- File Size: 1538 KB
- Print Length: 292 pages
- Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1943402825
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publisher: Down & Out Books (May 22, 2017)
- Publication Date: May 22, 2017
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B06XFQZPW2
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #732,603 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
Cold War Canoe Club: Stories Kindle Edition
|Length: 292 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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Top customer reviews
"Navy-noir" - did I just coin that term, or did Hess? Because I'd be hard-pressed to come up with very many quality books about the US Navy. There was Richard McKenna's THE SAND PEBBLES, and Herman Wouk's THE CAINE MUTINY. Oh yeah, and MISTER ROBERTS. On second thought there are probably plenty. But the 'noir' angle is perhaps what's most important here. Hess's hard-boiled, gritty portraits of Navy life from the bottom up are different, more like Ponicsan's classic novels THE LAST DETAIL and CINDERELLA LIBERTY, both long-time personal favorites.
There are sixteen stories here and they are all damn good, whether they are about sailors on active duty or veterans trying to make their way post-Navy. They often deal with the kind of friendships only found in the service, memories brought back by old frayed photos -
"... some in uniform, some of him alone; me and him together, flipping the bird on shore leave in Rota, our arms around dark haired girls on both sides of Turkey, as well as Italy, Spain, and Romania, all the while drinking beer. Endless days at sea and out-of-control nights in various ports of call." ("Military Clean")
Yes indeed: the drinking, the women, the far away places. And the time frames range from the 60s and the Cuban missile crisis ("The Greatest Danger of All Would Be to Do Nothin") featuring a frightened and pregnant Navy wife left behind in Florida, to the 70s and racial tension and violence aboard an aircraft carrier off the coast of Vietnam ("Attention on Deck"), to the late 80s and a crew of young sailors patrolling off the coast of Lebanon, both fearing and hoping for some real 'action.' In this last one, the title story, Hess employs a third-person plural POV, giving us a sense of the youth and inexperience of the young sailors aboard the USS San Jacinto, a new fighting ship armed with "Aegis radar systems, Tomahawk missiles, Harpoon missiles, five-inchers fore and aft, and a pair of anti-aircraft Gatling guns that looked like R2-D2. Aboard ship we were prepared for World War III." He continues this theme in describing who these sailors were -
"We were single and married and divorced with two kids who hated us because we were gone six months at a time ... We'd enlisted in the Navy two months after graduating high school, or after dropping out of college, or when our wives or girlfriends got pregnant ... Some of us read Tom Clancy's THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER obsessively ... because we wanted that kind of mission - something big, important, and death-defying."
Hess often works real-life ships and events into his stories, with references to the USS Stark, hit by Exocet missiles in the Mideast, the deadly gun turret explosions on the USS Iowa, and the the "Old Pro" - the aging WWII-era USS Proteus, based out of Guam.
Hess demonstrates his knowledge of those faraway places in stories like "Last Night in Hong Kong," the post-apocalyptic "Here Today, Guam Tomorrow," and "The Compound," about a guard duty detail at a government-run Turkish brothel.
But what dominates these stories - all of them - is the gritty realism, the casualness of the obscenity-laced dialogue, which I know from my own enlisted experiences to be dead-on accurate. These kind of exchanges - found also in the aforementioned Ponicsan books, as well as in James Crumley's cult ASA classic, ONE TO COUNT CADENCE, marks their authors as people who have "been there, done that," so to speak.
Did I say how much I enjoyed reading these stories? Well I did, a lot. I was Army, but these stories of enlisted Navy life still brought back a lot of memories. Jeffery Hess is one damn good writer. Very highly recommended, especially for veterans.
- Tim Bazzett, author of the Cold War memoir, SOLDIER BOY: AT PLAY IN THE ASA
I feel that when reading, you have to pay attention to each sentence and paragraph because there may be a hidden meaning or detail coming up in each of the 16 stories.
You will not be disappointed!
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