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Troubled Water: Race, Mutiny, and Bravery on the USS Kitty Hawk First American Edition Edition

4.3 out of 5 stars 75 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0230613614
ISBN-10: 0230613616
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Editorial Reviews


“Even though the U.S. government continues to deny it, Gregory Freeman has dug out the true hidden story of the first mutiny in the history of the U.S. Navy. You'll enjoy this high seas thriller.” ―James Bradley, author of Flags of Our Fathers, Flyboys, and The Imperial Cruise

“This is a real nail-biter, a genuine page-turner. Just when you thought you had heard everything about carrier operations during the Vietnam War, here is the story of the mutiny that the US Navy didn't want you to know about. Page, by agonizing page, you are below deck as everything unravels and everything you thought you knew proves to be wrong. It's always exciting to read a book that provides new or overlooked information about events you thought were set in stone within the historical record, but in Troubled Water, Gregory Freeman not only tells you about it, he takes you there -- aboard the USS Kitty Hawk, as mutineers gradually alter the course of an American warship from measured precision to chaos and anarchy.” ―Bill Yenne, Author of Aces High, the Heroic Saga of the Two Top-Scoring American Aces of WWII. and Rising Sons: The Japanese-American GIs Who Fought for the US in WWII

“Gregory Freeman is a master of riveting and thoughtful examinations of military sagas that no one else has the courage to take on. Troubled Water is his finest book in a distinguished career.” ―Gregg Olsen, author of Heart of Ice and A Wicked Snow

About the Author

Gregory A. Freeman is an award-winning writer with more than 25 years experience in journalism and historical nonfiction. He has won over two dozen awards for his writing, including the coveted Sigma Delta Chi Award for Excellence from the Society of Professional Journalists. His books include The Forgotten 500: The Untold Story of The Men Who Risked All for the Greatest Rescue Mission of World War II, Lay This Body Down: The 1921 Murders of Eleven Plantation Slaves, and the acclaimed Sailors to the End: The Deadly Fire on the USS Forrestal and the Heroes Who Fought it. He lives in Roswell, Georgia.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First American Edition edition (September 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230613616
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230613614
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (75 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #745,468 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was there on the Kitty Hawk during this incident. I would have to say, reading this book gave me a bit of closure on some of the events of that horrific night. The author did an excellent job giving the this reader accurate details. It is an easy read and I would suggest those that want to know what really happened, this book will give the reader the view from those that were there...not the "government'" side of the story.
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Format: Hardcover
This is generally a flawed book. From early on there are far too many inaccuracies to make the book a true report of the events occurring during this incident. I will preface by saying that I was not on this cruise, but was on the Kitty Hawk just prior to the events that take place. First off, Freeman says that the cruise was off to a bad start by leaving a week early for deployment. That is not the case. The Kitty Hawk was not scheduled to leave for West Pac and Vietnam until some many months later than it went. This was an emergency given the increased NVC activity. I never heard of any news bulletins ordering everyone back to report back to the ship. I did received a phone call at home on leave on Monday. The ship left Thursday. I will assume that there may have been some who were notified by TV rather than by direct order. (I was given the option of staying with my squadron as it depolyed or transferring to the wing in San Diego for the remainder of my activation. I took the later course.) Could the fact that the ship left early have caused general unrest among the entire crew? That is not examined.
The author gives the repeated impression that the ship never makes port or liberty call, saying that the length of the cruise was record breaking. That the entire cruise, from San Diego back may have been record breaking is not the same as being 'on the line.' 45 to 60 days between port call was not unusual for carriers during the Vietnam war, but there was always some port call, and liberty. During this cruise the Kitty Hawk went to Hong Kong for a port call, among other places. As such, again, this is not made clear at all. Still, West Pac deployments were generally 9 months long.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
While Troubled Water graphically described a relatively small but violent race riot that broke out aboard the USS Kitty Hawk in 1972, really the aircraft carrier is but a backdrop for a much larger story. If one was to read the book and conclude that the author, Gregory Freeman, presented a microcosm of race relations as they then existed in the armed forces, one would have missed the point of the story. Really, and Freeman made the point, Troubled Water described the consequences of the Defense Department's Project 100,000, a program "set out to recruit primarily inner-city youths who were previously considered ineligible for military service because of low test scores," past drug use, and criminal convictions.

Implemented by President Johnson in 1966 as part of the War on Poverty, Project 100,000 set a of goal of recruiting 40,000 previously unqualified applicants for entry into the armed forces. Thereafter, 100,000 recruits per annum would be accepted with the goal being to use the military as a catalyst to elevate people, primarily minorities, out of poverty. The Project ended in 1971 after 354,000 men had entered the armed forces under the less rigorous standards. According to Freeman, the Navy found "that many Project 100,000 recruits . . . were not useful assets" and that there was "no evidence to support the hypothesis that military service offer[ed] a `leg up'" to disadvantaged youth who lacked the necessary intellectual capacities to perform within military environments. The Project, said Freeman, "was one reason why the Kitty Hawk was staffed with plenty of disgruntled black sailors who had little to lose by disobeying orders or performing poorly.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Gregory A. Freeman's Troubled Water: Race, Mutiny and Bravery on the USS Kitty Hawk is one of the most riveting books I've read, perhaps ever. That a modern aircraft carrier on station off the coast of Vietnam in 1972 can have a riot occur between black and white sailors is nearly unfathomable. As a former Marine, used to following orders and respecting my officers and NCO's, the thought that a group of sailors could not only beat their shipmates but jeopardize operations in a combat zone is simply beyond understanding.

Freeman does a wonderful job with a technically difficult subject. Writing this account not only requires some understanding of the time in which they happened, but also the purpose of the Kitty Hawk as a tool of war and American policy. Interviews with participants (shall we call them survivors?) is also required, not to mention reading through the official investigation results. The author is on top of his game.

The Navy apparently doesn't want to use the term mutiny for obvious reasons. Mutiny is a legal term that conjures out of control crews taking a ship and killing the captain and his loyal subordinates. Of course, that didn't happen in this case, so technically I suppose the Navy's boast of a mutiny never occurring on an American naval vessel is in tact. However, this incident, and a later incident on the USS Constellation certainly comes awfully close. Participants were tried and many convicted

Freeman also looks into some of the complaints that the black crewman had that they used to justify their actions. The captain of the Kitty Hawk, Capt. Marland W. `Doc' Townsend, and the XO, Benjamin W.
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