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Down to the Sea: An Epic Story of Naval Disaster and Heroism in World War II Paperback – November 4, 2008


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Down to the Sea: An Epic Story of Naval Disaster and Heroism in World War II + Halsey's Typhoon: The True Story of a Fighting Admiral, an Epic Storm, and an Untold Rescue + Sea Cobra: Admiral Halsey's Task Force And The Great Pacific Typhoon
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for AND THE SEA WILL TELL: “Engrossing...compelling. This book succeeds on all counts” (L.A. Times Book Review)

Praise for TRUE NORTH: “Nail-biting true adventure” (Kirkus Review)

Praise for TRUE NORTH: “A masterful job” (San Francisco Chronicle)

About the Author

Bruce Henderson is the author or coauthor of more than twenty nonfiction books, including the #1 New York Times bestseller And the Sea Will Tell and the national bestseller Hero Found: The Greatest POW Escape of the Vietnam War. An award-winning journalist and writer, he has published work in Esquire, Playboy, Reader's Digest, and other periodicals. Henderson has taught writing and reporting at USC School of Journalism and Stanford University. He lives in Menlo Park, California.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (November 4, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061173177
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061173172
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #347,558 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Bruce Henderson is the author or coauthor of more than twenty nonfiction books, including the #1 New York Times bestseller AND THE SEA WILL TELL, which was made into a highly-rated TV miniseries. His latest book, RESCUE AT LOS BANOS: THE MOST DARING PRISON CAMP RAID OF WORLD WAR II, was published by William Morrow in April 2015. General Colin Powell has called the Los Baños raid "a textbook operation for all ages and all armies." Henderson's previous book, HERO FOUND: THE GREATEST POW ESCAPE OF THE VIETNAM WAR, a national bestseller, told the true story of U.S. Navy pilot Dieter Dengler, with whom Henderson served aboard the aircraft carrier USS Ranger (CVA-61) during Vietnam. Henderson is also the author of DOWN TO THE SEA: AN EPIC STORY OF NAVAL DISASTER AND HEROISM IN WORLD WAR II. An award-winning journalist and author, Henderson is a member of the Authors Guild and the American Society of Journalists and Authors. He has taught reporting and writing courses at USC School of Journalism and Stanford University. Visit his website: www.BruceHendersonBooks.com.

Customer Reviews

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47 of 47 people found the following review helpful By Patrick H. Douhan on December 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Down to the Sea: An Epic Story of Naval Disaster and Heroism in World War IIMy name is Pat Douhan and I am one of the few survivors from the USS Hull DD350. After reading this book I can truthfully say that Bruce Henderson did an outstanding job of compilling
the true facts leading up to, during and after our loss in Typhoon Cobra. Being the reunion coordinator for the USS Hull reunions I am very close to most of my surviving shipmates as well as others that transferred prior to our sinking and this author has put together the true facts he obtained through research, interview, Naval records and ships deck logs, something than none of the previous authors accomplished. When reading this book you can see that our problems really begin when we had a change of command in October during our yard overhaul in Seattle. We destroyer sailors are close nit group and not too much was known about the loss of the three "tin cans" in the typhoon and we did not say much, but over the past few years this Naval tragedy has come to light and is getting some attention and as you can see by this authors writings you are not going to win when you are fighting mother nature. I will say again, after having been there,that this book "Down to the Sea" truthfully tells it like it was.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By John Kreidler on November 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover
In the past year, three histories have been published of the monumental 1944 typhoon that badly damaged Admiral Halsey's Third Fleet, resulting in the loss of three destroyers and the death of nearly 800 men, one of whom was my father. From my knowledge of this incident, I give Bruce Henderson, author of "Down to the Sea", the highest marks for the depth and accuracy of his research, fine writing style, and insightful conclusions about the causes of the disaster. Mr. Henderson is a gifted writer of history, but he is also a veteran U.S. Navy weatherman with the experience necessary to thoroughly plumb the saga of Typhoon Cobra.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By M. A. Ramos VINE VOICE on November 13, 2007
Format: Hardcover
In this book we gain an insight into the epic story of the history of the 1944 Typhoon, later known as Typhoon Cobra, that the Third Fleet Sailed into. The first half of the book introduces us to the destroyers and their crew that will suffer the tragedy that could have easily been avoided.

In `Down to the Sea' the author does a wonderful job of detailing the strengths and failings of each ship as we follow its career from construction to its ultimate end. Using a vast number of references Henderson is able to recreate life aboard these destroyers and share with a look at what it was like to be there. We learned just enough to know the skill level of the officers and crew by the time of the storm, and all that these brave ships had accomplished while under competent command. As far as the actual details of the battles they were in, there are many books written on that subject.

As you read this account of what transpired it becomes apparent that Admiral Halsey, a Naval Combat Hero, was not competent at commanding a large fleet. It was his bad judgment, tied in with his concern of appearing to not support MacArthur, that lead the fleet to sail directly into the typhoon. Though the navy made other mistakes, such as ignoring the very accurate weather reports from the Army, not recalculating the stability of the modified destroyers and the fear instilled in their crews to question their Captains so called "final decisions" lead to all these deaths and the loss of the three destroyers. It also had me questioning the motives of the board of inquiry, was it all just for show? According to this account there is no question that the surviving destroyer Captain should have been court-martialed and Admiral Halsey retired.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey T. Munson on February 7, 2008
Format: Hardcover
In December, 1944, the mighty U.S. Third Fleet, commanded by Admiral William F. Halsey, sailed into the path of one of the strongest typhoons ever to form in the Pacific. Halsey's fleet was on station to assist General Douglas MacArthur's troops in the Philippines. After launching many aircraft strikes and shelling shore installations, Halsey ordered his fleet away from the beaches to refuel in preparation for another strike at the enemy. However, Halsey sailed his ships directly into the path of an approaching typhoon, and the consequences proved to be disasterous in terms of loss of life and equipment.

Author Bruce Henderson focuses on the plight of three ships and their crews: the USS Spence, commanded by James Andrea; the USS Hull, commanded by James A. Marks; and the USS Monaghan, commanded by Bruce Garrett. These three destroyers bore the brunt of the storm and eventually all three were lost, along with almost 800 crewmen. The main problem these ships faced was that they were so low on fuel that they rode very high out of the water, making it easy for them to capsize in the face of the typhoon's winds. Due to the strength of the storm, they were unable to refuel. Thus, they succumbed to the force of the storm. Only 92 men were rescued from the three ships; many of these men survived for over 80 hours in seas infested with sharks.

However, this story is not without heroes. The destroyer escort USS Tabberer, commanded by Henry L. Plage, disobeyed orders to abandon the search and remained in the area to rescue men from the sunken destroyers. In all, the Tabberer and her crew pulled 55 men from the sea.

This is an excellent work of naval history. I especially enjoyed reading about the history and previous engagements the destroyers participated in.
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