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Into the Dark Water: The Story of Three Officers and PT-109 Hardcover – May 1, 2014


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Casemate; First Edition edition (May 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 161200234X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1612002347
  • Product Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #603,154 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John J. Domagalski (www.pacificwarauthor.com) is the author of Into the Dark Water: The Story of Three Officers and PT-109 (Casemate, 2014). The book uses the stories of three young naval officers to tell the World War II saga of the warship made famous by John F. Kennedy.

He is also the author of two other books. Sunk in Kula Gulf: The Final Voyage of the U.S.S. Helena and the Incredible Story of her Survivors in World War II (Potomac, 2012), tells the amazing little-known story of heroism and survival at sea that followed Helena's sinking in 1943. Lost at Guadalcanal: The Final Battles of the Astoria and Chicago as Described by Survivors and in Official Reports (McFarland, 2010), follows two World War II American warships through one of the U.S. Navy's greatest naval defeats. His articles have appeared in World War II History, Naval History, and World War II Quarterly Magazines.

Domagalski's fascination with history began at a young age by building model ships and reading books about World War II. The interest eventually grew into research and writing. He has interviewed scores of veterans who served in the Pacific during World War II. He is a graduate of Northern Illinois University and lives near Chicago.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By R. Wise on June 4, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The title of the book is a misnomer. One would think that it was a personalized story of the three officers that served and commanded the PT109. That's why I bought it in the first place. But alas, not to be. The book is not very long - 264 pages. There are 34 photographs in the centre of the book. Five of them are of one of the subjects of the title; the PT109 and none of these photos are rare. And there are another five photos of the other subjects the book, the three commanding officers of the boat. The other 24 are generic wartime photos of the PT boats. Right there that will give you an idea to the extent of detail that author devotes to the boat and the officers. Most of the content focuses on the PT boat battles. At Guadalcanal some involve the 109 crew, most do not. And when writing about the battles, the author spends too much time describing the overall strategy involved. He writes about the Japanese sailors' experiences. He writes about air battles. He really doesn't devote a lot of space to the main characters of the book. I was disappointed. I truly do admire the men and women who served during WWII. Their sacrifices were great and many. But after reading this book, it was plainly obvious that the wartime naval careers of the three men who commanded the PT109 is not extensive enough to fill a book. So the author included a lot of "fluff" to fill the pages. I personally found his writing style to be flat and unimaginative. The book couldn't hold my interest and I found myself skimming ahead very quickly. There are many, many other PT boat related tomes that have told this story first and so much better. I hate it when a book's title misleads the reader and this is most certainly the case here. After I finished reading it, I gave it to the Secondhand Store. It doesn't belong in my library.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very interesting reading. The author's in-depth research and excellent writing skills describes the serious concerns of the early war years in the Pacific and the critical role the small warships played. It is a thorough study of the PT boats and the character of the men who served on them, their frustrations with faulty torpedoes and the stress involved with dark night time battles. The importance of the "lookouts" and the help received from the island natives in rescue operations. Highly recommended.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Into the Dark Water: The Story of Three Officers and Pt-109 by John Domagalski chronicles the life of the most famous boat in World War Two. Most Americans are aware of the late history of the war ship; but Captain John Kennedy wasn’t the only officer to serve with honor and distinction aboard the navy vessel. Officers Bryant Larson and Rollin Westholm were in charge of PT-109 in the early days of the war when the Japanese dominated the Pacific. Their efforts to disrupt enemy supply lines and carry out rescue missions during the battle for Guadalcanal were heroic in turning the tide in favor of the Allies. This is the story of bravery, survival, and perseverance.

Into the Dark Water is a well-written, concise account of the two-year history of PT-109 from beginning to end. It was a quick, effective read. I enjoyed the book as it placed the famous boat into the larger context of World War II. The maps were helpful in understanding important details of various battles. I love stories of American heroes. I recommend Into the Dark Water to anyone interested in the history of World War II.

I was given a free copy from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
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By rick on November 22, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Skimming the first pages of the book, I found numerous egregious proofreading goofs... then I read that "Captain Katsumori Yamashiro's destroyer" AMAGIRI rammed the 109 and that Lt. Commander Kohei Hanami was his "subordinate" -- WRONG! Hanami was AMAGIRI's commanding officer and Yamashiro was leading the "Tokyo Express" that night; AMAGIRI was simply his flagship. Robert J. Donovan clearly documented this in his 1961 book "PT-109."

I regret that a good idea for a book was so butchered in its execution. Poor fact-checking and typos throughout ("know" for known, "values" for valves, "Stanton Island" for Staten Island...) ruined all hope for an enjoyable read. My suggestion would be that the publisher swiftly get new proofreaders to work and reprint this book before all credibility is lost. With the availability of numerous books and references, including PDFs of actual patrol reports from online sources, there simply is no excuse for such a sad result.
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