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Andrew Jackson Higgins and the Boats that Won World War II (Eisenhower Center Studies on War and Peace) Paperback – Illustrated, October 1, 1998
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Strahan’s well-written and lucid account of both the climb and the fall [of Higgins] makes illuminating reading―for businessmen as well as history buffs. ― Tampa Tribune
From the Back Cover
- ASIN : 0807123390
- Publisher : LSU Press; Revised ed. edition (October 1, 1998)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 400 pages
- ISBN-10 : 9780807123393
- ISBN-13 : 978-0807123393
- Item Weight : 1.2 pounds
- Dimensions : 5.9 x 0.8 x 8.9 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #812,273 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
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Andrew Higgins was a normal, average person, who had only an 11th grade education, but who had a natural talent for many things; especially for small boats, and the backwaters of Louisiana. His boats didn't draw much draft, and had to negotiate the swamps and bogs of logs and alligators, and accomplish their mission of hunting beavers, or logging, or whatever.
But he also had incredible determination, to stand up to authority, and make them aware that when it came to small boats, he actually knew more than they did - such as, for example, the entire US Navy!
And he was essentially one man, standing toe-to-toe against entrenched bureaucracy, and hundreds of people in charge of various departments of the Navy, who weren't about to let one person dictate to them.
Except he proved, by actual side-by-side comparisons, and with many powerful adversaries plotting against him, that the boats he designed were precisely what the Navy needed, only they just didn't know it yet.
He designed boats with a draft so shallow, they were able to literally run up onto the beach, and back off under their own power, without getting hung up.
It is a testament to how he was able, by his sheer determination and tenacity and intelligence, to emerge victorious, and invent and build boats by the thousands, to equip an Army (or Marines, or Navy) of men, to enable them to land on hostile islands, and fight their way inland, and defeat a swarm of armed, fanatical, Japanese, or Germans - whichever the case might be.
By doing what many people thought was virtually impossible, Higgins literally saved the world from Nazi-ism, and Japanese fanaticism, and preserved freedom, that we are able to consequently take for granted every day.
"Wars are won in the factory" Stalin once said - given that Higgins build over 12,000 (90% of all naval craft) boats for the navy in WW2, it's a good thing he was so persistent. Andrew Jackson Higgins had a fast learning curve, was an aggressive salesman with a phenomenal memory. He not only mass produced more craft than anyone else, he did so with an eye to those on the factory floor. He took care of 'his' people - indeed, the workers built their own community calling it Our Town.
Higgins was not afraid to bend rules - if he didn't exactly have the legal rights to expand his factories into the neighboring cemetery, well, he was sure he would soon get approval (he did). If he needed critically short supply high quality steel, his men could 'liberate' it and later repay for it (he did).
Ironically, the company he founded was lost, not to inability to change from war time to peace time production, but for labor disputes created by a multitude of unions fighting amongst themselves over who would represent the workers. Also revealing questions regarding whether or not returning war vets should have priority of jobs vs. those who did not serve.
I would have preferred to see some diagrams, cut-aways, blue prints of the craft under discussion, but this is a biography of Higgins, not a technical manual of what he designed. There is enough detail for the layman to understand and this book is fantastic enough without them. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to learn more about a powerful, self made man, WW2 logistics and the 'can-do' patriotic spirit that existed in WW2.
Top reviews from other countries
At one time his wooden LCVP "Higgins Boats" landing craft and PT torpedo boats were a quarter of the US Navy by number. This involved deforesting chunks of Florida.
He was also famous for employing blacks and even women at equal pay rates-the first in Florida. Of course, he was violently anti-union, so this may have been a device to keep wages down.
After the war, as these great characters seem to, he went bust.
This is the well-written story of what he did and who he was.
Alors pourquoi les éluder ou se contenter d'un survol à 10000ft?