actually did a pretty good job, considering what he had to work with. Only a few things mispronounced, but they were not in English, so he did pretty well.
Between this book, "Submarine Commander" and "200,000 miles" I have learned my lesson about personal accounts of WWII naval history/experience. I'll get the paper copy from the library before I invest the time and money in audio versions. There are some great ones out there, but I now realize I got very lucky and picked some of the best early on.
- R. Denton
My Dad was on the Nashville