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Bathtub Admirals Hardcover – April 1, 2008

4.8 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Retired navy commander Huber's debut novel is a profane and hilarious parody of the post–Cold War navy. Huber's hero is Jack Hogan, a straight arrow trying to keep his sanity in a bureaucratic culture where connections and politics trump competence. Hogan's career appears bright during the waning days of the Cold War, but when the iron curtain crumbles, the sandbox generals and bathtub admirals are reduced to playing war, and Hogan's stock sinks while that of careerists like his friend Buzz Rucci rises. Huber is funniest when satirizing the bureaucratic infighting and petty rules ingrained in naval culture, but he also scores direct hits on feminism, politicians and the military's policy toward homosexuals. Populated by outrageous characters and fueled with pompous outrage, Huber's irreverent broadside will pummel the funny bone of anyone who's served. (Apr.)
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From Booklist

Jack Hogan and Buzz Rucci are a couple of buddies in the modern U.S. Navy. They signed up to risk their lives defending their country, but instead they’re risking their sanity playing at war in a series of military maneuvers and preparedness exercises. They are “bathtub admirals,” performing meaningless exercises in the name of global peace . . . or something like that. In the spirit of Phillip Jennings’ recent Nam-A-Rama (2005), or Joseph Heller’s classic Catch-22 (to which Huber makes a brief reference, acknowledging his novel’s pedigree), this is a witty, wacky, wildly outrageous novel that skewers just about anything you’d care to name, from military budgets to political machinations to America’s success as the self-appointed guardian of the world. Considering that Huber, a career navy man, has mostly written for military publications and Web sites (although he has turned out some short satirical pieces), and especially considering that this is his first novel, it is a remarkably accomplished book, striking just the right balance between ridicule and insight. --David Pitt

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Kunati Inc.; First edition (April 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1601640196
  • ISBN-13: 978-1601640192
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.5 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,870,234 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Being retired Navy, I'm always a bit suspect when given military novels. I've been disappointed on more than one occasion. However, my wife took a leap of faith and bought me "Bathtub Admirals" recently. I must say that this is the first book in a very long time that I actually could not bring myself to put down once I started it. Anyone who was in the military in the 1980's and 1990's will immediately recognize the "Through the Looking Glass" twisted logic world we lived in during those years. Hilarious, insightful, riveting. I hope there is another novel in the works by CDR Huber. Thank you for an incredible reading adventure!

Bill "BC" Combs
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I wasn't really sure what to expect when I first started in on this book. As a former carrier aviator during the period in which the book is set, I often find myself disappointed by many of the authors in the military genre who seem to keep cranking out "naval thrillers" that all to often seem to involve poorly developed characters trying to stave off World War III. I found Bathtub Admirals to be refreshingly unique in that it was the most accurate depiction of shipboard life on a carrier that I have ever read in a work of fiction. That said, one should not mistake this for anything close to a dry or antiseptic read. This book is first and foremost a comedic satire. While the accounts of shipboard routine were spot on, the witty and profane dialogue realistically captures the camaraderie shared between shipmates on a long cruise. This left me thinking wistfully back to old friends and good times spent at sea, while at the same time reminding me exactly why I decided to get out!

The clear, dialogue-driven writing style makes Bathtub Admirals a real page-turner. If I were back at sea, I probably would have powered through this book in a few days on the transit back home from an overseas deployment. As it is, I ended up devouring this book over the course of a few late nights over a long weekend, and found myself disappointed to arrive at the end.

Cdr Huber has hit a home run with his debut novel and I am already anticipating his next effort.
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Format: Hardcover
Anyone who has read Heller's Catch-22 (or Stephenson's Cryptonomicon) will recognize the style, and the author clearly acknowledges Heller's ancestry. Still, this book is shorter, less shark-jumpingly outrageous, both funnier and sadder than Heller's novel. Follow the US Navy career of Jack Hogan as he makes it from youthful Cold-War "Hawkeye Man" Lieutenant (junior grade) to disillusioned Commander, forced to take the fall for the latest retarded exercise blunder -- in a Navy that has no other enemy left except politicking, incompetence, inter-service rivalry and the looming swamp of the War on Evil. Contains deliciously explicit language, adult scenes and references to people like "Admiral Fix Felon" (pulling Fix Felonies of course), "Senator Ex-Prisoner-of-War", "Senator Tailhook", and "General F. Lee Kent" (SACEUR during Allied Force) and tall Sea Stories.

Disclosure: Haven't been near a Carrier, ever.
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Format: Hardcover
One of the things that my friends find paradoxical about me is that I love military history, military fiction, and good war stories, in spite of the fact that I'm a liberal, dKos reading (and worse, participating) DFH. I'm usually good about putting aside the personal politics of authors of military fiction, particularly the more knuckle-dragging types like Tom Clancy.

I'm part of the Diary Rescue team, which is a great way to get exposed to a wider range of Kossack diaries. I pick time slots to read that I wouldn't normally, in the hopes of finding interesting gems. One that I found is Jeff Huber, a retired US Navy Commander, blogger, and I was pleased to discover, author of military fiction.

Wait a minute, a Kossack, a dang liburl who writes military fiction? I immediately shot over to amazon.com and bought his book, Bathtub Admirals. The book jacket says it's satire, but that's like saying that "Catch-22" is just a comedy novel.

Bathtub Admirals traces the career of Jack Hogan, from young LTJG through his retirement as a CDR. Hogan began his career as a "NFO" or Naval Flight Officer, flying in the backseat of E-2C "Hawkeye" planes, the Navy's "mini-AWACS." Knowing that there wasn't much of a future for a back-seat guy in Naval Aviation, Hogan becomes a qualified SWO, or Surface Warfare Officer. That extra studying and the extra ship duty costs him his first marriage, as the pressure to further his career during the Cold War took its toll on home life. The novel follows the now-bachelor Hogan through shore and carrier duty tours both as a SWO and as a part of flight squadrons, through an even more disastrous second marriage, culminating in his retirement as a Commander.
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Format: Hardcover
huber's blog at pen and sword is an entertaining, cynical, and credible analysis of current day foreign policy and how it relates to the military, especially to naval matters. so it is only fitting that he would put together a novel that captures that essence.

bathtub admirals feels like a first novel in some ways.. it is a little uneven in tone.. sometimes it is a bit surreal, and sometimes it can't decide if it wants to be a satire, tom clancy novel, or a moving portrait of someone caught in the system, but the author set out to intertwine those things in a fascinating manner! and he really pulls it off when all is said and done..

in a lot of ways it pretty much seems like a thinly-disguised autobiography which only adds to the mystique. the characters (and their ability to drop some crazy profane language) are rich and hilarious, and the technical details about military matters are also interesting and add an authenticity to the whole affair that really makes it shine. it is very sad and really insightful about human relationships at times too, which is surprising and welcome for an ostensibly 'military' book..

overall i highly recommend it, i love finding a book that i can't put down and end up plowing through in a day!
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