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Blood On The Sea: American Destroyers Lost In World War II Paperback – November 13, 2001

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Seventy-one American destroyers were lost during WWII, 60 of them in confrontations with enemy ships, planes, shore batteries and mines, the other 11 to accidental groundings, friendly mines or severe storms. Parkin (Under the White Ensign) here compiles sketches of each destroyer's career from launch to destruction and a detailed description of the ship's final hours. He begins with an account of the sinking of the Reuben James in 1941 off Iceland, a U-boat victim and the first American warship lost in the war, and concludes with an account of the sinking of the Callaghan in a kamikaze attack in 1945, the 13th destroyer to go down in the waters off Okinawa. Included are descriptions of the capsizing of the Warrington in an Atlantic tempest, the loss of the Corry to German shore batteries on D-Day and the unequal fight between the Monssen and the Japanese battleship Hiei. One of the destroyers, the Stewart, was raised by the Japanese and commissioned into the Imperial Navy. Parkin's colorful style adds to the pleasure this meticulously researched book offers Navy buffs. Illustrations.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"Electrifying and exciting." -- -Associated Press

"Parkin's colorful style adds to the pleasure this book offers Navy buffs." -- -Publishers Weekly
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 408 pages
  • Publisher: Da Capo Press (November 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0306810697
  • ISBN-13: 978-0306810695
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,375,846 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Larry Johnson on December 1, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This is a very good reference book. It covers all of the important information that relates to the Destroyer during the war. I wished the book would have been huge, and covered more information about each destroyer, but alas, with so many lost during the war, it would have taken volumes. This book tells you the name, type, date of loss, location of loss, and details on all destroyers lost during WWII. There are mentions of some other ships lost at the same time, but the author chose not to get into other ship types. I really enjoyed this book, couldn't put it down. I highly recommend it for people who are interested in the WWII naval war.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By E. D. Biggers on August 12, 2000
Format: Hardcover
With my father recently passing away, I found myself wanting to know more about what he and the other gallant sailors faced while serving on a destroyer in WWII. While some may find the listing of each ship lost, as repetitious; I found it helpful and a fitting tribute for all the destroyers lost in WWII. In the introduction, the author indicates his desire to convey to later generations, the understanding of what our destroyermen faced - you sir, have succeeded! I found the listing of each ship essential and a fitting reminder for those who make the supreme sacrifice.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Liz Corey (rossstep@flash.net) on January 20, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This is the kind of book you can pick up and open to any chapter without losing the thread or missing out on anything. Each chapter is distinct and self-contained. The format for each is the same: capsule biography of the person for whom the ship was named; description of its building, launching, and subsequent patrols; and, brief recounting of the ship's final mission. The connection between the chapters is only accidental, e.g., when two ships were lost in the same engagement, the one which is not the subject of the particular chapter is mentioned in passing. Also, there is not much detailed discussion about the sailors and officers who manned these vessels. The chapters are about the ships, not about the crews, except in those instances where a crew member won a prestigious medal. In sum, this book reads more like a naval vessel catalogue than a book for the interested lay historian. I will keep it among my reference books.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By John V. Seward on April 1, 2001
Format: Hardcover
An excellent work, describing the loss of various classes of U.S. destroyers sunk in WWII. With help from crew members of the many ships, Mr. Parkin describes the horrors of fighting losing battles against man and nature. Having served aboard a Fletcher class DD in the Viet Nam conflict, I can appreciate the efforts by which the "tin can sailors" of WWII fought to keep their ships afloat under circumstances that can only be described as hellish. This book also contains short biographical data of the men for whom each ship was named, and at the end of each description of loss, data such as ship class, launching and loss dates, sponsor, builder, keel laying,commanding officers at time of commissioning and loss, and place where the ship was lost is featured, in addition to awards won by the ship. I enjoyed this book very much, and recommend it to all who are interested in destroyer operations in WWII.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By John P. Rooney on April 17, 2009
Format: Paperback
"Blood On The Sea" by Robert Sinclair Parkin. Subtitled: "American Destroyers Lost In World War II"
Sarpedon Publishing, Fifth Avenue, New York, New York. 1995.
The U.S. Navy lost 71 destroyers in World War II; their stories are told in this book. Some of the ships were sunk by enemy gun fire. Some of these "tin cans" were sunk by Kamikaze action. Others were lost to the all powerful sea. Each of the 71 vessels is given a short, (perhaps 3 pages on average) history.
The book's general format begins each of the 71 sections with a few paragraphs on the history of the name of the destroyer. Once, it was Navy policy to name battleships after states, aircraft carriers after battles, cruisers after cities and so on. Destroyers were named after people who were famous in naval history or who had performed some act of gallantry, or good performance in the naval service. For example, the USS Blue (DD-387) was named for Rear Admiral Victor Blue (1865-1928) who had "...excellent intelligence missions in Cuba during the Spanish-American War..." and later commanded the battleship "New York... during her service ... in World War I". (Page 78).
The next part of each section deals with the actions the destroyer was involved in and the cause of the sinking of that ship. In the back of the book, there is an appendix summarizing the various methods used to sink the American destroyers: naval gun fire, Kamikaze attack, explosion, storm and so on. The book lists the sinking of the destroyer in general chronological order. Interestingly, the first destroyer sunk by enemy action in World War II was the USS Reuben James (DD-245), lost on October 31, 1941, some five weeks before the dastardly Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By matt8386 VINE VOICE on September 5, 2011
Format: Paperback
In some ways, Blood on the Sea is a very tough read. The author gives a brief history of every US Destroyer that was lost during WW2, 71 in total. That's 71 short chapters of sinking's, air or sea battles, fires, battles, torpedoes and toss in a few groundings, hurricanes and collisions, that adds up to a lot of sorrow. But then again, there is a tremendous amount of courage, self sacrifice, heroism and bravery to offset that sorrow.

Author Robert Parkin served for 20 years in the navy knows of what he writes and was able to speak with many of the survivors who were able to bear witness to what happened. It's amazing how much punishment these sleek craft could take and the pride of each crew who knew that there ship simply was the best on the ocean, bar none. I also liked the intro to each ship - destroyers are named after naval heroes dating back to the Revolutionary war. A few select B&W photos to show the different classes of destroyers, the appendix has statistical data of destroyers and a short, concise bibliography of sources.

This is a very factual, fitting tribute to the memories who served, especially during the early phases of the war when the US was still learning the ropes. A tough emotional read, perhaps best done in small doses, but it's a good book.
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