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Book Review, NRJ 60.4

November 15, 2015 12:00 PM | David Eddy (Administrator)

World War II U.S. Navy Vessels in Private Hands

Greg H. Williams

This is not a book that you will read by the fireside one dark and stormy night, seeking excitement and nautical entertainment. Rather, what you will find within the paper covers is an exhaustive list of United States Navy ships and boats in private (nongovernment) hands. As such, this is an encyclopedic reference that you’ll keep on the shelf for reference whenever you need information on a particular vessel. The author served four years in the U.S. Navy, several of them at sea, and was one of twenty-seven volunteers who sailed the Liberty ship SS Jeremiah O’Brien from San Francisco to Europe for the fiftieth anniversary of the D-Day Normandy Invasion. He thus brings the requisite interest and background to this important work. The list of vessels run from minesweepers, coastal transports, ocean-going tugs, the many and varied types of landing craft and ships, vessels with names, vessels with only numbers, PT boats, submarine chasers, and many others. Each vessel has a “biography” that includes the builder, date of build, date of commission, the various registered owners, the current location if known, and the Official Number specific to each vessel.

The book is printed on average quality stock, has a soft cover, and contains only two photographs, both black & white: one on the cover and one on the frontispiece. The price seems high, but it appears you are paying for the author’s extensive research rather than the quality of the book. If this is the type of reference you’ve been waiting for, then it comes recommended.

  •  Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Co., 2013
  • 7” x 10”, softcover, 358 pages
  • Illustrations, glossary, index. $55.00
  • ISBN: 9780786466450

Reviewed by Robert N. Steinbrunn, Stillwater, Minnesota


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