FREE delivery: Saturday, Dec 3 on orders over $25.00 shipped by Amazon.
Ships from: Amazon.com Sold by: Amazon.com
Other Sellers on Amazon
Follow the Author
Andrew Jackson Higgins and the Boats that Won World War II (Eisenhower Center Studies on War and Peace) Paperback – Illustrated, October 1, 1998
Enhance your purchase
Andrew Jackson Higgins is perhaps the most forgotten hero of the Allied victory. He designed the LCVP (landing craft vehicle, personnel) that played such a vital role in the invasion of Normandy as well as the first effective tank landing craft. During the war, New Orleans–based Higgins Industries produced over twenty thousand boats, including lightning-fast PT boats and the twenty-seven-foot airborne lifeboat. Higgins dedicated himself to providing Allied soldiers with the finest landing craft in the world, and he fought the Bureau of Ships, the Washington bureaucracy, and the powerful eastern shipyards to succeed.
Jerry Strahan’s biography of Higgins reveals a colorful, controversial character―hard fisted, hard swearing, and hard drinking―who was an outsider to New Orleans’ elite social circles. He was also, however, a hardworking boatbuilder who became a major industrialist with a worldwide reputation―even Hitler was aware of Higgins, calling him “the new Noah.”
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: #188,414 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
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.
From the bayous and backwater swamps of Louisiana, boat builder and designer Andrew Higgins produced a boat far superior to other designs, the now famous Higgins Boat. Incredibly, the Navy's Bureau of Construction and Repair (BCR), as early as 1934, preferred to ignore this boat. Even more incredible, in sixty-one hours he designed and built a tank lighter which far exceeded the design produced by the Bureau of Ships. Both craft were largely ignored in spite of their superior performance in multiple government tests. But the men who would use these craft first, the service men who formulated the "Tentative Landing Operations Manual" in 1934 became Higgins strongest allies and chief among them was H. M. Smith. The Marines saw the worth of the boats he designed and fought for them. They fought for the best landing craft which would carry their Marines ashore under enemy fire. But the battle against the Bureau of Ships would not be won until after widespread pettiness and favoritism was exposed by Higgins before the Truman Committee to Investigate the National Defense Program in 1942. One man, Andrew Higgins, took on the Washington and military bureaucrats, the leaders of the eastern shipping industry and won. In short order, he took on a vicious labor racket, profiteering from the war by so-called "labor suppliers". He beat them too.
Remarkably, in September of 1943 the American navy totaled 14,072 vessels. Of these, 12,964 or 92% were designed by Higgins industry. Higgins designed and built high-speed PT boats, antisubmarine boats, dispatch boats, freight supply boats and specialized patrol craft. He produced several types of landing craft, including the famous Higgins boat (LCVPs) and the tank lighter (LCMs).
Of Higgins, General Eisenhower stated in 1964, "He is the man who won the war for us."
Strahan has penned a fine tribute to a truly remarkable man. Strahan's strength, like his mentor, Steve Ambrose, is his prodigious research skills. One wonders what he would have produced had he stayed in history in stead of venturing off to run Lucky Dogs in New Orleans.
"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?