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The Big E: The Story of the USS Enterprise (Classics of Naval Literature) Paperback – April 18, 2002


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The Big E: The Story of the USS Enterprise (Classics of Naval Literature) + Enterprise: America's Fightingest Ship and the Men Who Helped Win World War II + USS Enterprise (CV-6): The Most Decorated Ship of World War II - A Pictorial History
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Product Details

  • Series: Classics of Naval Literature
  • Paperback: 616 pages
  • Publisher: Naval Institute Press (April 18, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1557509980
  • ISBN-13: 978-1557509987
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #139,081 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Extremely well written with an engrossing narrative.
Davidk
I read this book when I was only 8 or 9 years old over a summer vacation.
Andre Joseph Daniels
If you don't love the naval history of WWII, just read this book!
B. Hager

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 53 people found the following review helpful By Joel@AWS on February 9, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First, I'll admit I'm not an unbiased reviewer. My dad served in Enterprise for three hard years ('42-45), and I've made my own efforts to tell her story.
That said, "The Big E" is without peer, as both a history of the World War II-era carrier Enterprise, and as a record of what carrier warfare in the '40's was like. Stafford's prose is both elegant and -- given the records he had available in 1960 -- accurate. His descriptions are vivid: you can feel the decks whip violently at Santa Cruz, you can see the vibrant green of the Philippines at Leyte Gulf, you can sense the tension in the ready rooms at Midway. Her men are not just names on a page, but tangible characters: bold, fast-thinking, humble, optimistic, but sometimes very worried about their prospects.
There are a couple points about the book which the prospective reader should be aware of. Stafford's focus is primarily on the ship's squadrons, and less so on efforts of her crew. Originally published over 40 years ago, some of the language is a bit dated, though, again, overall the writing is superb.
The fact, however, that a 40-year old book about a ship that was decommissioned in 1947 is deemed fit to reprint in 2002 should tell you two things. The book is not a throwaway, but a genuine work of literature. And Enterprise was not just a warship, but a unique bonding of man and machine, that came through for her country when she was needed most.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Grant Waara VINE VOICE on June 23, 2002
Format: Paperback
Thank heaven the Naval Institue Press has brought this classic back in print. Commander Stafford's book in an action packed account of the Navy's most decorated ship. The Enterprise's story is in many ways, the story of the Navy in the Pacific. She was there at Pearl Harbor (where her fliers eventually sunk a Japanese submarine) the early raids, Midway, Guadalcanal, Santa Cruz, the early drives in the central Pacific, the Phillipine Sea, Leyte Gulf, the early carrier raids on Japan and Okinawa. Commander Stafford's book is a perfect example of what good history is all about. It's gripping, easily read and best of all, always clear. You never have to reread passages to understand what he had written. To wrap this review up, if you're a World War II navy buff, you simply HAVE to read this book. You'll be glad you did.
One last thing. Commander Stafford also wrote Little Ship, Big War: the Saga of the U.S.S. Abercrombie DE343. This is a history/memoir of the destroyer he served on during the war. This too is recommended. He basically accomplished for the Navy what Stephen Ambrose did so admirably for the Army; he told the story of the average Citizen Sailor who rode the small ships to victory in the war.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful By MICHAEL HOUSE on December 12, 2002
Format: Paperback
I have had this book since it was first published and I can no longer keep the book together, so it is time to replace it. I'm was thriller to see it still in print.
My father was a plank owner of the BIG "E" and loved the ship with a special love that only someone who have faced death and servived can feel. It was a disgrace to have her scrapped and after readin Cdr Stafford's incredible story, I believe that everyone would agree she(and more importantly the men who seved on her) were and are national treasures
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By cjh31@wa.freei.net on September 2, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book tells the story of a ship that was in the second world war from it's beginning at Pearl Harbor until the final month of victory. It gives detailed accounts of the men who fought and died on her that are unparalleled in that or any other war, giving names of Americans whose heroic actions were commonplace in that war, expecting and asking for no thanks or praise, just doing their jobs.
The writing is at times more like poetry than prose, the description's vivid and clear, something that anyone who served on ships at that time can recognize from their own experince. Stafford's work ranks with the best of historical novelists like Bruce Catton or Shelby Foote, who painted such clear pictures of the American Civil War.
Every high school student would gain much for his understanding of life from knowing the deeds that those men and that ship performed. And they would see a clear example of what great writing and prose are meant to be.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 1, 2003
Format: Paperback
I had no idea this book had been reprinted. I've had my copy for many years (since the early 70's) and re-read it every couple years. I was poking around the internet, looking for the ship's statistics (tonnage, in particular) and found this review page.
Now I'll have to order a new copy, as the pages in mine have all turned yellow and I have to be careful when reading it, lest it come apart. Come to think of it, I'll order two and put one in a plastic bag for when this one falls apart.
Needless to say, I think this book deserves five stars. It's a good book about one of the finest ships and crews to ever put to sea.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 7, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I, too, am shocked that this book has gone out of print.
As a boy, I remember when Admiral Halsey led a guided tour of Enterprise on "Navy Log" (an early TV show) and then asked the school kids of America to send in their pennies to save her. Alas, it was too late, but this book will keep her memory alive for a generation that does not realize just how close the war in the Pacific was in the first two years.
M.R. McCarty LtCol, USMC (ret)
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